Brewster is extremely pleased to announce that award-winning brand and marketing titan Laurel Richie will be its 2023 Commencement speaker. Ms. Richie has more than three decades of experience in marketing, communications, general management, and corporate governance with a track record of reinvigorating business and brands in transition. A former trustee of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., she currently serves on the boards of Synchrony Financial, Hasbro, Bright Horizons, and SeatGeek. She mentors Fortune 100 C-Suite executives on matters of leadership and corporate culture with The ExCo Group, and consults with other select clients on branding, marketing, and communications.
As President of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 2011 to 2015, Ms. Richie was responsible for setting the vision for the WNBA and leading all of the day-to-day business and basketball operations for the League and its 12 teams. During her five seasons at the helm, Boost Mobile signed a seven-figure deal as the League's first marquee partner, ESPN extended its broadcast partnership through 2025, and the League entered into a new eight-year agreement with the players and their union—the longest agreement in the history of the WNBA. Her “Path to Profitability” initiative led to a significant increase in the League’s operating income and increased the number of WNBA franchises operating in the black from one to five.
Prior to joining the WNBA, Ms. Richie was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), where she created a national brand strategy for the 112 local councils. The “Campaign for Girls,” designed to revitalize this iconic brand and mark its centennial anniversary, resulted in Harris Poll Equitrend recognizing GSUSA as the 2012 Non-Profit Brand of the Year.
Ms. Richie spent 20+ years at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather where she established a strong track record of developing award-winning campaigns that transformed brands, including American Express, Pepperidge Farm, Pond’s, Oscar Mayer, Springs Industries, and Maidenform. The bulk of her career was spent on Kimberly Clark, shepherding the growth of Huggies from a regional U.S. challenger brand into a $4 billion dollar megabrand available in 114 countries around the world. She was appointed to Ogilvy New York's Operating Board in 2000, where she helped the agency embrace new media and extend its reach to new audiences. Upon her departure from Ogilvy, she became a founding member of the agency’s external Diversity Advisory Board.
A frequent keynote speaker and panelist on leadership, diversity and inclusion, women and sports, Laurel is a recipient of the BET Black Girls Rock Shot Caller Award, Sports Business Journal’s Game Changer Award, and the YMCA's Black Achiever’s Award. She is a recipient of Ebony magazine’s Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications and named to its Power 100 list. Black Enterprise named her one of the Most Influential African Americans in Sports, and Savoy named her as one of the Most Influential Black Corporate Directors.
Ms. Richie lives in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree in policy studies from Dartmouth College in 1981, where she chairs the advisory board of the Hopkins Center for the Arts after serving her alma mater as a member of the board of trustees from 2012 to 2021 and chair of the board from 2017 to 2021.
“We are thrilled that Laurel Richie will be joining our students and their families for Commencement,” says Head of School Kristy Kerin. “Her experience at the intersection of business, sport, and inclusion is unparalleled, and we all look forward to hearing her insights and advice as our Class of 2023 graduates take the next step in pursuing their own lives of purpose.”