Chris Rock's "Rival Troop Mom" Linda Spradley Dunn talks Business & Diversity


Do you remember Chris Rock's Girl Scouts cookie stunt at the Oscars this year when he begged the audience to buy cookies on behalf of his daughter just to beat a rival troop mother? During the Hollywood telecast, Rock said, "It would mean so much to my little girl if we could beat Linda Dunn!" People finally got a taste of how real and cutthroat the competition is during Girl Scout cookie season. Rock ended up selling $65,000 worth of cookies finally out-doing his daughter's competition. The "troop mom" that Rock name checked was in fact Linda Spradley Dunn, a very well-connected former IBM exec and entrepreneur. Dunn was as surprised as everyone else tuning in when she watched the Oscars but she was far from upset as people might have thought. She is friends with Rock and his estranged wife Malaak. One of Rock's daughters is now in Dunn's Troop.


"It's "all friendly rivalry and with 90 million people watching the Oscars you can't buy that type of publicity," Dunn said. The savvy entrepreneur understands business at all levels. She is a hardworking visionary who has been able to succeed because of her innate business skills and positive attitude. The unexpected Oscars shout-out actually revealed how dedicated Dunn is even when it's only concerning her daughter's Girl Scout Cookies.

Dunn is a strategist and owner of Odyssey media, a marketing and communication company focused on connecting and empowering influential multi-cultural women. She has been applying her intuitive business skills for over seventeen years. When corporate brands were largely ignoring affluent Black women she decided she was going to change this. Dunn created the Odyssey Network Business Retreat, an invitation/referral-only event that attracts 500 multicultural senior-level professional women each year. She convinced companies like Coca-Cola, Intel, Mars, Walmart and AARP to understand the worth of her group's marketing power and value and they paid attention.

Dunn is one of the few African- American entrepreneurs who can secure hundreds of thousands in corporate dollars for her programs without being a celebrity, a millennial, or having an Instagram account with millions of followers. She is currently holding her annual Odyssey Retreat running through May 31 - June 3rd at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island in Florida. The retreat will feature Gladys Knight, Diahann Carroll, Dr. Mae Jemison and Yara Shahidi. It allows moms and entrepreneurs who may not be mothers to learn, connect, relax and get tips on how to balance work and a personal life. Odyssey Media, also produces the "In the Black Tour" sponsored by Coca-Cola. Check out Dunn's Q and A with Abesi Manyando below.

What is the purpose of the retreat?

The purpose of the Odyssey Network Business Retreat is to provide a safe, trusted environment for affluent and influential multicultural women to network and relax amongst peers.

Why is it important for professional women and working moms to attend this retreat?

Everything at the Retreat is designed to take women out of their usual environment -- away from home, office, kids, social calendar -- and place them in a magical space where everything has been thought through, organized and arranged on their behalf. Women call our business retreat a pilgrimage and life-altering because it forces them to stop and focus on their entire being: career, health, finances, relationships and fun!

How does Odyssey help women balance their career life and home life?

We provide edgy, in-depth sessions and premier coaches/facilitators that understand the unique issues obstacles that successful, influential multicultural women face and the varied roles we play.

For entrepreneurs, mommys and executives wanting more information about the Odyssey retreat please visit Dunn's website.