In this episode you meet Amy S. Hilliard. Amy is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and a former senior corporate executive. A native of Detroit, she is an honors graduate of both Howard University and the Harvard Business School and is also certified in Digital/Social Marketing by Columbia University. The Hilliard Group, her strategic marketing consulting firm for over 20 years has worked with clients including Nielsen, IBM, Pandora Jewelry, BET Networks, American Express, HBO, The GAP, The Limited, PepsiCo and others. In 2001, she founded The ComfortCake® Company, makers of “Pound Cake so Good it feels like a Hug “, which gained distribution with United Airlines, Walmart, a McDonald’s test market and Home Shopping Network among others using Amy’s own pound cake recipes. Amy now licenses ComfortCake’s® intellectual property and Sugarless Sweetness, a patent-pending sugar substitute.
Recently President of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the global legacy cosmetics company focused on women of color, Amy is a former retailing, senior marketing and advertising executive with Bloomingdale’s, Gillette, Pillsbury, Burrell Communications, and L’Oreal. Her marketing innovations to build Gillette’s White Rain brand into a $100 million-dollar business were documented in a case study for the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School. Amy has also been an Executive Lecturer at Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business. A proven thought leader on entrepreneurship, empowerment and marketing, Amy has been profiled in Fortune, Success, Entrepreneur, CNN, Black Enterprise, Essence, Ebony and NPR. An international speaker, she is also the author of “TAP INTO YOUR JUICE -- Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams” – endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Her blog, Sizzling After 60 – Thriving at Every Stage of Your Life is popular among all ages.
Based in Chicago and passionate about her community and health/wellness, Amy is the proud mother of two young professionals. Amy served two terms as a Trustee of Howard University, thirteen years on PepsiCo’s Multi-cultural Advisory Board, and was the first African-American elected to the board of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade. Amy currently sits on the LeanIn.org Advisory Board with Sheryl Sandberg. Her website is www.amyshilliard.com.
Some of the things that stood out to me during our conversation were about:
- Starting over in your 40's
- Recovering after a major loss
- Integrating a junior high school
- Building a business while being a corporate executive
- The importance of reciprocity