Student Profile or Feature

Meet Current Darden MBA Student and #girlboss, Kelly Bonilla

By Susannah Fuller-
meet-current-darden-mba-student-and-girlboss-kelly-bonilla

Class of 2020 Darden MBA student, Kelly Bonilla, a self-described “beauty tech entrepreneur and Latina from Miami,” recently took time to chat with us about her journey to Darden, her experience so far and her future plans. Check out Kelly’s answers below!

Fun Fact About Yourself:
Third generation entrepreneur and #girlboss, my story all started with my abuela who worked her way up from Cuban exile and seamstress to clothing company owner with 200 employees.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:
Co-founder and Co-CEO of Slay (slaybeautypass.com)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:
Launching a revenue-generating tech company on a shoestring budget with my best friend/former coworker/fellow Darden 2020 classmate, Jade Palomino!

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose Darden? Why was it so important to you?
I actually spent months mulling this over. My decision came down to fit and people. At Darden, I felt there was a tight-knit, supportive, and nurturing community that would be better for me both personally and as an entrepreneur running a startup during school. Before even stepping on grounds, I felt Darden went above and beyond to support me, my co-founder, and our company. The people I met at Darden – future classmates, current students, and staff – all said their favorite things about the school were the people and tight community, and that’s exactly what I saw come to life while on grounds.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?
Darden’s iLab. We were selected as one of just two teams of first year students to join the inaugural cohort for the Darden Venture Lab (DVL). DVL provides dedicated workspace, scheduled programming, grant support, and community engagement to select, full-time Darden students who are actively managing early-stage ventures with traction.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
I was studying for the GMAT in Spring of 2017 when my co-founder and now classmate, Jade, and I started working on Slay. As a government major, I didn’t have many of the hard skills I knew I needed to run a large enterprise effectively, and I wanted to be able to effectively lead our company not only in the startup stage and as we grow into a million dollar business, but also through our journey to being a billion dollar game-changer that puts beauty-tech and female entrepreneurs of color on the map. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Slay is the preeminent beauty technology platform and has put the category on the map. We’ve helped grow thousands of small businesses and empowered fellow women of color entrepreneurs. We’ve also built a robust CSR program that is admired and replicated by other startups that value both profit and social good.