Cheryl Mayberry McKissack


As a dynamic, inspirational executive Cheryl Mayberry McKissack has a history of stellar success igniting growth by building world-class management teams, leading digital transformations, raising capital from investors and penetrating multicultural markets. She is a respected board member with multifaceted expertise in addition to being a well-known author and speaker. For more than a decade, she challenged and motivated young entrepreneurs as Associate Professor in the MBA program at Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Business.

In her role as CEO of Nia Enterprises, Cheryl propels revenue growth with a focus on entrepreneurial ventures and start-ups. In the past, she provided essential data to refine growth strategies for Fortune 500 firms including L’Oréal, Mondelez (formerly Kraft) and Amtrak. Cheryl founded Nia Enterprises, LLC to elevate marketing and growth strategies by delivering data-driven insights with an emphasis on multicultural audiences including the African American and Latino communities, two of today’s fastest-growing markets.


Cheryl’s greatest strength is inspiring top-notch teams of professionals and sparking creativity to attain ambitious business goals.


Providing the marketing strategy and overarching vision for Nia Enterprises, Cheryl built one of the largest online consumer research panel delivering marketing insights via digital comparative research on the unique needs and purchasing preferences of Black women. Cheryl’s greatest strength is inspiring top-notch teams of professionals and sparking creativity to attain ambitious business goals. She was the first African American woman, the youngest and (for the first decade of her tenure) the only female member of the PrivateBancorp Board of Directors.

Cheryl has an exemplary record of board service. During her tenure at PrivateBancorp, she successfully launched the Governance program as Chair and was Vice Chair of the Compensation committee. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Deluxe Corporation (Past Chair of the Governance Committee). In those roles she successfully recruited a more diverse cadre of board members to elevate leadership through multiple perspectives. She also serves on several nonprofit boards including the University of Chicago Medical Center, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago Library Foundation and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.


After being recruited as COO and President of Digital by the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) in 2013, Cheryl helped revitalized the 72-year-old firm by leading digital transformations to spur sales growth. She generated increased revenue by implementing and selling a fair-market-price business model. She led the transformation of JPC from a print-oriented publisher of the iconic EBONY and JET magazines to a multifaceted print, digital and experiential media business focused on forging powerful emotional connections between consumers and brands via compelling storytelling.

Under her digital leadership, Cheryl’s team expanded the e-commerce division of JPC’s cosmetics brand Fashion Fair and monetized EBONY’s library of five million images, launching the Ebony Collection by establishing a strategic partnership with Art.com. She expanded engagement on the Ebony.com website to 2M unique visitors per month and drove advertising sales by attracting new clients, including new Apple advertising and the multi-year sponsorship of the Celebrating Black Hollywood event.