McDonald’s worker is making history as newly promoted VP

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A Columbus woman is blazing a trail and making history with McDonald’s.

Cleopatra Pearson was recently promoted to Vice President of Operations for O’Ferrall Management Group, a company that owns 26 McDonald’s restaurants in three states. Pearson is the first African American female to hold the position within the group.

When she started at McDonald’s as a part-time dishwasher in 2000, Pearson never dreamed that she would be in an executive role 22 years later. And to get there, she says she had to push past fear and it started with getting into management.

Pearson says, “It’s always going to be scary – the unknown, but you have to take that step. Don’t be afraid to fail. But I’m glad I had people around me to help support and say ‘Hey, Cleo, you can do it.'”

One of the people who pushed her is Marc O’Ferrall, CEO of O’Ferrall Management Group.

“Silent leadership is what we saw in Cleo; what I saw in Cleo. Silent strength and leadership and that ability to lead by example,” says O’Ferrall.

In her new role, Pearson spends time training staff in the restaurants and making sure they have access to continuing education, so maybe they can follow in her footsteps.

“It is my job to make sure that they have the support,” Pearson says.

O’Ferrall sees the impact she’s making. “What she’s been able to do and the imprint she provides and lays on these young African American young ladies who aspire to be successful is more than the instant microwave success they seem to consume on social media and Instagram and Tik Tok.  They see that in her. And truly they believe that it can happen because they see her, and they interact with her every day.”

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