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LaRose M. Davis

was born Leslie Ann Peterson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest daughter of Helen L. Peterson, a homemaker, artist, and community activist, and William T. Peterson, a non-profit administrator. From early on, Banks was an accomplished student. She attended Conwell Middle Magnet School and graduated with honors from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1977. She was accepted into the Wharton School undergraduate business program at the University of Pennsylvania. Three years later, in 1980, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a dual degree in Marketing and Management.

Immediately after graduation, Banks embarked on the first stage of a promising career in corporate sales. Over the next decade, she won positions as a Major Account Sales Representative and at Xerox Corporation (1980–1983), Hewlett Packard Corporation (1983–1986), and Sales Executive at Digital Equipment Corporation (1986–1991). In 1984 ...