As the nation’s first African American Board Chair at a public food service company, Brenda J. Lauderback is an executive trailblazer who drives bottom line results, supports her community and invests in future generations.
Lauderback’s track record of success, grounded in hard work and strategic thinking, has fueled her career, leading her into the senior ranks in corporate America, including her current role as Chairman of the Board for Denny’s,
Incorporated, one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains.
Her career in retail began at Gimbel’s Department Store, where she worked in multiple departments, quickly learning what it takes to be an effective leader. She strategically navigated her way to success at Gimbel’s, then she decided to take on a new challenge as a Merchandise Buyer at a company that would later be known as Target Corporation.
Lauderback became the company’s first and only African American to become Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for shoes, cosmetics, accessories, intimate apparel and children’s apparel and accessories. Later, Lauderback was hired at U.S. Shoe Corporation. When Nine West acquired U.S. Shoe Corporation, she became the President of the Wholesale and Manufacturing Divisions.
All of these experiences in leadership and strategic business growth have positioned Lauderback as a highly sought-after board member and a widely lauded and recognized business leader. She is a member of the corporate boards for Sleep Number and Wolverine Worldwide. Additionally, she is one of the National Association of Corporate Director’s Top 100 Directors. She has appeared on the National Restaurant News’ “Power List of Most Influential People in Foodservice” and named one of the “Most Influential Women in Corporate America” by Savoy Magazine. On May 9, 2022, she received the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, officially named that day “Brenda Lauderback Day.”
Lauderback’s record of success has led to her being featured in popular magazines such as in Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony and Savoy.
As someone who values the importance of paying it forward, Lauderback is a major supporter of the James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation and the Tom Joyner Foundation, providing financial assistance to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She also supports the International African American Museum in Charleston, the South Carolina Aquarium and the Gibbes Museum of Art.
Her business acumen and philanthropic efforts have not gone unnoticed. Over the years, she’s received numerous awards, including the YWCA Greater Charleston “What Women Bring” Award for business achievement. The National Black MBA Association honored her with the President’s Award. She received her Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from her alma mater, Robert Morris University, as well as the Alumni Achievement Award. Lauderback also has a boardroom named in her honor.
She is a member of The Links, Incorporated, The Girlfriends, Chums, Smart Set and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As a breast cancer survivor, she also supports Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Worldwide.
Lauderback is married to Dr. Boyd Wright and they have two wonderful children named Phallon and Adam. When she’s not traveling, she enjoys life in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as Dallas, Texas.