Desirée Rogers
CEO and Co-Owner
Black Opal Beauty and Fashion Fair Cosmetics

With over 25 years’ experience building brands in a variety of industries, Desiree Rogers is an influential, results-oriented business leader. Through her keen business acumen and unique background, she has reinvented business models and changed the growth trajectory of multiple organizations. Her leadership strategy focuses on identifying opportunities, building strong teams, and driving results. Her strong interpersonal, collaborative, and diplomatic skills have resulted in successful accomplishments in business, civic leadership, and philanthropy. She is a high-profile speaker, frequently quoted in local and national media.

Rogers is currently the CEO and co-owner of Black Opal and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, and a former CEO of Johnson Publishing Company. She recently launched One Brown Girl, LLC., a corporation that invests in minority-owned businesses.

"I like to analyze every situation through a new set of lenses, thinking of ways to bridge the gap between today and what is possible." - Desirée Rogers

Throughout her career, Rogers has led major organizations with critical impact on their economic viability as they built new foundations for future performance and increased responsiveness to a wide range of audiences. As CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, she assessed growth prospects for the company's three divisions: Media (Ebony and Jet magazines), the Johnson Archives, and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the world’s largest prestige cosmetics company for women of color. Under her leadership, she positioned the company for capital investment and the sale of its media division. She stabilized Fashion Fair Cosmetics as a standalone company with a modernized strategic retail and digital presence in the United States and expanded its international footprint. "We are well positioned to continue my father's legacy and move this business forward in the future…" stated Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing.

Appointed by President Obama as White House Social Secretary, Rogers repositioned the White House as the “People’s House,” implementing innovative events at a level exceeding the previous Administration by 25%. Prior to that, Rogers spearheaded the development of the social networking strategy for the Allstate Corporation, helping to reinvent digital customer engagement for the company.

As President of Peoples Energy, Rogers transitioned Peoples Gas from a traditional 'under the radar' entity to a responsive, customer-centric organization and secured the first-rate increase in 12 years. In addition, she successfully improved the operational efficiency for Peoples Gas achieving a 74% increase in customer product and service sales. Rogers also transformed the $1.6B Illinois Lottery from being the 'old kid in town' into a popular revenue producer that revolutionized instant ticket games doubling sales through marketing partnerships to $600 million. This innovative strategy became a 'best practice' model for lotteries worldwide.

"If you are afraid, there is no way to be open. Reach beyond, take a chance, be respectful, and always think of what you can do for others." - Desirée Rogers, TEDx Speech, 2016

Rogers is often recruited to provide a fresh business perspective. She has a distinct ability to transcend traditional methods to redefine operational approaches, create new strategic pathways, energize and inspire teams, and accelerate business success. Her unwavering loyalty and drive, in concert with her ability to listen, work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams, build consensus, and make hard business decisions is why she is referred to as a top influential business leader. Rogers is widely credited for her ability to identify and motivate talent, selflessly helping to build and grow the careers of those around her.

Acknowledged as a bold visionary, Rogers has been the leader of many 'firsts' including the development of the first social networking strategy for Allstate, the first female and African American president of the two natural gas utilities of Peoples Energy in Chicago managing over 2,000 employees, the first African American Social Secretary appointed by President Obama, the first 'non-family' lead, CEO, of the 70 year-old Johnson Publishing Company family business, the first person at the Illinois Lottery to build a partnership with retailers through instant ticket telemarketing, developed the first robust Ebony magazine digital platform, secured the first multi-year contract with the James Beard Awards for Choose Chicago, and created a strategic, multi-cultural plan for the White House introducing the first performance of HAMILTON during the White House Poetry Slam.

Rogers is known as an exceptional communicator and a committed community advocate. She continues to serve on several corporate boards including MDC Partners and Inspired Entertainment. Rogers earned a master of business administration from Harvard University and a bachelor of arts in Political Science from Wellesley College. She attended the Center for International and Comparative Programs in Geneva, Switzerland in international politics, business and marketing. She also attended the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Power Program, a curriculum designed for senior women executives.