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Paula Ann Sneed

Retired corporate executive Paula Ann Sneed was born on November 10, 1947 in Everett, Massachusetts. She is the only child of Thomas E. and Furman Mary (Turner) Sneed. Sneed was raised in Malden, Massachusetts and attended Charles A. Daniel Elementary School and Malden High School. Sneed earned her B.A. degree from Simmons College, a women’s liberal arts college in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1969 to1971, Sneed worked as the Educational Supervisor and Female Coordinator for the Outreach Program for Problem Drinkers, an alcohol-rehabilitation program. From 1971 to 1972, she worked as the Director of Plans for Program Development and Evaluation at the Ecumenical Center in Roxbury. Between 1972 and 1975, Sneed served as the Program Coordinator for the Boston Sickle Cell Center at Boston City Hospital. In 1975, Sneed decided to return to school and obtain her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

After completing her M.B.A. degree in 1977, Sneed embarked on a long and successful career in corporate marketing. Sneed first joined General Foods (which later merged with Kraft Foods, Inc.) in 1977 as assistant product manager. She then went on to hold a number of high-ranking positions within Kraft Foods, Inc., ranging from Senior Vice President of Kraft’s North American Food Service Division to Executive Vice President of the Desserts Division. In her role as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Resources & Initiatives, Sneed was instrumental in guiding Kraft’s efforts in the areas of consumer relationship marketing, digital marketing, consumer insights, media services, packaging, multi-cultural marketing and advertising. In addition, Sneed was part of a companywide initiative to thwart childhood obesity. In 2006, Sneed retired as Kraft’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives when Kraft Foods, Inc., merged its global marketing unit with its global category development.

Sneed sits on the Board of Directors of The Charles Schwab Corporation, Airgas Inc., and Tyco Electronics Limited. Sneed is a trustee of Teach for America, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and Simmons College. She is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council and The Chicago Network.

Sneed married Lawrence P. Bass on September 2, 1978. They have one child, Courtney J. Bass.

Sneed was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.020

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/19/2008

Last Name

Sneed

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Malden High School

Charles A. Daniel Elementary School

Simmons College

Harvard Business School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Paula

Birth City, State, Country

Everett

HM ID

SNE01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Amina Dickerson

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Dream Big, Preposterous Dreams.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/10/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Corporate executive Paula Ann Sneed (1947 - ) held a number of high-ranking positions within Kraft Foods, Inc., ranging from Senior Vice President of Kraft’s North American Food Service Division to Executive Vice President of the Desserts Division. In 2006, she retired as Kraft’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives.

Employment

Outreach for Problem Drinkers

The Ecumenical Center

Boston Sickle Cell Center

General Foods Corporation

General Foods (Kraft Foods)

Kraft Foods

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paula Ann Sneed's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her mother's early education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her mother's response to discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' activities during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her parents' disregard for traditional gender roles

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her family's involvement at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her early awareness of race

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her community in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her mother's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers Lincoln Junior High School in Malden, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her activities at Malden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her chores

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her social activities at Malden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls lessons from her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to attend Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the curriculum at Simmons College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers the Black Power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls lessons about leadership from her time at Simmons College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her first experience of community organizing

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her aspiration to become a social worker

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the events that spurred her politicization

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her start at a support program for alcoholics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her work at an alcoholic outreach program

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role at the Boston Sickle Cell Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her decision to attend business school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers the Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to enter the private sector

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her work at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her role as a brand manager

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers marketing Kool-Aid

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her duties at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers her perspective on corporate diversity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her early career goals

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers a coworker's advice

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her strategy for career success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her promotion to vice president of consumer affairs

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls becoming a division head at the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers heading the food service division of the General Foods Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers working with a racist client

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her role as a trailblazer

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls the merger of the General Foods Corporation and Kraft Foods Group Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls being offered a position in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed explains her decision to continue working for Philip Morris Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed recalls her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paula Ann Sneed describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about the marketing of political candidates

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paula Ann Sneed reflects upon the benefit of mentorship

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paula Ann Sneed remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paula Ann Sneed describes the early years of her marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Paula Ann Sneed talks about her husband's support

