From C Student to Award-Winning CEO: Felecia Hatcher’s Story of Grit and Guts

By Duchess Magazine

Felecia Hatcher did not just build a successful career, spearheading experiential marketing, product launch and social media campaigns for global-big tech companies from the back of a silver truck. She is what you point to when you try to paint a picture of grit and guts. No! Not just that – transformative power of grit, innovation, and a no-stopping-me commitment to her vision. From overcoming the challenges of academia to becoming the CEO of Pharrell Williams’s Black Ambition Opportunity Fund, Hatcher’s journey is a compelling narrative of resilience and success.

Hatcher’s trajectory began as a “C” student in high school, defying the expectations set by conventional academic standards. Despite discouraging advice from her guidance counselor, who claimed she wouldn’t make it to college, Hatcher secured over $130,000 in scholarships through creative means. This marked the inception of her entrepreneurial spirit, leading her to establish Urban Excellence while still a freshman at Lynn University.

Hatcher’s early departure from college did not hinder her success. Instead, it propelled her into a successful career in corporate America, where she orchestrated experiential marketing, product launches, and social media campaigns for tech giants like Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Little Debbie. Her roles as the front office marketing manager for the NBA’s Minnesota Lynx/Timberwolves and as an experiential marketing/brand manager for Sony and Nintendo further solidified her prowess in the field.

In a quirky turn of events, Hatcher’s entrepreneurial journey took a sweet twist when she founded Feverish Ice Cream. Starting as a popsicle and ice cream catering business in 2008, the venture gained major traction, securing partnerships with notable brands like Google, Airbnb, and Whole Foods. Despite a challenging economic climate, the company thrived and eventually expanded to include a retail store and large-scale manufacturing facility.

Felecia Hatcher’s commitment to fostering inclusive innovation ecosystems is evident in her co-founding of Black Tech Week and The Center for Black Innovation. Recognized as a 2014 Obama White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Hatcher’s transformative work extends to her role as the CEO of Pharrell Williams’s Black Ambition Opportunity Fund.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Hatcher is an accomplished author with five books to her name. Titles like “The ‘C’ Student’s Guide to Scholarships” and “Focused Strategic Action Planner” reflect her dedication to empowering others with practical knowledge. As a sought-after speaker and advisor to startups and major tech companies, including Amazon and Spotify, Hatcher shares her insights on personal transformation and inclusive innovation on a global stage.

Felecia Hatcher’s impact on innovation and entrepreneurship has garnered numerous accolades, including being named in Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2021. Her legacy includes the creation of Code Fever, which taught teens and parents about technology, and PopPreneurs, a youth entrepreneurship program.

As Hatcher continues her work, she envisions a future where Black and Latinx founders no longer need to fight for equitable funding. Her efforts with Pharrell Williams’s organization, which has invested in 34 companies raising over $50 million, speak to the tangible impact she aims to make.

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