Carnegie Mellon Press Release: April 23, 2004
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Press Release

Teresa Thomas

For immediate release:
April 23, 2004

Soft Sheen-Carson President, University Alumna Candace Matthews To Give Keynote Address at Carnegie Mellon Commencement

PITTSBURGH—Candace Sheffield Matthews, president of the Soft Sheen-Carson division of L'Oréal and an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University, will be the keynote speaker for the university's 107th commencement at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 16, in Gesling Stadium on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

"It's particularly gratifying to have an alumna of Candace Matthews' stature as our commencement speaker. During their four years at Carnegie Mellon, our students are encouraged to develop strong analytical skills and to think outside the box when they solve big and small problems. Candace's meteoric rise outside her area of technical education is a testament to her own creativity and hard work and, we also hope, to the skill set she received as a student here. We are pleased and proud to have her speak at our commencement," said Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon.

Matthews' successful marketing career has gone far beyond her original undergraduate work in metallurgical science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon, where she graduated in 1981.

After graduation, Matthews earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and went on to hold senior marketing positions at General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision Corporation and The Coca-Cola Company. She was managing director of non-cola brands and vice president of new products and package innovation for Coca-Cola.

From Coca-Cola, Matthews joined L'Oréal USA, which acquired Soft Sheen Products Inc. in 1998 and Carson Products in 1999. The two companies merged in August 2000 to become Soft Sheen-Carson, L'Oréal's worldwide headquarters for hair-care products for people of African descent.

Matthews took the helm as president of Soft Sheen-Carson in 2001 and, realizing the significant growth opportunities in the ethnic hair-care market, made innovation and technology her top priorities for the company.

She has been featured in Black Enterprise, Essence, Glamour and Jet magazines. In 2003, Matthews received a Carnegie Mellon Alumni Merit Award. The citation for that award said Matthews' "diligence, passion for the beauty care business and dedication to the African American community, combined with her commitment to constant innovation qualify her as one of today's most powerful female corporate leaders." In 2003, she also received the Clark Atlanta University Spirit Award.

Matthews serves on the Board of Trustees for Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford School of Business Advisory Council and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

A native of New Brighton, Pa., and the youngest of 18 children, Matthews currently resides in Crete, Ill., with her husband, Bruce, and twin daughters, Sydney and Simone.


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