Hi everyone, welcome to Dallas Startup Week 2020. This is the schedule for all of the panels, keynotes, showcases, and special events that will take place during DSW20. Go ahead and browse the sessions and speakers and start building your schedule.

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avatar for Mahisha Dellinger

Mahisha Dellinger

Curls Beauty Brands
Founder and CEO

“Self-made” doesn’t even begin to describe Mahisha Dellinger. The founder and CEO of CURLS Beauty Brands, one of the foremost black hair care brands in North America, author of the memoir “Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse” and star of “Mind Your Business with Mahisha” on the OWN network, had to overcome a deck so stacked against her it included drive-by, drug-gang shootings of her Sacramento-area childhood home. Though raised in poverty by her single mom, Dellinger was able to dig deep, stay open and hang on to the life lessons bestowed by her father, an engineer who came from a solidly successful family and modeled what was in store for Dellinger if she buckled down and worked hard. 

But not just hard - harder than anyone and everyone around her.

While putting herself through college at California State University Sacramento, Dellinger juggled her course load with an internship in the IT Marketing  department at Intel Corporation. Because of her willingness to roll up her sleeves and exceed her “job description” as an intern, Dellinger was quickly offered a temp position at the Fortune 500 computer software giant. While Dellinger learned so much at Intel about separating yourself from the pack through the sheer excellence of your work,, and was able to hone the self-discipline she’d displayed as a young “latchkey” kid preparing her own meals and getting herself back and forth to school each day, she also knew that she needed to own her destiny and became an entrepreneur. 

But once a planner, always a planner: the ever-practical Dellinger, by now a mother herself, side-hustled her idea for a high quality, organic and vegan hair care brand that nurtured textured curls that was gentle enough for her daughter to use. By day, she more than fulfilled her obligations at the notoriously rigorous, competitive Intel. But in every other available hour, she met with cosmetic chemists, web developers and R&D specialists who helped her define and refine her industry-first formulas. In the spring of 2002, she flipped the switch on Curls.biz, and an ecommerce business was born.

For the next six years, Dellinger and her team added to the product lineup, and expanded into the salon channel of distribution. Clearly, she had tapped an unmet need; women of color were so eager to leave the harsh chemical relaxers behind and embrace their natural texture that CURLS Beauty Brands has literally never been in the red. When Dellinger was approached by Target to help the massive retailer address the new natural direction in ethnic hair, her company’s growth skyrocketed. And today, In addition to its substantial salon business, Curls Beauty Brands – which now encompasses products for the entire family - is in every major retailer, from “big box” stores like Walmart to Bed, Bath & Beyond and CVS.

Since launch, Dellinger has created an inspiring presence in the beauty industry. CURLS Beauty Brands has received multiple editorial accolades including an Allure Best of Beauty award, Essence Best in Black Beauty award and many more. Over the last 18 years, CURLS Beauty Brands has become a go-to hair brand for some of the Hollywood’s top celebrities including Halle Berry, Yara Shahidi and Zendaya. An inspiration to women everywhere, from all walks of life and of every ethnicity, Dellinger is also frequently tapped as a keynote speaker at various industry conferences around the country.

My Speakers Sessions

Tuesday, September 1

11:30am CDT

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