RAQUEL GRAHAM CRAYTON // CEO of ROQ INNOVATION & FOUNDER OF NEKZ™

As a sought-after veteran marketing strategist and consultant, Raquel Graham Crayton has a successful track record in marketing strategy, branding, partnerships and sponsorships and event management. Her enterprising business acumen, in combination with her dynamic and engaging communication skills, has made her the go-to person in the industry. Raquel is well respected by her colleagues as a tenacious player with action-oriented leadership style.

Raquel had a successful track record with helping corporate companies build their brands, but her biggest accomplishment was in creating her own - as an entrepreneur. In 2014, she started her own business, ROQ Innovation, a product innovation company that develops problems-solving solutions that aim to make life a little easier.   "We develop, solve and invent solutions daily to meet the needs of our families. I enjoy providing solutions to making anyone’s life a bit easier. We all need that.”

That year, she developed and launched NEKZ™, a scarf alternative that she created for her children since they refused to wear scarves.  The NEKZ™ line quickly expanded to include men and women.  It's biggest accomplishment to date - NEKZ™ will launch on Home Shopping Network in November 2016.  NEKZ™ was also selected as one of the top launches on The Grommet's product launch platform and can be found at 40 Top NCAA colleges in team colors.  Raquel was also a featured nominee on Martha Stewart's "American Made" which spotlights the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Prior to ROQ Innovation, Raquel to start her own marketing company, ROQ Marketing Group in 2009.  The company offered strategic marketing solutions to corporations looking to develop their reach and brand awareness.  She served as one of the executive producers of the 2010 McDonald’s 365Black Awards and aired on the TVOne network. Raquel was an integral player in winning the business and secured the initial media partnership to air the event nationwide. She also led all strategy - including media planning, digital strategy, creative development and event execution.  Occasionally she will offer her services to companies with unique marketing needs.  Last year, she produced 150 marketing videos for Honey Can Do - an international company that manufactures organization and storage solutions.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she moved to Chicago and joined Johnson Publishing Company where she served as vice president, national marketing director for seven years. In this role, she also facilitated multiple strategic partnerships that made a tremendous impact on advertising revenue. One of her most significant achievements was spearheading and negotiating EBONY’s first media partnership to expand the publication’s reach. Known for creating strategic alliances - she also forged partnerships for the publication with the NFL, Anheuser-Busch, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler and Clorox during her tenure.

In 2009, Raquel earned her MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management while working full-time and having her second baby. She also holds a B.A. in history with an economics minor from Wesleyan University.