Kendra Bracken-Ferguson

Founder, CEO and General Partner at BrainTrust

Education: Purdue University - Keller Graduate School Of Management
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Biography

Kendra Bracken-Ferguson is an internationally acclaimed thought leader. In demand for her strategic vision and attention to brands that want to grow to scale quickly and sustainably, she is a sought after speaker and c-suite/board advising powerhouse.

Kendra's ecosystem of leadership is rooted in her global conglomerate BrainTrust where she is the Founder, CEO and General Partner.

BrainTrust is an award-winning, global force created by Kendra in 2015. It was the first of her suite of BrainTrust enterprises leading to her founding BrainTrust Founders Studio in 2021, now the largest membership-based platform designed for diverse founders of beauty and wellness companies that has not only changed the face of beauty but also empowered overlooked business owners to enter the room and sit at the tables of capital and wealth generation.

She also is a General Partner in the adjacent BrainTrust Fund I, dedicated to investing in breakthrough beauty and wellness brands. A transformative brand builder, Kendra is the secret ingredient in guiding and monetizing more than 200 influencer-driven brands that have collectively generated more than $100MM in revenue. Kendra has created and launched seven brands in partnership with celebrities and influencers. Among her firsts, Kendra has the distinction of one of the first 100 Black women ever to have raised more than $1MM in investment for her first company.

Not only has she innovated and partnered into the worlds of celebrity and influence, she has also been early to the power of technology to open new gates of opportunity as the youngest Vice President at Fleisham-Hillard New York, the first Director of Digital Media at Ralph Lauren and the first Chief Digital Officer at CAA-GBG (Creative Artists Agency - Global Brand Groups) when her company was acquired. She also developed Influencer Data Mapping™, a proprietary advertising marketing solution to drive ROI (return on influence).

Kendra hosts Business of the Beat podcast that sheds light on the business of beauty through the eyes of BIPOC founders, senior executives, influencers, and operators who are in the process of starting, growing, and scaling their businesses. With a focus on empowering and inspiring diverse leaders in the beauty and wellness industry, this podcast features over 170 episodes, and season four is now underway. Each episode uncovers key takeaways and behind-the-scenes stories of entrepreneurs, highlighting the beauty of their success.

Kendra’s first book, The Beauty of Success: Start, Grow and Accelerate Your Brand was released on February 13, 2024 and was named the #1 New Release in Business Entrepreneurship on Amazon.

As much as she does, she also gives. A noted philanthropist, mentor and advisor, Kendra has received numerous awards and has an endowment at her alma mater, Purdue University for a female student of need in the School of Liberal Arts.

Passion

Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneurship, Leadership, Motivation, Brand Development, Brand Marketing, Brand Strategy, Women in Business, Influencer Marketing, Investing, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Corporate Leadership, Self Help.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions

Topics

diversity and inclusion social media marketing social media tools and tips thought leadership womens leadership women entrepreneurship women in business author self help motivational speaker how to start your own business corporate innovation climbing the corporate ladder entrepreneurship venture capital los angeles shoptalk 2024 best selling author on amazon business strategy business development small business ownership intrapreneurship intrapreneurship entrepreneurship understanding the beauty of change pivot in your career empowering women the power of faith the power of diversity brand management the importance of branding in a noisy world personal brand building brand building building a professional brand online brand yourself brand strategy marketplaces and social commerce influencer marketing influencer branding influencers content marketing diversity innovation in beauty health wellness

Best Story

Moving from West Lafayette, IN to New York City with two weeks notice and living with the nuns in order to start my first job.

Leaving my dream job at Ralph Lauren to start my first company.

Becoming one of the first 100 Black women to raise more than $1MM for my startup.

Selling my company to CAA-GBG (Creative Artist Agency - Global Brand Groups) and buying it back.

The leap of faith to start a venture fund without experience in finance.

Writing my first book based on a letter my mom wrote me in 2018.

Creating the social media footprint for Ralph Lauren’s fashion empire as the first director of Digital Media.

Becoming the youngest Vice President at Fleishman Hillard New York - one of the largest PR Agencies in the World.

Origin Story

Born in Germany, growing up in Texas and beginning adult hood in New York, Kendra has made it a business practice to build data-first businesses around niche influencers and talent primarily focused on lifestyle, beauty, and wellness. Kendra was credited with launching the first mobile music studio licensing and rev share deal between unsigned bands, Cingular Wireless, and Myspace in 2003 and has continued to build revenue-generating brand partnerships and opportunities ever since.

