Join us for the second annual Chicago Booth Black Alumni Spring Brunch. Alumni from all class years are welcome to attend.
You're invited to partake in a stylish brunch at the Thompson Hotels beautiful Chicago 7 ballroom. Brunch will be served buffet style and will include traditional brunch fare. Reconnect, connect and mingle with fellow Black Booth alumni in this gorgeous setting, featuring stunning floor to ceiling views of downtown Chicago.
Registration price will increase at the door.
Richelieu Dennis (Speaker)
Founder, CEO & Executive Chairman – Sundial Brands; Founder & Chairman – Essence Ventures; Founder, New Voices Fund & New Voices Foundation
Entrepreneur, investor and social commerce innovator Richelieu Dennis has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation that traces back to his family's roots in Africa and that is sustained by a mission to fill unmet consumer needs around the world. As the founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Sundial Brands, his vision has resulted in the creation of the company's purpose-driven Community Commerce business model and in the 28-year-old family founded-and-operated manufacturer's success as the maker of top hair, natural, bar soap and bath and body brands via SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage, as well as prestige beauty brands – Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture and Nyakio.
In November 2017, Richelieu architected a first-of-its-kind deal in the beauty and personal care industry. With the landmark acquisition of Sundial Brands by Unilever, he negotiated one of the largest natural beauty/personal care deals in the U.S. and also the largest consumer products deal by a majority Black-owned company. As part of this purpose-driven agreement, he and Unilever created a groundbreaking US$100 million New Voices Fund to invest in and empower women of color entrepreneurs.
In 2017, Richelieu founded Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, technology-driven company focused on merging content, community and commerce to create an ecosystem that meets the cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color. In January 2018, the company announced that it had acquired Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc.
In December 2018, Richelieu announced the purchase of Madam C.J. Walker's historic estate, Villa Lewaro, via the New Voices Foundation, which he founded to help women of color entrepreneurs achieve their vision through leadership development, skills-building, and networking opportunities, as well as other innovative leadership initiatives. Villa Lewaro will be used as a learning institute, or think tank, where women of color entrepreneurs will receive in-person and virtual curriculum-based learning and other resources aimed at helping them build, grow and expand their businesses.
Richelieu has been named by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to its inaugural "SuperSoul 100" list celebrating a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers using their power to move the world forward and whose vision and life's work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world around them and encouraging others to do the same. In addition, he has been named by Fast Company as one of the "Most Creative People in Business." In 2017, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, conferred upon Richelieu one of the nation's highest honors – distinction of Knight Commander, admitting him into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers.
Crystal D. McDonald (Moderator) '10
Director of Entrepreneurship, Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation
Crystal McDonald is the founder of Acrew, a pre-employment screening platform that connects employers and job seekers using brief on demand video interviews providing services to customers such as McDonald's, Hyatt, Delta Private Jets, and Hudson News. With several years of experience in recruiting and as co-owner of a multi-unit franchise restaurant, Crystal founded the company out of a need to gain more information about a candidate beyond the resume or application.
She also is the Founder and sole owner of JCM Management Group and consulting firm that provides holistic talent sourcing and onboarding to high volume retailers and food and beverage airport concessions companies for which she is joint venture partner in the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Common Use lounge slated to open in the Fall.
Crystal also serves as Propeller's (a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs to take social and environmental disparities in the New Orleans) Director of Entrepreneurship, overseeing Propeller's portfolio companies and all entrepreneurship services, such as Impact Accelerators, the Social Venture Fund, and their premier PitchNOLA competition.