“CEW+ believes in your dreams, and is willing to invest in your future.”
In 1998, U-M MBA student and CEW+ Scholar LaTres Jarrett dreamed of one day managing a global business unit using innovative marketing solutions. Today, Jarrett is the Executive Director of Commercial Sales and a member of the Board of Directors of Bridgestone Canada. “In this role, I’m enacting change and penetrating new markets with a team of Marketing, Innovation and Sales managers,” Jarrett says. “Looking back, I’m delivering on that dream — it’s amazing.”
Jarrett arrived in Ann Arbor with a few years’ experience working as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company. Like many CEW+ Scholars, she came to U-M to make a career change: although she enjoyed engineering, Jarrett craved career options that were more people-centric. She says, “When I worked at Eli Lilly, I found myself drawing closer to the stories of the users of our products.” Her MBA opened those options for her, she says, and put her career on a timeline-driven progression of responsibility.
Jarrett appreciated the practical learning that U-M’s MBA program offered. She fondly remembers an international project where she and a group of students consulted a medical device company with the task of launching a new, non-invasive breast cancer screening technology. “It was meaningful from both a head and a heart standpoint,” Jarrett says, adding, “The connection to consumers really led me to my career in marketing.” Being named a CEW+ Scholar in 1998 provided her with the financial support she needed to concentrate on her studies and fueled her confidence to pursue her career goals.
Jarrett’s passion for problem-solving and serving consumers led her to market brands at PepsiCo and CSM Bakery Solutions. Now in her current position as an Executive Director, Jarrett manages Bridgestone’s commercial sales division in Canada. She considers herself a “servant leader” who focuses on developing talent and delighting customers. “I attain business results by empowering and motivating people, and by building a team that combines various strengths in a way that creates a competitive advantage,” she says. As a Black woman in a male-populated industry, Jarrett also emphasizes the importance of creating authentic bonds in the workplace: “I’ve reflected on how my values align with people in the industry — it’s part of being able to establish credibility, authenticity, and sincerity. It’s fundamental that people trust you.”
Jarrett finds ways to give back to others, such as acting as a mentor, sitting on the board of Women in Trucking, and giving back to CEW+ in multiple ways. She supports the organization’s core mission, saying, “CEW+ believes in your dreams, and is willing to invest in your future.” Jarrett encourages students to make bold plans, just as she once did. “Dream big and invest in yourself,” Jarrett says. “There will be times where other people may not believe in you, and you may even start to doubt yourself, but hold fast to what your dream is.”