Founder, CEO and president of Nia Enterprises L.L.C., Cheryl Mayberry McKissack was born on June 24, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Born the middle child and only girl to Thelma and Donald Mayberry, McKissack attended Seattle’s Dunlap Elementary School and graduated from Franklin High School. She went on to earn her B.S. degree in political science in two and a half years from Seattle University in 1976.
After graduating from Seattle University, McKissack began a career with the IBM Corporation as a sales and marketing executive. While fulfilling her duties at IBM, McKissack decided to continue her education by enrolling at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. After graduating with her M.B.A in 1989, McKissack became the Western Area Branch Manager for the IBM Corporation in San Francisco, California, where she served until 1992. Afterwards, McKissack became Vice President of Sales and a founding member of the Network Systems Division at 3Com. In 1997, she served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Open Port Technologies, Inc.
In 2000, McKissack founded Nia Enterprises L.L.C., a Chicago based marketing data solutions firm designed to provide companies with direct access to the consumer habits of African American families, particularly focusing on African American women. Nia Enterprises L.L.C. functions through various outlets including NiaOnline and Nia Access. McKissack has been featured in several publications and is the co-editor of a series of books including The Nia Guide For Black Women: Balancing Work and Life and The Nia Guide For Black Women: Achieving Career Success On Your Terms. McKissack has been recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements and has received many honors including the Marketing Opportunities in Business and Entertainment’s (MOBE) “Influencers and Innovators of the Internet and Technology” Award and the Chicago United People of Color Leadership Award. In 2006, she was named by The Network Journal as one of the 25 Influential Top Women, and in 2007, McKissack was awarded the State Farm Phenomenal Woman Award-Business Entrepreneur.
McKissack and her husband, Eric, live in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo courtesy of Victor Powell