Desiree Rogers

Shades of the Boardroom: Black Executives in Beauty


Dec. 10 2023, Published 11:37 p.m. ET

The diversity of executives in beauty corporations is steadily gaining traction, but it has not reached the desired level yet. It’s still ironic that even though Black consumers spend an average of $1.2 trillion per year on beauty products, the beauty industry is overly dominated by white male executives.

That said, you have to give props to the efforts made so far to diversify the beauty landscape, as they have opened doors for several Black CEOs and executives, allowing them to showcase their brilliance and managerial talent to the world.

Black Executives Shaping the Beauty World

2020 was a year worth celebrating for Black beauty brands due to the launch of advocacy organizations like Aurora James’ Fifteen Percent Pledge, which pushes major retailers to commit at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned beauty brands. These efforts have allowed for the growth and expansion of Black-owned or managed brands, leading to the rise of more leadership positions. These are some of the top CEOs and executives worth celebrating as they look out for the needs of the Black skin.

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Desiree Rogers

As the CEO of one of the world's most reputable Black-owned beauty brands, Black Opal Beauty, Rogers has an impressive leadership background that stems from her youth. Even in an interview with ABC7Chicago, she says that growing up, when kids were asked what they’d like to be, she would say, “in charge of something.” And her dream came to fruition.

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She has served as Johnson Publishing Company's CEO and Social Secretary in the White House. Her rich public service experience and strategic thinking have been a major boost to Black Opal since she took over, reformulating the existing products to be more favorable to various skin tones. She also partnered with more retailers like Ulta Beauty, making the product more accessible to people in different parts of the world.

Monique Rodiguez

Her success as founder and CEO of Mielle Organics speaks volumes about the power of commitment to offering priceless value. From working as a nurse for seven years before transitioning into a beauty entrepreneur, her deep knowledge of skin physiology and human health have given her a strong edge in formulating natural organic products that nourish the hair, turning it into a vibrant work of art.

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She has made a brand representing the pride of people with textured hair, forging partnerships with top organizations like the WNBA while maintaining high-quality organic products enjoyed in over 80 countries worldwide.

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Mandy Fields

As she assumed her position as the chief financial officer at ELF Cosmetics in 2019, Mandy came in with 15 years of finance experience. She had served as the CFO at BevMo, helping propel it to the leading alcoholic beverages retailer on the West Coast.

She has also worked in investment banking at JPMorgan and managed a $10 billion P& L for the Albertsons Companies, where she was the Finance and Analytics Vice President. This book's mastermind has helped E.L.F navigate product pricing and packaging strategies to make the products more affordable to its diverse customer base, giving them ultimate value for their money.

Kleona Mack

She is a beauty industry veteran with a knack for pushing beauty brands to global heights. Before becoming the Chief Marketing Officer at Glossier, she was VP of corporate strategic marketing at L’Oreal. Before then, she was pivotal in launching It Cosmetics in Europe and undertook crucial marketing roles at Pureology and Tarte Cosmetics.

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Glossier knew she was just the right fit for their broadening plans. After the pandemic, she came to Glossier just when the brand sought to introduce its products to a broader global audience with a direct-to-consumer, digital-first approach. Her appetite for scale and creativity has made beauty products more available to people, helping them attain their desired beauty and growing beauty brands into world-class corporations.

Diversifying Beauty Through Top-Tier Leadership

These inspirational executive talents continue to rewrite history while making the beauty industry a home for everyone. Their strategic thinking and empathetic, customer-first approach make every product user feel listened to and thought of. Upcoming generations will remember their efforts in turning the beauty industry from a reserve for the few to an accommodating and kind space that serves every skin’s unique needs.

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