Desiree Rogers

EXCLUSIVE
  • Chair, Choose Chicago
  • Former CEO, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Johnson Publishing
  • Former White House Social Secretary & Special Assistant to President Obama
  • CEO with Experience in Marketing, Re-Branding & Consumer Connection

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 expertise has focused on developing efficient operations and expertly delivering to audiences and consumers.  Her strong interpersonal, collaborative, and diplomatic skills have resulted in successful accomplishments in business, civic leadership, and philanthropy. 

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. 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.

Named the "50 Most Influential People in the Multicultural Market" by WWD, "Top 25 Women to Watch" by Crain's Chicago Business, and "Top 50 Most Powerful African American Business Women" by Black Enterprise, 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. 

"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

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Desiree Rogers
Things went well! As was expected Desiree was a hit. Very gracious and accommodating to the guests who were happy to be in the same room with her. It was our pleasure to have her and would like to thank you for your help in getting her here.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Desiree Rogers
  • Chicago Ideas
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • SC Johnson Company
  • Mshale, The African Community Newspaper
Desiree Rogers: Leading Piece by Piece | Chicago Ideas Week - Get Sharable Link
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Explore Desiree Rogers's Talks
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Making Marketing Work: Cultivating Customers in a Digital and Global Age

Customers drive every business, so what is the best way to connect with them in today’s digitized and globalized marketplace? Drawing on her experiences at the helm of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Choose Chicago, Chicago’s tourism bureau, and her work as a White House Social Secretary for President Barac ...

Customers drive every business, so what is the best way to connect with them in today’s digitized and globalized marketplace? Drawing on her experiences at the helm of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Choose Chicago, Chicago’s tourism bureau, and her work as a White House Social Secretary for President Barack Obama, Desiree Rogers reveals how to devise marketing strategies that really work. From how to understand demographics and solicit input from your customer base, to how to infuse your business with passion, purpose and vision, Desiree reveals what it takes to hatch a marketing plan that exceeds goals and motivates your business’ team behind a mission.  

Fostering a Positive Work Environment

In a 21st workplace, openness and communication are key. Gone are the days of siloed cubicles and unilateral decision-making. Instead, collaboration, innovation, and diversity of ideas are the elements that separate truly exceptional businesses and organizations from the pack. Drawing on her experie ...

In a 21st workplace, openness and communication are key. Gone are the days of siloed cubicles and unilateral decision-making. Instead, collaboration, innovation, and diversity of ideas are the elements that separate truly exceptional businesses and organizations from the pack. Drawing on her experience as a CEO overseeing a diverse team at Johnson Publishing, Desiree Rogers reveals how to foster a truly collaborative and open work environment where team members are empowered to tackle tough issues. Providing instantly implementable tools and strategies, Desiree shares how to create a workspace where everyone feels they have a seat at the table and voice in the conversation, so businesses can ultimately create a team that thrives.

How Do We Talk About Race? Confronting Bias and Finding Your Voice

While many organizations, institutions and businesses strive to promote diversity, it still remains complicated, uncomfortable and difficult to address issues of race in both our professional and personal lives. Desiree Rogers makes it easy. In this compelling talk, Desiree reflects on both her expe ...

While many organizations, institutions and businesses strive to promote diversity, it still remains complicated, uncomfortable and difficult to address issues of race in both our professional and personal lives. Desiree Rogers makes it easy. In this compelling talk, Desiree reflects on both her experiences as a black woman making her way up the ladder in male and white-dominated industries, and as a CEO tasked with overseeing a diverse team, to reveal what it takes for us to get comfortable with race. From pushing individuals to confront their own biases, to providing actionable takeaways on how to address exclusion in all its forms, Desiree provides a refreshingly straightforward perspective on race in today’s world and how to feel powerful in your own skin.  

What Does It Take To Be A Woman Today?

How do we talk about womanhood? Terms like “work-life balance,” “lean in” and “resiliency” quickly become buzzwords, ways in which to navigate womanhood, but what do they really mean? In this refreshingly honest and open talk, Desiree Rogers reflects on her personal experiences as a breast cancer su ...

How do we talk about womanhood? Terms like “work-life balance,” “lean in” and “resiliency” quickly become buzzwords, ways in which to navigate womanhood, but what do they really mean? In this refreshingly honest and open talk, Desiree Rogers reflects on her personal experiences as a breast cancer survivor as a way to talk about being a woman today. Sharing powerful (and humorous) anecdotes and lessons, she distills what is truly important in life to paint a picture of personal reinvention.

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Biography

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 expertise has focused on developing efficient operations and expertly delivering to audiences and consumers.  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.

 "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 has served on multiple nonprofit and corporate boards as a member, chair and sitting CEO. 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.