Amy S. Hilliard
Amy Hilliard, a native Detroiter and honors graduate of both Howard University and the Harvard Business School, is the founder and CEO of The ComfortCake Company®, makers of “poundcake so good it feels like a hug!™” The Company also produces Sugarless Sweetness®, their proprietary sugar substitute for baking, as well as other baked goods and whole grain pizzas. Launched in 2001, ComfortCake® is distributed nationally through foodservice and retail channels and through their website (www.comfortcake.com). Customers have included United Airlines, 7-Eleven, Walgreen's, Jewel-Osco, Dominick's, Rush Medical Center and the Chicago Public Schools. The ComfortCake® Company is also an approved supplier to major QSR chains.
ComfortCake® has been featured on CNN, Fox, The Food Network, AOL, Home Shopping Network, Fortune, Black Enterprise, Essence and other national publications. After just two years in business, ComfortCake® was selected as the Emerging Minority Enterprise of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Company has since been honored by Jewel-Osco, Safeway and Chartwells-Thompson, a division of Compass Group.
Ms. Hilliard, was named a 2009 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United, was selected by The Clinton Foundation for their Entrepreneurship Mentor Program, and is a graduate of the Chicago Urban League’s nextONE program. Ms. Hilliard, the first African-American elected to the board of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade, currently sits on the Multi-Cultural Advisory Board of PepsiCo and was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of Howard University.
Amy Hilliard is a former senior marketing executive with leading Fortune 500 corporations and entrepreneurial firms including Bloomingdale’s, Gillette, Pillsbury, L’Oreal and Burrell Communications Group. Additionally, Ms. Hilliard owns The Hilliard Group, a strategic marketing consulting, product development and speaking firm.
A proud mother of two young adults, Ms. Hilliard is an internationally recognized speaker and author of “TAP INTO YOUR JUICE” – Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams, which has been endorsed by Michelle Obama.
A recognized social activist in the Chicago community, Ms. Hilliard established the HUGS Foundation in 2009 to further develop the entrepreneurial spirit in others through mentorship and scholarship programs. The mission of the HUGS Foundation is to inspire Humble, Unbelievable, Greatness and Success. Ms. Hilliard’s latest book, “POUNDING CAKE INTO A BUSINESS” will be released soon.
For twenty years Amy Hilliard's family and friends have raved about her gourmet, Southern-style poundcake, and now she's bringing them to you. Amy traces her love of cooking back to her paternal grandfather, James M. Hilliard, Sr., who was an Executive Chef.
During the 1920's, Grandfather Hilliard traveled by train throughout the South teaching newly minted chefs in kitchens of the great hotels how to cook excellent, premium quality food consistently. He fed a family of twelve children as an Executive Chef, and Amy is the proud owner of two of his prized carbon steel carving knives. He learned how to cook as a teen from his future wife Minnie's mother.
Also, two of Amy's great aunts on her mother's side, Aunt Blanche and Aunt Clem, were caterers in Chicago during the 1940's--women entrepreneurs way ahead of their time. Here is Aunt Blanche with Amy's great-grandmother, Eliza Smith, and her sister, great Auntie Noble.
Amy is the designated cook for her family's annual Thanksgiving gathering of over 30 relatives and friends. In 1999, after she made seven cakes in three days that were all devoured in minutes, she made the decision to share her prized dessert with poundcake lovers everywhere!