Oglethorpe University’s commencement ceremony honoring the Class of 2022 will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 9:00 a.m. on the academic quadrangle. This year, Oglethorpe will welcome commencement speaker Beatriz “Bea” Perez, the Coca-Cola Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Communications, Sustainability and Strategic Partnerships Officer, to address the graduating class.
Perez will also receive an Oglethorpe honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of her leadership and service toward making a lasting positive impact for consumers, communities, and the environment.
“We are thrilled to have Ms. Perez as our commencement speaker in 2022,” said Oglethorpe University President Nicholas Ladany. “Our students, faculty, and staff will benefit from her words of wisdom based on her extraordinary accomplishments and influence in Atlanta and beyond.”
President Ladany, together with alumnus Cameron Bready, chair of the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees and president and chief operating officer of Global Payments, Inc., will preside over the commencement ceremony for more than 240 graduates. Additional speakers will include student leaders Makayla Adams, senior class president, and Justin Bennett, president of the Student Government Association. More details may be found on the Commencement website.
At the Coca-Cola Company, Perez oversees a diverse portfolio and manages networked teams that lead and support the company’s business objectives. This includes commitments to global leadership in the areas of environmental, social and governance (ESG). She leads global external and internal communications, including digital media strategy for company-owned channels; global brand public relations; financial communications; and leadership communications.
Perez also leads the strategic direction and business performance for the company’s retail, licensing and attractions portfolio of assets. Until January 2022, Perez oversaw strategic marketing assets of the company, including renewal of a partnership with the International Olympic Committee; marketing activations for FIFA; and all global marketing assets. Her roles included serving as chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America, where she built brands and developed key relationships, including with American Idol and NASCAR. Perez was named as the company’s first chief sustainability officer in 2011. Her team went on to become the driving force behind the company’s World Without Waste program and developed and led global commitments to advance water stewardship and women’s economic empowerment.
Perez began her career at the company in 1996. She went on to hold senior-level branding, marketing, operations and public policy roles that utilized her breadth of experience, business acumen and passion for sustainability to create and build programs and partnerships that have enhanced the lives of people and communities worldwide. This included learning how to drive a Coca-Cola delivery truck to see the business from the ground up.
Numerous organizations have recognized her commitment and accomplishments: Perez has been recognized as a “Conservation Trailblazer” by The Trust for Public Land; the Association of Latino Professionals for America named her to its “50 Most Powerful Latinas” ranking in 2017, 2018 and 2019; she was on Hispanic Executive magazine’s list of top 10 leaders; she was featured as one of the “25 Most Powerful Latinas” on CNN and People en Espanol; she is a member of the American Advertising Hall of Fame, the Sports Business Journal’s Hall of Fame and the PR Week Hall of Fame; and PRovoke (formerly The Holmes Report) has listed her as a member of the Influence 100 for communicators since 2017.
Perez is a committed advocate for community engagement, serving on various boards. She is chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation, the company’s global philanthropic arm. She serves in leadership positions for several not-for-profit organizations, including the board of trustees of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. She is a public director for Primerica and W.W. Grainger, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland.