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Welcome from the President

“Women in Charge”

Here at Bourbon Women, part of our mission is to empower and support professional women.  (It never hurts to have a cocktail in hand when you’re empowering someone.) 

One of the ways we meet our mission is to elevate outstanding women, particularly those who work in the bourbon industry.  Rebecca Messina is possibly the highest-ranking woman in bourbon today, and we are thrilled to welcome her to this month’s Sip-osium as our keynote speaker.

Ms. Messina is the Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Beam Suntory, parent company of mammoth bourbon brands such as Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Knob Creek; whiskeys such as Canadian Club and Yamazaki; and a dozen other global liquor brands. 

But Rebecca built her career in mixers before moving to bourbon – spending 22 years in global roles at Coca-Cola before jumping to Beam Suntory in 2016.  Below are three quick facts about Rebecca:

She’s a storyteller at heart. Taking over historic brands such as Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam means she can burrow into local history to find new stories to tell. “It was through our archives at Coke that I was able to create some of the best stories we created at Coke,” she told Forbes in 2016. “We can tap into what hasn’t been tapped into and bring those stories [to life].”

She’s listening in her role at Beam. After 22 years at Coca-Cola, Rebecca is the “new kid” for the first time in her career.  “I’ve learned to show up humbly,” Rebecca explained to Agency Spotter.  “I’m now in the minority at Beam.  I don’t have the tenure, I don’t have the equity, I don’t have the experience.  And I just embrace the newness.  I’ve seen it work in culture after culture after culture – [you] look for the similarities, not the differences and somehow it just all falls into place.”

She brings global experience to local brands. Rebecca speaks four languages (English, French, Italian and Spanish) and lived in Chile, Australia and France during her time with Coca-Cola. With Beam-Suntory, she’s looking for the local stories that make their brands memorable and meaningful across the world. 

I can’t wait to hear Rebecca’s thoughts on women in leadership, bourbon, marketing and more when she speaks to our group at Sip-osium.  If you haven’t registered yet, better hurry!  I’ll see you August 24-26 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville! 


Kerri Richardson


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