BrightSpark Capitol Corp.
- Consumer, Healthcare, Wellness, Beauty
Helena B. Foulkes has served as our Co-Chair and Co-Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of our Board of Directors , since our inception. Ms. Foulkes is an experienced CEO and senior executive of publicly traded companies with a strong track record of delivering results by building diverse, high-performing teams and leading innovative, consumer-driven launches and digital transformations. She is known as a purpose-driven leader who has significantly impacted organizations and industries.
Ms. Foulkes was CEO and a board member of HBC from February 2018 to March 2020, where she led a significant transformation of the $10 billion global retailer, culminating in the successful privatization of HBC. She reinvented the organization by streamlining the 12 operating businesses, leading reorganization of operating structure, rebuilding the leadership team, overseeing strategic sales of business units and overhauling the operating focus for HBC. During Ms. Foulkes’ tenure, she oversaw transactions yielding $2.6 billion in proceeds, translating to measurable shareholder gains.
Prior to HBC, Ms. Foulkes spent 25 years at CVS Health, most recently as President of CVS Pharmacy and EVP of CVS Health, a position she held from January 2014 to January 2018. She led the strategic vision and operations for all aspects of CVS’ retail business and was a key architect of CVS’ move to become a recognized leader in healthcare. Over the course of her time at CVS, she played an important leadership role in growing CVS to the largest pharmacy healthcare provider in the United States with 10,000 pharmacies, $80 billion in sales and over 200,000 employees. This growth was enhanced by innovation such as the creation of the first-ever “pharmacy within a mass merchant” through the acquisition by CVS of over 1,800 Target pharmacies, led by Ms. Foulkes, and the acquisition of Navarro Pharmacy, a Miami-based 30-store chain serving the Hispanic community, which became a successful model for CVS to roll out to 700 stores nationwide in predominantly Hispanic communities. Ms. Foulkes also led diverse teams on efforts such as (i) the development of the CVS loyalty program, the largest loyalty program in the United States, (ii) CVS’ efforts to drive digital innovation into the pharmacy experience for over 80 million customers, driving higher levels of engagement and resulting in better health outcomes as a result of the marriage of data science and personal relationships, and (iii) the elimination of tobacco sales from CVS stores.
Before joining CVS, Ms. Foulkes worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co and Tiffany & Co. She has received numerous professional honors, including being named to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list, as well as Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.
Ms. Foulkes serves on the boards of The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: HD), Harry’s, mPharma, the Harvard University Board of Overseers, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. Ms. Foulkes is chair of The Home Depot, Inc.’s nominating and corporate governance committee, and also sits on the finance committee. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
We believe Ms. Foulkes is well-qualified to serve as a member of the board due to her public company and corporate finance experience, as well as her significant experience in innovative marketing strategies, retail operations, merchandising, e-commerce, real estate, and healthcare and associate wellness-related issues.
Marla Beck has served as our Co-Chair and Co-Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of our Board of Directors , since our inception. Ms. Beck is a serial entrepreneur, visionary consumer brand-builder, CEO and investor focused on products and businesses that connect with female consumers of all ages. Key themes of the brands that Ms. Beck has built include innovation, empowerment, transparency and sustainability. As a founder and CEO, Ms. Beck is known for rapid, high-growth scaling, enduring and authentic brand-building and hiring and developing exceptional, diverse executive teams.
Ms. Beck currently serves as the CEO of Bluemercury, an iconic, high-growth omnichannel beauty retailer she co-founded in 1999. Bluemercury disrupted the beauty industry with its innovative retail and human resource model. She is also the co-founder of M-61 Laboratories — creators of M-61 Powerful Skincare, a clean, clinical skincare brand — and Lune+Aster cosmetics, a sustainable makeup brand created to empower women. Ms. Beck led the sale of Bluemercury to Macy’s in 2015 and has been CEO of Bluemercury, as a division of Macy’s, since then. She is responsible of all aspects of operations, including digital strategies, marketing, loyalty programming, store expansion and development, finance and human resources across 182 locations and 27 states. Ms. Beck has also overseen numerous tuck-in acquisitions by Bluemercury, and has significant experience identifying and acquiring founder-led businesses in the beauty industry. Prior to the sale to Macy’s, Bluemercury enjoyed a long-term relationship with Invus, an evergreen equity investor firm with over $8 billion of assets under management, who partnered with the founders in 2006 in a transaction orchestrated by Ms. Beck.
Ms. Beck serves on the Advisory Board of Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Public Leadership Advisory Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation, the Global Advisory Board of EdX and the Board of Trustees at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C., and as an independent director on the Board of Directors of The Children’s Place, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE), where she serves on the audit committee and the nominating & corporate governance committee. Prior to founding Bluemercury, she was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Political Economy with High Honors from the University of California, Berkeley.
We believe Ms. Beck is well-qualified to serve as a member of the board due to her executive and operational expertise, as well as her experience with respect to brand management, brand marketing, digital, including e-commerce, and the management of a national retailer.
