The 2023 San Francisco Business Times “40 Under 40” list dropped and among the many talented young professionals is Academy of Art University college for Advertising graduate, and Black Joy Parade Founder and CEO, Elisha Greenwell.
Elisha was born and raised in Northern California in a beautifully diverse home. Her mother is Japanese and Hawaiian Portuguese and her father is Black American, and as a result she grew up with a rich, dynamic culture, surrounded by family, friends, and community.
Education and the opportunities that come along with it have always been at the forefront of Elisha’s values. Her parents and paternal grandparents graduated from college and maintained the same high level of expectations and believed in her ability to succeed.
Joy in Advertising
Elisha graduated from Academy of Art University in 2007 with an MFA degree in Advertising. The skills she learned in her two years at the Academy’s college for advertising provided her with the knowledge to create socially impactful brand strategies for monumental brands like Target, Starbucks, MasterClass, Nike, and most recently Apple.
Although she has worked for some big-name companies, her passion project is Black Joy Parade, a non-profit based in Oakland, CA, that celebrates the Black experience, the community’s contribution to history and culture, and advocates for racial justice and equity.
Bringing Joy to the Black Community
Since 2018, the signature hyper-positive parade has quickly become a beloved tradition in the Bay Area. Performers wear colorful costumes and wave flags representing their heritage. Vendors from Black-owned businesses sell their products and services and showcase Black entrepreneurship and creativity. The Black Joy Parade is a beacon of hope and resilience; a reminder that joy and community are always within reach.
Through her bright positive energy, Elisha has been able to channel the same unwavering optimism into her organization and those who work alongside her. She is praised as a coach and mentor, celebrated for her impact on the Black community, and recognized for her brilliance, her skillset, and her sacrifice to raising up and empowering others.