Own the Narrative (with Rich Dennis) – Episode 16 of Professional Troublemaker

I’m so excited to bring you this week’s Archive April episode of Professional Troublemaker. As we’ve done for the past two weeks, we’re going back into our archives and re-sharing some of our interviews with epic professional troublemakers.

This week, we’re sharing an interview from 2018 with entrepreneurial powerhouse, Richelieu Dennis.


This is such a memorable interview for me because I was able to get Rich to come to the studio at Chicago Recording Company with me in person. Between our two schedules, we’ve been known to have meetings in back hallways and stairwells at events – whenever we can grab a few minutes. So to have him be able to do this sit-down interview and spend the time he did was an absolute gift.

By way of introduction, Richelieu Dennis is the Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman, Sundial Brands; Founder and Chairman, Essence Ventures. He’s an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, and has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation that traces back to his family’s roots in Africa and that is sustained by a vision to fill unmet consumer needs.


At the time of the original interview, Rich and his holding company had just purchased Essence and its lifestyle brand from Time, Inc. We talk about the importance of that move – not only because it put the Essence brand back in the hands of a Black-owned business, but because of what makes possible when it comes to having an infrastructure and global platform to serve the Black community.

Rich shares the amazing story of how he came up selling shea butter on tables in New York City to creating a global, multi-million dollar brand. He credits that success to his mom and grandmother – women from another country making sure their families were cared for and able to keep progressing forward.

We also talk about how Shea Moisture invests in women-owned businesses across the globe by incorporating them into the supply chain for creating Shea Moisture products, and we also talk about how New Voices Fund invests in Black women entrepreneurs to build Black businesses.

Rich is an amazing leader and I’m such a fan of how he as a Black man stands in the gap to affirm, and more importantly, help support Black female entrepreneurs with actual capital so that they can create excellent businesses and generational wealth for their families.

Links and Resources:


Links from the Episode:

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