Raquel Graham, Founder & CEO, Roq Innovation

Serial entrepreneur, inventor, innovation maven, perpetual problem solver, and accomplished marketing executive Raquel Graham has an unwavering commitment to helping people make their lives better. This passion has inspired her inventions, propelled her award-winning entrepreneurial journey, and fueled her resilience and tenacity in the face of adversity. 

A highly sought-after marketing strategist, Raquel founded ROQ Marketing Group to deliver marketing solutions to corporations seeking to elevate and expand their brands. For over 17 years, she led strategy, media production, and content management solutions for editorial, consumer, and philanthropic clients such as international brands McDonald's and Honey Can Do. 

Raquel played a pivotal role in expanding the reach of the iconic Ebony magazine, where she served as vice president and national marketing director for seven years. In this role, she established strategic partnerships with multinational corporations including the National Football League, Anheuser-Busch, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler, and Clorox, which boosted advertising revenues. 

After helping corporations elevate their brands for more than 25 years, Raquel established her own product development company, ROQ Innovation. Inspired by her own life journey, Raquel creates custom-made products that solve everyday problems, making people’s lives easier and more fulfilling. Two of Raquel’s innovations, NEKZ® (a scarf alternative) and HEADLIGHTZ™ (a rechargeable beanie that provides hands-free LED lighting for outdoor activities) sold out during her appearances on HSN (Home Shopping Network). She now has multiple products on the network, fulfilling her dream to “invent products that sell on a TV shopping channel and make money while she sleeps”. Raquel has been featured multiple times on ABC’s The View, Good Morning America, in Forbes and Entrepreneur magazine, twice on Oprah Magazine’s “The O List” and three consecutive years on Oprah’s Favorite Things List. She recently appeared in Shark Tank (receiving an investment from two sharks) and gave a TEDx talk at her alma mater Wesleyan University on “The Business of Resilience”.

A well-respected businesswoman, Raquel has been recognized not only for her astute business acumen, but her desire to help underrepresented entrepreneurs succeed as well. She received the 2022 Minority Supplier of the Year award from the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council. Through a partnership with Girls Inc. of Chicago, she mentors African-American girls and teaches them about product development and marketing. In addition to serving on the advisory board for National Louis University's MS Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship Program, she is also a founding board member of the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute at DePaul University.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Raquel moved to Chicago to pursue a marketing career. She earned an Executive MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in economics from Wesleyan University. Raquel is a proud mom of two children who fuel her creativity and innovation, inspire her work ethic, and bring her life’s greatest joy.

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