Debra Kerr has benefitted from an illustrious, fast paced track in her career in sales and sales management as a strategist, field representative and senior executive leader who succeeded in climbing the corporate ladder in an industry and in organizations traditionally dominated by men in leadership roles. She has recently made a significant shift in her career from corporate America to investing her time and expertise into her own independent consulting firm, leveraging all she has learned to help organizations make the shift necessary to move the needle in the areas of sales growth, people development and cultural reform. Debra has a talent for people – she knows how to recruit, develop and optimize the engine of individuals and very large teams – she is excited, energized and hopeful that in this next phase of her career she will be effective and extremely successful at raising the lid on the leadership skills of women, youth and people of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. She has a passion for adding value to others and facilitating the growth and self actualization of individuals.
Until recently, September 2017, Debra was the Head of Sales for Age of Learning, creators of the award winning comprehensive online early learning academy – abcmouse.com. She is a former Senior Vice President of Pearson and executive project leader of its enterprise-wide transformation to entirely digital platforms. Her instrumental leadership included establishing Pearson as a competitive provider of digital publishing systems and technical services for the K-12 education market of their $4Bn operations. Most recently, she was selected by Legacy South Florida Magazine as one of “South Florida’s Most Powerful Black Professionals in Business and Industry for 2014.”
Debra is a native of Jamaica and a former public relations officer and Second Runner Up for the Miss Jamaica (World) Pageant. She also gained notoriety as one of the island country’s top fashion models. After a successful stint as an anchor for a government sponsored public television program broadcast, she leveraged her career into work with middle- and senior level management, leading etiquette and grooming seminars for various corporate clients.
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies, Debra ascended from technical sales representative to Owner and President of Computer Tech Ltd. She exercised natural team leadership ability and honed a particular acumen in sales and marketing to lead the company to $7MM in sales in her last year of tenure. She then immigrated to the United States, and accepted the challenge of thriving within a markedly different business culture.
Debra tapped into her established expertise in the information technology sector to build and manage business plans and marketing strategies that won her a Top Sales Award as a MacCenter (Apple Computer sales) Agent for K-12 markets. In 2001, after succeeding in a similar consulting and sales role for MCSi / Central Audio Visual, she capitalized on her proven value to become a curriculum account executive for Pearson. During the next five years, she won numerous Outstanding Performance President’s Awards, surpassing sales quotas for digital learning products by up to 189%.
A promotion to regional sales manager saw her challenged with generating $13.5MM in regional sales goals; and she once again earned distinction as an Outstanding District Sales Performer. She oversaw all aspects of regional sales team management and set national sales policies and strategies that pioneered significant growth.
Come mid-2011, Debra had risen to the role of Regional Vice President, surpassing all expectations for achievement of $27MM in annual regional sales goals and earning Outstanding Region Sales Performance with 148% to plan. Finally, in 2013, she was hand-picked to assume Senior Vice Presidency of the entire enterprise and strategic leadership of the U.S. K-12 market.
After an injury in 2007 left her with a broken back, she developed a particular compassion for the plights of chronic pain patients, and those of children in particular. While undergoing intense physical therapy, she was driven to champion fundraising efforts for St. Jude’s Hospital. While working with the nonprofit pediatric research and treatment facility, and using her influence in the child education industry, Debra has raised (to date) more than $20K through the St. Jude Triathlon.
Debra is also a certified John Maxwell Leadership Speaker, Trainer and Coach and is on the Board of the Foundation for Volunteer Florida and City Year Miami.