Roderick D. Chappell
CEO – Executive Director – HBCU Direct, LLC/Grassroots Promotions, LLC Team Lead
MSI Strategic Partnerships – NASA Langley Research Center
Roderick “Rod” Chappell is leading a team to develop a Center of Excellence (COE) at NASA Langley Research Center that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The COE will support capacity building at institutions engaged in S.T.E.M. progam development preparing the next generation of innovators. The key product is a repository of MSI data featuring capture management, information sharing and match making.
Chappell is a 20+ year veteran and entreprenuer in the marketing, promotions and communications arena. In 2001, he revolutionized the promotions marketplace by forming Grassroots Promotions (GP), a full- service marketing strategy firm specializing in targeted events and promotions. The first of its kind specializing in the African-American and Hispanic consumer marketplace, GP is designed to be the link between managers of corporations and grassroots-level marketing programs in the urban community.
In 2002, GP partnered with Black Entertainment Television (BET) to launch the multiple award-winning BET Black College Tour creating awareness for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to international audiences for 13 years. The Tour touched over 100,000 HBCU students annually. Under
Chappell’s leadership, GP handled all aspects of the events including business development, securing and managing corporate partners, managing budgets, securing talent, hiring staff, securing venues and relationship development. Chappell was the recipient of P&G's 1st Multi-Cultural Pioneer Award in 2007.
In 2010, Chappell went deeper into the world of Historically Black Colleges & Universities to launch an affiliate agency, HBCU Direct, LLC (HD). The mission of HD is to aggregate the buying power of all HBCU's to increase revenues and/or reduce costs while providing career advancement opportunities. HD offers services that meet the unique marketing needs of HBCUs.
For over seven years, Chappell has connected corporations and government agencies with HBCU's to help institutions reach their desired goals. Since 2010, HD has helped Morehouse College, Tennessee State, Virginia State, Alabama A&M, Clark Atlanta, Norfolk State and Prairie View A&M with successful homecoming events. In 2011, HD formed a strategic partnership with Savannah Solar International to train future S.T.E.M. professionals in the worlds of solar and renewable energy. In 2013, HD launched internet television platform, HBCU Stream, focused on content from the HBCU community. Since 2014, HD has supported the advancement of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) through identification and management of federal contracts. Chappell recently founded the HBCU Startup Labs to support the development of new technology enterprises from multiple HBCU campuses.
Key corporate programs targeting African-American and Hispanic consumers (including HBCU students and alumni) and assets owned, managed and/or deployed by Chappell include:
- BET Black College Tour (HBCU Tour)
- Total You Tour (African-American health and wellness tour)
- Totalmente Latina Tour (Hispanic health and wellness tour)
- Hoops-N-Hip Hop Tour (HBCU Tour - Hip-hop music meets basketball)
- Ebony Black Family Reunion Tour (African-American family festival)
- Futbol y Musica (Hispanic family festival)
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Chappell worked as Senior Vice President of Client Development for IMG Host Communications, a Lexington-based sports and events marketing company that managed the State Farm Bayou Classic. Chappell also served as a marketing manager for Pert Plus at Procter & Gamble (P&G) on sports and multicultral initiatives. Prior to P&G, he was a Senior Consultant for Accenture.
Chappell is a Master of Business Graduate of the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts graduate of Morehouse College, Department of Business. Chappell travels the nation as guest speaker for various business workshops and conferences, speaking about a principle he founded entitled “In Your Place Marketing.” He currently serves as a consultant and advisor for many current and future CEO’s. He is also penning a book entitled "HBCU CEO: Purpose To Profit."