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her relationship with her parents and parents-in-law

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Paula Ann Sneed describes her interest in African art

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Paula Ann Sneed describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Paula Ann Sneed narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Paula Ann Sneed recalls the occupation of the Simmons College president's office, pt. 1
Paula Ann Sneed recalls her early career goals
Transcript
So the Simmons Civil Rights- Simmons Civil Rights Club evolved--which had whites and blacks--evolved and became the Black Student Organization, which was black students only and we tried to get the school to be what we called more responsive to our needs, which were more black professors, more black students, more scholarship aid, more black administrative people. We did something called the seminars, and we actually brought in--we tried to get a black history course, nobody wanted--the school wouldn't fund it. So we actually brought in black professionals across a variety of different disciplines and we had these seminars and we charged money and people came from the local community, students signed up from Simmons [Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts] and students from other places. And we filled an auditorium every single week for like seven or eight weeks with these lectures, as evidence to the faculty and administration that they should so something like this at Simmons and they didn't. So the next year, my senior year, we really tried to work with the administration to get some sort of response to what we were interested in, and didn't. And if you would think about back to 1968, schools were erupting about--it was, it was wonderful time to be a young person because you could get engaged and involved in things that, that you believed in. So you had white women you know asserting their, their rights for equality and so they had the start of the, the feminist movement. You had the anti-war movement that was running across all campuses and you had many students walking away from the, the civil rights philosophy and embracing a black power philosophy, and so my senior year we went to the faculty and administration after having worked for two years trying to get people to pay attention to us and they didn't so we took over the president's office. I was president and we issued, we had ten demands, we went in and we told him he wasn't leaving until he signed them. It was a very interesting situation because we worked for weeks trying to figure out what we would and how we would do it and as president I recognized we were only as strong as the weakest person in our organization and that meant that we had to develop a tactic that the girl who was the most skeptical about doing anything could buy into. So there were some people who said, "Let's burn the school down," you know, and then there were some people who said, "We'd better go study 'cause we'll flunk out," you know. And I needed to figure out how we could bring people together and make sure that nobody went back and told the administration that we were about to do something. So we just went in his office one day, we put the smallest girl at the door, she sat down. People just--it was a combination of the old sit-ins you know and the provost was there and the president's administrator and the president and we just sat there and we called people from the community, Mel King [HistoryMaker Melvin King] and John Brown [ph.] and you know we just sat in until we got them to sign. And he signed the ten demands and part of the ten demands was setting up a watchdog committee of community members, students, faculty and administration to ensure that these demands were implemented. It was a very interesting situation because we all graduated, the seniors graduated. The next year there were juniors who were then going to be responsible for having this happen. And a lot of things like happened at many of the schools where the administration said they were gonna do stuff and they started back pedaling.$I didn't think I would ever get to be some of--ever get to do some of the things that I wanted to, but I started telling people early on that I--that's what I wanted. I remember going to a boss once and saying when he gave me my--you got your annual review and then you had to write what your career goals were. So I wrote that I wanted to be vice president of General Foods [General Foods Corporation] and I'd been there about six years and he sat down and he said, "You know I wanna talk about your career goal." I'm like, "Okay", and he said, "You said you wanna be a vice president." "I think I do." And he said, "Well, I'm not even a vice president, and there are only like thirty-five to forty vice presidents here." And I'm like, "I know." And he said, "Well you know I'm not sure that, that's a reasonable goal." And I said, "Well, why?" And I said, "If I earn it, I expect to be given it, and I would expect that if that's my goal then as my boss you would help me achieve it." And I said, "I'm not working this hard for your job, Doug [ph.]." You know part of my problem at times was I engaged mouth before engaging brain, you know and that was probably an inappropriate thing to say to this guy 'cause he wasn't a VP yet, but the point was that I believe that if you wanted something you had to really put it out there that you wanted it and you had to work like you thought you were gonna get it. Again, get it in your head if you're ready and able and it comes you can have it, and of course what ended up happening was I was able to make VP and I was able to get to president of a division and group VP and executive VP and global--I mean I got all the things, the trappings of corporate success because I just refused to give up when the going got tough.