"Women Entrepreneurs - The Secrets of Success" for Thursday, July 29th

Selena Cuffe

Selena Cuffe is the President and CEO of Heritage Link Brands, LLC, the first and largest U.S. company dedicated to importing and distributing wine produced by indigenous Africans and those of African descent. The wines have been featured by media outlets including TIME, O Magazine, PBS and the Today Show and have won industry accolades from the International Wine Challenge, Decanter Magazine and Wine Spectator, among others. Customers include household names such as Whole Foods, Disney, Sam’s Club and United Airlines, and the wine can be found in stores in 41 states.

The true birth of Heritage Link Brands occurred on an unrelated business trip to South Africa in 2005, when Selena discovered that out of South Africa’s $3 billion wine industry, less than two percent was owned by blacks. Seeing the inequality – blacks make up over 80 percent of the country’s population – she founded Heritage Link Brands shortly thereafter.

Prior to starting her own business, Selena worked as an Account Executive for United Airlines and as a Business Development Manager for United.com. During her tenures at the airline and its website, her main responsibilities were the promotion and launch of new routes and negotiating strategic online initiatives with Microsoft, Starwood and Orbitz. She received her marketing training from the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, OH, where she served as Assistant Brand Manager for the Pringles brand and was a key figure in the development and execution of marketing plans in the Latin American countries of Brazil and Mexico. In her last job before founding Heritage Link Brands, Selena served as the Director of Marketing for the Council on International Educational Exchange, overseeing the promotion of student and work exchanges for over 50,000 people worldwide.

Selena graduated with an AB in International Relations from Stanford University and holds a Master of Business Administration, with honors, from the Harvard Business School. She is also certified, with merit, by the UK-based Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) and is a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. A mother of two, she works alongside her husband, Khary, the CFO of Heritage Link Brands.

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