As Vice President and Head of Strategy and Business Development for Williams-Sonoma Inc., Anddria Clack-Rogers Varnado oversees mergers and acquisitions, new business development, competitor research and industry insights, as well as cross-brand initiatives for the company’s iconic portfolio of brands, including Pottery Barn and West Elm lifestyle retailers. She’s also shaking up the industry.
Varnado in November 2017 led the largest tech acquisition in Williams-Sonoma’s history, the $112 million acquisition of Outward Inc., a disruptive 3-D digital imaging company that bridges retail and technology, effectively positioning Williams-Sonoma to shape the future of home shopping. Black Enterprise magazine in November 2017 called the deal “game-changing.” Varnado this month was quoted in in Architectural Digest, announcing the company’s new brand, Robin, a line that gives Williams-Sonoma footing in the expanding sleep systems marketplace.
But Varnado isn’t resting on her laurels, and she never sleeps on opportunities to strengthen and expand her company’s brand.
Varnado is an alumna of Clark Atlanta University. As an undergraduate, she earned a full academic scholarship and was a member of the University’s Honors Program. She also served as president of the Student Business Council and participated in the Yearbook Club. She fondly recalls that initiatives led by School of Business faculty Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D., and Rajul Gokarn, Ph.D., which enabled her to pair classroom lessons with engaging professional experiences and accomplished industry leaders, inspired her to pursue her personal, very unique career path.
She was the first of CAU’s alumni to earn the MBA from Harvard Business School. Today, she leverages years of expertise across management consulting, investment banking and product strategy to bring the full power of Williams-Sonoma’s products and services to customers in a unique and meaningful way. Her career accomplishments also include driving breakthrough global customer insights for a leading online marketplace, leading integrated business planning for new service lines, and launching an online lifestyle and retail company.
Varnado, who currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, says Clark Atlanta and the CAU School of Business “provided her with the support, encouragement and tools to build a fulfilling career.”
“We are exceptionally proud of Anddria’s stellar achievement,” CAU President Ronald A. Johnson says. “CAU alumni across the nation, and around the world, are accomplishing great things across diverse fields of endeavor. This latest accomplishment speaks volumes about the degree to which principled leadership, intellectual strength, critical thinking and entrepreneurial vision characterize the CAU pedigree.
Materials by Clark Atlanta University. Original article “CAU Business Alumna Anddria Clack-Rogers Varnado Leads Landmark Acquisition” appeared Jan 10, 2018. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.