Charisse Hughes ’97 is dedicated to living her values – one of which is pursuing lifelong learning. So, at the end of 2020, she decided to make an industry change after spending 20 years as a marketing leader primarily with beauty companies.
Now, Hughes is learning to lead manufacturing companies, serving as senior vice president and global chief marketing officer with the food manufacturer, Kellogg Company, and as a recently appointed member of the board of directors for the shoe company, Crocs.
“Kellogg Company’s mission is amazing. It aligns with my values, as does Crocs, whose business is around ‘come as you are,’ both of which are about being inclusive,” she said. “The whole idea of inclusion is not only about one group. It’s about everybody being able to have the same opportunities and the same access, so that’s what I love about both of these companies. I feel like I’m at the right place at the right time.”
During her time working with major brands like Pandora, Avon, Esteé Lauder and Sara Lee, Hughes said she learned the value of working with people of diverse perspectives, backgrounds and industries, which she has carried into her new roles.
“I bring something different to the role because I come from a different viewpoint. The ability to tap into that is how you solve complex business problems,” she said.
Staying connected to a broad network has also been beneficial to Hughes throughout her career. “That was one of the reasons why Kellogg was so valuable to me,” she said. “It really created a strong network of people and thought leaders I can rely on at any point in my career or in my life, period.”
Hughes credits Kellogg with helping her find success in her marketing career. “I still believe that I got the best marketing education that there was at the time and probably is today as well. I valued that Kellogg constantly was adapting and making sure we stayed on the front edge of marketing education.”
Along with taking on new roles at the end of 2020, Hughes also made her first gift to join the Kellogg Leadership Circle, a community of donors who fund the school’s highest priorities, including scholarships, faculty research, programming and more.
“With everything that happened in 2020, I wanted to reassert that education is a core value of mine,” she said. “It’s something that my grandmother instilled in me, even though she didn’t have a formal education, and that my mother, who has two master’s degrees and graduated from college in only three years, did as well. I wanted to support the universities that supported me and made such an important imprint on my life and career.”