Keynote Lunch


This year's conference theme is "Owning It: 360." Cheryl Grace, one of Black Enterprise Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Business Women, will share insights about the African-American consumer, and encourage us to continue owning our economic and social value. Immediately following Cheryl's keynote, she will be joined on the stage by Babson Alumnus and Entrepreneur, Richelieu Dennis, Founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, and Founder of Essence Ventures. Kadia Tubman, former Nielsen Communications Professional and Scholar at Columbia Journalism School, will moderate the panel with Cheryl and Richelieu. 

Cheryl Grace (neé Pearson-McNeil)
Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen

Cheryl Grace is Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen, the global company that measures what consumers watch and what consumers buy. Named one of Black Enterprise Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Business Women in 2017, and a Remarkable Person by the Chicago Tribune, Cheryl is a media industry veteran with a unique portfolio of capabilities including strategic planning, research and analytics, public affairs and media relations.A highly accomplished thought leader with more than 25 years of experience and the visionary behind Nielsen’s African-American Consumer Report, Cheryl has been featured in Essence Magazine,on, among other major media outlets. She has garnered a reputation for working horizontally with a diverse network of high visibility contacts and stakeholders to develop cohesive solutions, and is known in the industry as the “multicultural demographics expert.”


Richelieu Dennis'91
Founder, CEO, Sundial Brands

Richelieu Dennis is the Founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, which is the company behind Shea Moisture, Nubian Heritage, and Madame CJ Walker. Born in Liberia,  Richelieu Dennis came to the United States to attend renowned business school Babson College. When he graduated in 1991, he was unable to return to Liberia because of civil war. Driven by his passion for entrepreneurship and sustained by a vision to fill unmet consumer needs, Richelieu partnered with his best friend and college roommate, Nyema Tubman, to pursue a bold concept: address skin and hair care issues traditionally ignored by mass market companies. Drawing from deep traditions born out of his family’s roots in Africa and passed down to him from  his grandmother, Richelieu incorporated four generations of recipes, wisdom and cultural experiences into natural bath and body care products, co-founding Sundial with his mother – Mary Dennis – and Nyema. 


Kadia Tubman'13
Scholar, Columbia Journalism School

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Babson College, Kadia Tubman started her career at Nielsen, the leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers watch and buy. Within global marketing and communications, she managed Nielsen’s international strategic partnerships. Kadia currently attends Columbia University School of Journalism where she is pursuing a career as an editor and broadcast journalist.