Monique Greenwood is owner and CEO of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, a collection of upscale B&Bs in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; Cape May, NJ; and now a boutique resort and spa in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains. The former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine is passionate about economically empowering our communities and encouraging others to dream and live on purpose. Inspired by her grandfather’s entrepreneurial success – he founded Greenwood’s Transfer Moving and Storage Company in Washington, DC, a Black Enterprise magazine top 100 business in the ‘70s – Monique realized at a young age that very little can stop a person determined to succeed. Her own personal drive was evidenced by her magna cum laude graduation from Howard University and a business management certificate earned at Boston’s Simmons Graduate School of Business.
Monique’s early professional success was in magazine publishing at Fairchild Publications. Among her achievements there was the 1985 creation of Children's Business, a monthly trade magazine covering retail and fashion trends in the children's apparel and products industries. In 1996, she was recruited by Essence magazine to serve as both lifestyle director and style director. Two years later, she became the executive editor at Essence, managing the editorial operations of the country's leading publication for African-American women. By early 2000, Monique was promoted to editor-in-chief of Essence, succeeding iconic editor Susan Taylor and serving a monthly readership of nearly 2 million. Even while enjoying great success in publishing, Monique was also intent on developing her own business empire.
Opening her first bed and breakfast 20 years ago with the purchase of a mansion in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Monique and her husband then bought another nearby property to open a 72-seat restaurant called Akwaaba Café. Soon another large piece of real estate became available, and the couple purchased it to create a “Main Street in the middle of Urban America.” In April 2016, she was appointed the John H. Johnson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Howard University, where she fuels business startups and innovation campus- and community-wide through workshops, speaker series, mentoring and a number of collaborative initiatives staff and faculty at the venerable institution. Author of the best-selling books “Having What Matters: The Black Woman’s Guide to Creating the Life You Really Want” and “The Go On Girl Guide for Book Clubs,” Monique is married to Glenn Pogue and she considers their 25-year-old daughter Glynn Pogue to be her best work.