Liberian Richelieu Dennis Jr., a graduate of the class of 1991, arrived to Babson College with high expectations. He intended to launch a stand-alone enterprise selling grapefruit, oranges, and pineapples. He noticed, “Unexpected events occurred when I moved 4,500 kilometres away to attend university. I found a house “. His objectives had changed by the time he graduated in part as a result of the knowledge he gained and the contacts he established while attending Babson. But the situation also had an effect on his future. When he was a Babson student, a civil war in Liberia began. Soon after graduating, Dennis’ mother submitted an application for asylum in the US after losing her home and everything she owned.
What served as the basis for his commencement address?
His own graduation was held in a quite different environment from this one. But it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to connect the disorder and unpredictability of today with Dennis’s own instability and unpredictability of thirty years ago. Dennis started defining his place in the world as soon as he received his diploma. Dennis started Sundial Brands in Harlem, New York, to provide high-quality products for Black women and to address the imbalance in the cosmetics aisle, rather than moving back to Liberia to start a citrus farming business. It was established in 2017 with the innovative $100 million New Voices Fund to support and fund female entrepreneurs of colour. The next year, when he bought Essence, Dennis recovered sole Black control of the publication. The epidemic and social injustice are the primary drivers for a new breed of innovators, entrepreneurial leaders prepared to solve challenging societal challenges, much as the events in Dennis’ native nation inspired him to make a difference.