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Essence Ventures: A New Vanguard of Black Leadership Unveils Revolutionary Strategy for Cultural and Economic Empowerment

Signaling a New Chapter and Key Player in Black Culture Spurred by Boundary-Breaking Leadership Placements


In a transformative move that signals a seismic shift in the panorama of Black culture, health, and wealth, Essence Ventures (EV) has unveiled an audacious vision and a constellation of strategic hires that are set to amplify Black capital, community, and capacity like never before.

At the heart of this ambition are Essence Ventures President and CEO, Caroline Wanga, and Richelieu Dennis, Founder and Chairman of Sundial Group of Companies, the parent organization under which EV operates. Their meticulous stewardship has been elemental in bolstering the four cornerstone brands of EV—Essence Communications Inc., AFROPUNK, BeautyCon, and Essence Studios. This laser-focused approach has already reaped a remarkable 30% increase in profitability year-to-date.

Wanga, who catapulted into her role at Essence Ventures in 2020, brings a multidisciplinary background including a stint at Target Corporation and an extensive tenure in the nonprofit sector. Her transformative impact on the EV portfolio stems from an intuitive grasp of culture, equity, and organizational change, making her an invaluable asset in a media industry often hesitant to embrace outsiders.

Newly tapped Chief Content Officer, God-is Rivera, is set to join in May 2023, bringing with her an eclectic skill set honed at Disney and Twitter. Rivera’s unyielding focus on connective, inclusive, and reflective community engagement will be pivotal as EV ascends to new echelons in the consumer ecosystem.

Pauline Malcolm-Thornton and Erika Bennett, who recently joined as Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer respectively, have already made waves. Malcolm-Thornton’s acumen for dynamic sales organizations has led to record-breaking revenue for the ESSENCE Festival of Culture, while Bennett’s techno-marketing prowess has propelled record impressions across the EV portfolio.

Operational efficiency and global engagement are fortified by Barkue Tubman-Zawolo, Chief of Staff and Diasporic Engagement. Michael Barclay II, Allen T. Lamb, Corey Stokes, and Danielle Cadet round off this cadre of ingenious minds, each contributing distinct areas of expertise from experiential marketing to Afrofuturism.

“This is a cadre of storytellers, cultural creators, boundary breakers, and community builders,” declared Wanga. “This summer, the world will witness the alchemy of this dynamic group of leaders at our signature event, the Essence Festival of Culture.”

Richelieu Dennis echoed the sentiment, adding, “The assembly of this exceptional group of Black leaders is more than a new chapter; it’s a whole new book on how energy, ideas, profit, and success can and will flow in our ecosystem.”

Essence Ventures is on a mission to create a globally connected, frictionless, and boundaryless cultural health and wealth ecosystem across the Diaspora. Its impact resonates across professional development, health equity, community celebration, entrepreneurship, and advocacy on all platforms.

In an age when the amplification of Black voices and the deepening of Black culture is not just a social imperative but also an economic one, Essence Ventures emerges as not just a company, but a crusade. With a trailblazing executive team and a multifaceted approach to empowering the Black community, Essence Ventures is undeniably crafting a new narrative for what Black culture, power, and influence can achieve.