By Roadtrip Nation

Brenda Smith


My road in life has taken me all over.
I grew up in Louisiana—I was an only child and spent a lot of time with my father and uncles tinkering with things and figuring out how they operate.
I graduated from Southern University with a degree in mechanical engineering.
I started my career as an engineer for an oil company that I had previously completed an internship with while in college.
After a few years, I went to graduate school and earned my MBA in finance and operations management from Tulane University.
I transitioned into the finance industry and took a job as a financial analysis manager for American Airlines—I found that I really enjoyed operations, project management, and commercialization.
I got the opportunity to join Coca-Cola in a management rotation program, through which I got to experience many different parts of the business.
When I eventually landed a project management role in innovation, my career really took off and I started to move upwards in the company.
I have since spent over 20 years with Coca-Cola and currently work as the Vice President of Category Commercialization.
Keep following my journey


High School
Mechanical Engineering
Southern University
Finance and Operations Management
Tulane University


Vice President of Category Commercialization

I work with our category brand teams to develop innovation plans and promotional activities.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Accomplishing Goals

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

When choosing your post-secondary path, pick something that you're interested in but know that you have the ability to change paths if it ends up not being right. There's no rule that says you must know exactly what you're going to do for the rest of your life. As you build opportunities and experience new things, you're bound to change your trajectory a bit. Trying all of the things you can and gaining as many experiences as possible will help you figure out what's best for you.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I should be moving up faster than this. Why am I still at this level? It's taking me too long to progress."