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Beverly Robertson Businesswoman, philanthropist

(1951- )

Beverly Robertson.
PHOTO: MAX GERSH, THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL, ILLUSTRATION: USA TODAY NETWORK

No matter where Memphis native Beverly Robertson’s career took her, she always managed to rise to the top of her peers.

Starting as a part-time reservations agent at Holiday Inn Worldwide, Robertson moved up the corporate ladder and ended her 19-year career with the global hotel company as its director of communications.

She left the corporate world behind for nonprofits and became president of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

There, she led a philanthropic effort to raise $43 million that funded a massive renovation and turned the museum, built alongside the hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, into an internationally known destination.

Between career ventures, she was also an entrepreneur who started a marketing firm with her husband, Howard Robertson.

It was that varied career that led her to being named the first Black chief executive of the Greater Memphis Chamber in 2018. In that position, Robertson led the chamber’s first-ever effort to focus on community education in hopes of including Memphis’ poor and middle-class residents in the future financial growth of the city often reserved for the wealthiest business leaders.

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