Before starting her journey as an Entrepreneur, Kendra helped create the social media footprint for fashion behemoth, Ralph Lauren, where she was the company’s first Director of Digital Media. Kendra's work during and since her time at Ralph Lauren was informed by her years as Vice President of Digital at Fleishman-Hillard, New York, where she led the digital consumer team in developing social media strategies for clients including AT&T, DKNY, and P&G.

Allowing her mantra, “Carpe Diem” to guide her, in 2010 Kendra took a leap of faith and along with Karen Robinovitz created Digital Brand Architects (DBA), the first blogger management agency evolving into a global company that upon exit to UTA in 2019, had a collective reach of 200 million. Post DBA, Kendra founded BrainTrust, a social media, and brand development agency that drove the digital brand strategy and online media presence for talent and global brands such as Halle Berry, Kelly Ripa Home, Dear Drew by Drew Barrymore, Revelations Entertainment, Sally Beauty, Under Armour and many more before merging the agency into CAA-GBG (Creative Artists Agency and Global Brands Group Holding Limited), the largest brand management agency in the world, becoming their first Chief Digital Officer to drive monetizable commercialization strategies for brands and talent. After CAA-GBG, Kendra created a strategic partnership for BrainTrust with Beautycon, the fastest-growing, immersive beauty experiential company in the world. After a long-standing relationship as Halle Berry’s Business Partner, the two launched rē•spin, Halle’s new health and wellness brand in 2020.

In carrying the legacy of BrainTrust, Kendra founded BrainTrust Founders Studio in 2021, now the largest membership-based platform designed for diverse founders of beauty and wellness companies that has not only changed the face of beauty but also empowered overlooked business owners to enter the room and sit at the tables of capital and wealth generation. She also is a General Partner in the adjacent BrainTrust Fund I, dedicated to investing in breakthrough beauty and wellness brands.

Kendra hosts Business of the Beat podcast that sheds light on the business of beauty through the eyes of BIPOC founders, senior executives, influencers, and operators who are in the process of starting, growing, and scaling their businesses. With a focus on empowering and inspiring diverse leaders in the beauty and wellness industry, this podcast features over 170 episodes, and season four is now underway. Each episode uncovers key takeaways and behind-the-scenes stories of entrepreneurs, highlighting the beauty of their success.

Kendra’s first book, The Beauty of Success: Start, Grow and Accelerate Your Brand was released on February 13, 2024 and was named the #1 New Release in Business Entrepreneurship on Amazon.

As much as she does, she also gives. A noted philanthropist, mentor and advisor, Kendra has received numerous awards and has an endowment at her alma mater, Purdue University for a female student of need in the School of Liberal Arts.

Example talks

Owning Your Narrative: Building a Personal Brand Around Your Voice

To illustrate how creators can discover and cultivate their creative voice and passions in the current oversaturated creator economy.

The Beauty of Success: Innovation, Empowerment and the Power of the Pivot

Join Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, author & 3x founder, and Sapna Shah Parikh, CDO at Kendo Brands, as they discuss navigating a career centered on innovation, empowerment and the power of the pivot through excerpts from Kendra's new book, The Beauty of Success: Start, Grow and Accelerate Your Brand.

In My Own Lane: Honing & Owning Your Voice”

“The path to success is believing in your value, your importance, and your worth, meaning you need to stand in your power.” Kendra Bracken-Ferguson will take a deep dive into defining, claiming and owning your power. Pulling from her new book, The Beauty of Success: Start, Grow and Accelerate Your Brand, she’ll provide a blueprint to unlock your own innate powers, the importance of self-actualization, and how to lean into the right opportunities to build a community that supports your greatness. Standing in Your Power will be one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur and leader.

Succeeding with Social Commerce and Creators

Nearly 5 billion people—more than half of the world’s population—use social media, with commerce on these platforms expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2025. With the creator economy alone expected to reach $75 billion in 2024, the opportunity for retailers and brands to engage customers through creator-led content is massive, though also fraught with challenges and risk. In this session, three retail and brand leaders will share how they’ve amassed digital audiences and won over business on social media platforms, both directly and via creator partnerships. They'll also share which platforms have been most impactful for generating social commerce sales.

COMMUNITY & COUNSEL: Building Your Brain Trust

“Happiness is amplified and heightened when we have a community, or brain trust, of people we trust to go through the good times and the bad times in business.” Kendra Bracken-Ferguson will take a deep dive into how creating your own unique brain trust will help support and champion you to recognize your gifts and your value and ultimately remind us of the beauty of our success. Pulling from her new book, The Beauty of Success: Start, Grow and Accelerate Your Brand, she’ll provide real world examples that detail how building your own brain trust will be one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur and leader.