Stepping into the White House for a visit isn’t necessarily uncommon, but what is unique is being invited to the White House by Vice President Kamala Harris. That is exactly what happened to Greg Bailey ’11, a moment he believes may have never happened without the experience he had at Methodist University.
To understand how the opportunity of a lifetime came about, one must take a step back and understand Bailey’s rise to the president’s house.
Bailey grew up in the greater Boston area, raised by his parents who immigrated from Liberia. He developed a fiery passion for track and field, which was a major factor in his decision to move to Fayetteville and attend Methodist University.
As a Monarch, Bailey qualified for NCAA Championship events each season and earned All-American honors his sophomore and junior seasons. He also holds three MU track and field records: indoor 200m, outdoor 200m, and the 4x100m relay.
“The professors were great at relating what they were teaching to their time in the industry, which helped me tremendously. It attracted me to understanding more about management organization, how business works, law in business, you name it,” he said.
Bailey also values the relationships that he built with fellow alumni – still meeting with other MU graduates from time to time in various cities.
He later earned his Master of Business Administration at Southern New Hampshire University and now works as a senior contract manager for the United States Air Force while living in Nashua, New Hampshire. But it doesn’t take long to figure out one of Bailey’s most significant passion projects – Krio Skincare.
In December 2019, Bailey’s longtime friend Tony Johnson pitched the idea of the two of them creating a plant-based, all-body skincare business. Bailey jumped on board, and it has been full steam ahead for the two of them ever since, with Krio Skincare offering hair oil, face mist, body butter, and much more.
“We honestly started out with having no idea of what we were getting into with creating the product in our own kitchens to make it work,” Bailey laughed. “But now, we have a following… We originally targeted men for our skincare products but found out women like our products as well, so we’re really growing.”
Fortunately, the two now have a small facility that manages the packing process for their products. But Bailey and Johnson still have the responsibility of running the entire business, which includes sales, marketing, business operations, and everything in between – all while maintaining his full-time job and prioritizing his wife, Kristen, and 4-year-old daughter, Leyland.
Then, in May, the duo received an email from a place they will never forget – the White House.
“It was completely out of the blue; we had to make sure it wasn’t a scam at first,” Bailey added.
It turns out the White House had their eyes on Bailey and Johnson and wanted them to participate in a small business roundtable at the White House with Vice President Harris and three dozen other men of color to discuss ways the administration could support minority entrepreneurs. Bailey and Johnson had only a few days to plan and make the trip to D.C.
“We had a chance to listen to the challenges other businesses have while thinking through ways to fix some issues. It was also an opportunity to network with other business leaders,” he said. “But I’m just happy my parents get to say their son was in a White House meeting with the vice president. For them to move to this country and see their son have that opportunity, I’m never going to forget that.”
It was not a one-time stint either, as the pair have been invited to participate in other roundtable discussions at the White House.
Bailey is quick to credit Methodist University for his growth and development as a lifelong Monarch.
“My experience at Methodist University helped shape me,” he said. “I have lifelong friends, lifelong memories, and a lot of accomplishments. I may have not known right away why I was supposed to attend MU, but as a result of my education there, I’m able to do other things… like go to the White House.”