At the recent “Women Who Mean Business Awards” conference held in Atlanta, Home Depot CFO Carol Tome was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. This was a significant achievement, even at an event that celebrated trailblazing women who “make an indelible mark” on the Atlanta business community.
Support from Other Women
Hundreds of women turned up for the event, including some of the leading female business figures in the southeast United States. All of these women made dynamic contributions to their communities and to help other women in the workplace. Tome is a standout even among so many luminaries. She started with the home improvement retailer back in 1995, rising to the rank of CFO back in 2001. She was named executive VP of corporate services in 2007.
During Tome’s two decades with the company, Home Depot has grown from 400 stores to more than 2,200. Revenues have jumped from $14 billion in sales to $100 billion. During her acceptance speech, Tome was characteristically self-effacing, looking at the impact her opportunities have made for other people. She praised the company, saying it opened a great number of doors for her, including joining UPS’s board of directors in 2003. While many praised Tome for her achievements, she said that’s not how she views herself. “I am a woman who is blessed.
Carol Tome Is Thankful
I work with amazing associates… When I think about my 22 years with (Home Depot), I was the second woman officer, all by myself with one other colleague… And now today I look at Table 8 and I see a woman vice president in charge of our customers, a woman vice president in charge of our inventory, a senior vice president in charge of our northern division — our largest division, my assistant who I can’t do anything without, and a woman vice president of finance for US stores… I have seen so much change happen.
Now I long for the day when women are no longer a special interest group… There is no better time for women, and there is no better time for a thank you for recognizing us tonight…” The idea that, one day, women will truly be equal, rather than viewed as a special interest group could be seen as one of the key themes of Tome’s brand and her career. She has not done well “as a woman” or “for a woman” … She has set an example that anyone would be proud to follow.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.