President Unilever USA, CEO Personal Care North America

Esi Eggleston Bracey is a transformational beauty leader with decades of executive experience in the CPG and beauty industries where she has created meaningful business impact through purpose driven leadership and initiatives. Esi is President of Unilever’s US business and oversees Unilever’s Personal Care portfolio in North America, which includes iconic brands such as Dove, Degree, and Axe among others.

Esi previously served as EVP and COO of the Beauty and Personal Care business in North America where she lead the $5B Beauty & Personal Care portfolio for Unilever North America which included responsibility for the Hair, Skin Cleansing, Skin Care and Deodorant businesses with iconic brands like Dove, TRESemmé, Suave, Vaseline, Degree, Axe, and Shea Moisture. A believer that business can be a force for good, Esi led efforts to make Unilever the company that makes the most impact on people, communities, and the planet. These efforts include Dove’s founding of the CROWN (Creating and Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Coalition to help foster beauty inclusivity and to eradicate hair discrimination through support of the CROWN Act legislation and champion for Shea Moisture’s work with the New Voices Fund for Women of Color Entrepreneurs. She led these brands and her team powerfully through the COVID pandemic, unlocking unprecedented growth (record H1 performance) and marketplace impact and continues to lead these efforts.

Prior to joining Unilever, Esi spent more than 15 years as a leader in the dynamic global cosmetics industry. She held the position of President of Coty’s Global Consumer Beauty Division and Senior Vice President of Procter & Gamble’s Global Cosmetics leading a portfolio of flagship international make-up brands including COVERGIRL, Max Factor, Sally Hansen, Rimmel London, Bourjois, and more.

An energetic and dynamic leader known for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, she is consistently recognized for her ability to guide organizations through brand-building excellence, agility, and operational discipline in light of competitive pressure and a rapidly evolving marketplace.  Earlier in her career she led COVERGIRL’s pioneering work to diversify the face of beauty with disruptive ‘real beauty’ talent such as Queen Latifah, Pink, Ellen, and Janelle Monae. Outside of work, Esi has co-founded CauseWeCare to help keep our communities safe in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Esi has been recognized with numerous awards including Ad Color Legend Award, BE Powerful Women in Business, Ebony Power 100, BET Butterfly Award, Cosmetics Executive Women Achievers Awards, Advertising Age Women to Watch, Women Wear Daily Marketer of the Year, and many more.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Esi graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering Sciences. Esi is married to her husband Des for 17 years and has two children (17-year-old daughter, Anura, and 13-year-old son Benoit). She currently lives with her family in New York City.

Presenting the Matrix Award to Esi Eggleston Bracey


Founder and CEO of House of Joy

Kelli Richardson Lawson’s extraordinary journey as an Emmy Award-winning creative visionary and entrepreneurial business leader spans decades of groundbreaking accomplishments and unwavering commitment to driving change. Her lifelong dedication to championing transformative causes, impacting lives, and investing in the Black community has solidified her as an influential force in the industry.

At the heart of Kelli’s transformative journey lies her dedication to family values, joy, and empowerment. Through her leadership as the Founder and CEO of The House of JOY (formerly JOY Collective), a Black and woman-owned cultural insights, marketing, and creative agency, she has driven breakthrough work for renowned brands such as Dove, BET, OWN, Disney, AARP, and more. Kelli’s out-of-the-box thinking, innovative strategies, and relentless pursuit of positive change have reshaped industry standards and paved the way for greater diversity and inclusivity.

Kelli’s illustrious career began at Procter & Gamble (P&G), where she excelled in roles focused on billion-dollar brands within the packaged soap and mass fragrance divisions. Her contributions showcased her exceptional marketing acumen and set the stage for her remarkable future. Kelli’s career took a transformative turn when she joined BET. With strategic prowess and innovative thinking, she built the first comprehensive marketing organization, comprising seven divisions, from a team of one. Her award-winning creative campaigns drove record ratings and elevated the network to new heights. As the creator of the Emmy-Award winning Rap-It-Up HIV/AIDS program, Kelli brought crucial awareness and resources to communities, while her leadership extended to overseeing all marketing, PR, and event-related elements of BET’s iconic tentpole events. Her remarkable influence garnered prestigious awards, including BET’s first-ever Emmy and recognition from esteemed organizations such as Telly, Promax, BDA, NAMIC, CTAM, CTPAA, ANA, and NAACP Image Awards.

As one of the co-creators and architects of The CROWN Movement, she has played an instrumental role in creating an impactful initiative focused on ending race-based hair discrimination. This transformative movement has changed the lives of over 30 million individuals in 23 states and 50 municipalities, challenging societal norms and celebrating the beauty and diversity of all hair types. Kelli’s dedication to inclusivity and empowerment has made a lasting impact, paving the way for a more accepting and inclusive society. Driven by her passion for supporting families facing mental wellness and addiction issues, Kelli founded The SonRise Project. This NAACP Image-Award nominated non-profit organization serves as a beacon of hope, providing essential resources and support to those in need. Kelli’s visionary leadership has created a compassionate community where individuals and families can find solace, inspiration, and strength. Through The SonRise Project, Kelli hosts weekly “live” calls, fostering understanding, compassion, and vulnerability as parents come together to share experiences and uplift one another. This life-changing initiative has become a lifeline for many, shining a light on mental health and addiction issues within the Black community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelli led The Ad Council’s impactful vaccine education campaign, aimed at driving action and increasing vaccination rates within the Black community. Her strategic guidance and visionary leadership played a critical role in dispelling myths, addressing concerns, and promoting vaccine confidence. Through innovative communication strategies, Kelli effectively conveyed the importance of vaccination, saving lives and contributing to community resilience during these challenging times. Kelli Richardson Lawson’s exceptional contributions have been widely recognized, earning her a place on the prestigious EBONY Power 100 list. Her honors include the 2023 Anthem Award for The Ad Council’s “Tuskegee Legacy” COVID-19 vaccine education campaign, the 2022 Black Women’s Agenda Award for The CROWN Movement, the 2022 Links Presidential Impact Award, ‘Women en Blanc’ Impact Award, 10 MARCOM Awards, multiple PR Week Awards, the 2021 NBCSL Nation Builder Award, and a “Hall of Femme Award” by PR Week. Additionally, she and her team have received countless “Campaign of the Year” awards, including the highly coveted Global SABRE Award for the “#1 PR Campaign in the World,” along with REGGIE and ANA Awards for their exceptional campaigns.

Kelli Richardson Lawson’s remarkable journey is characterized by her tireless dedication, transformative initiatives, and unyielding commitment to empowering others. She has left an indelible mark on the industry and the lives of those she has touched. Her visionary leadership, coupled with her passion for social impact, continues to inspire change and uplift communities, fostering a brighter and more inclusive future for all.