Alfheidur H. Saemundsson has served as our Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary since our inception. Ms. Saemundsson has been a member of the Capitol team since 2013 and has served as Executive Vice President and Secretary of Capitol V, Capitol VI and Capitol VII since their respective formations in May 2017, January 2021 and January 2021. As a member of the Capitol team and as an advisor to the Capitol team prior to 2013, Ms. Saemundsson has been involved in the sourcing and evaluation of hundreds of SPAC transaction opportunities, the initial public offerings of Capitol I, Capitol II, Capitol III, Capitol IV, Capitol V, Capitol VI and Capitol VII, and the successful execution and closing of four SPAC mergers. From July 2017 until its business combination with Nesco in July 2019, Ms. Saemundsson was Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Secretary of Capitol IV. From October 2015 to June 2017, Ms. Saemundsson served as vice president of Capitol III, which completed a business combination with Cision. From May 2013 until its business combination with Lindblad in July 2015, Ms. Saemundsson served as a consultant to Capitol II and has continued to serve as a consultant to Lindblad since the merger, supporting the company’s M&A, financial planning and analysis, corporate development, capital raising and investor relations activities. From November 2011 to May 2013, Ms. Saemundsson was a vice president with Quadrangle Group LLC, a private investment firm focused on the communications, media and information sectors. Prior to joining Quadrangle, Ms. Saemundsson held the role of Vice President in Citigroup’s investment banking division in New York where she covered the media and telecommunications sectors. Previously, Ms. Saemundsson was an Analyst with British Sky Broadcasting in London. Ms. Saemundsson also previously served on the Board of Directors of NTELOS Holdings Corp. Ms. Saemundsson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management where she was a Silver Scholar. Ms. Saemundsson is a CFA charterholder.
Mark D. Ein has served as a member of the Board of Directors since our inception. Mr. Ein is an investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who has created, acquired, invested in and built a series of growth companies across a diverse set of industries over the course of his 30-year career. During this time, Mr. Ein has been involved in the founding or early stages of six companies that have been worth over one billion dollars and has led over $1.8 billion of private equity, venture capital and public company investments. Mr. Ein has served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol V, Capitol VI and Capitol VII since their respective formations in May 2017, January 2021 and January 2021. From May 2017 until July 2019, Mr. Ein was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol IV, a blank check company formed for substantially similar purposes of our company. In July 2019, Capitol IV completed its business combination with Nesco (NYSE:NSCO), one of the largest specialty equipment rental providers to the growing electric utility transmission and distribution, telecom and rail industries in North America. Mr. Ein has served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Nesco since the closing of its business combination. From July 2015 until June 2017, Mr. Ein was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol III, a blank check company formed for substantially similar purposes as our company. In June 2017, Capitol III completed its business combination with Cision (NYSE:CISN), a leading media communication technology and analytics company. Mr. Ein served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Cision from the closing of its business combination until January 2020 when it was sold to Platinum Equity and taken private. From August 2010 to July 2015, Mr. Ein was the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Treasurer and Secretary of Capitol II, a blank check company formed for substantially similar purposes as our company. In July 2015, Capitol II completed its business combination with Lindblad (NASDAQ:LIND), a global leader in expedition cruising and extraordinary travel experiences. Mr. Ein has served as Chairman of the Board of Lindblad since the closing of the business combination. From June 2007 to October 2009, Mr. Ein was the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Capitol I, a blank check company formed for substantially similar purposes as our company. Capitol I completed its business combination with Two Harbors (NYSE: TWO), a Maryland real estate investment trust, in October 2009. From October 2009 to May 2015, Mr. Ein served as the Non-Executive Vice Chairman of Two Harbors’ Board of Directors. Mr. Ein is the Founder of Venturehouse Group, LLC, a holding company that creates, invests in and builds companies, and has served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1999. He has also been the President of Leland Investments Inc., a private investment firm, since 2005. Mr. Ein is Co-Chairman of Kastle Holding Company LLC, which through its subsidiaries is the majority owner and conducts the business of Kastle Systems, LLC, a provider of building and office security systems that was acquired in January 2007. Mr. Ein has also served on the Board of Directors of Soho House Holdings Limited since September 2018.
Mr. Ein is the Founder and Owner of MDE Sports, which owns the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, D.C., one of the five largest tennis events in the United States and one of only five major tournaments in the United States featuring players from both the ATP and WTA Tours competing simultaneously. MDE Sports also owns the Washington Kastles World Team Tennis franchise that has won the league championship six of its 13 years since its founding by Mr. Ein and had one of the longest winning streaks in U.S. pro team sports history, winning 34 straight matches from 2011 through 2013. In September 2018, Mr. Ein founded and became Chairman of Washington E-Sports Ventures, which owns the Washington Justice esports franchise in the Overwatch League, bringing the premier global esports league to the greater Washington, D.C. region, and, also in 2018, Mr. Ein acquired the Washington City Paper, the renowned weekly paper serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1981.
A native of the Washington area, he actively supports many community, charitable and cultural organizations and currently serves on the boards of the D.C. Public Education Fund (as Chairman since 2010, the Fund has raised $130 million of philanthropic support for D.C. Public Schools), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, D.C. College Access Program and D.C. Policy Center (Co-Founder). He currently serves as a Presidential Appointee to the Board of the United States Tennis Association, having previously served on the board from 2012 to 2018 (serving as a Vice President of the Board from 2016 to 2018). Mr. Ein has been a member of the World Economic Forum since 2016, and the Gridiron Club, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journalistic organizations in Washington, DC.
He has won numerous awards. including the Washington Business Hall of Fame, Washington, D.C. Business Leader of the Year from the Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and 2019, the Jefferson Award for public service and Entrepreneur of the Year Awards from Ernst and Young and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. In September 2009, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty presented Mr. Ein with the Key to the City, highlighting his Washington Kastles success on the court and, “for their commitment to the District’s communities and our youth.”
Previously in his career, Mr. Ein worked for The Carlyle Group, Brentwood Associates, and Goldman, Sachs & Co. Mr. Ein received a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.
We believe Mr. Ein is well-qualified to serve as a member of the board due to his public company experience, business leadership, operational experience and experience in prior blank check offerings, such as the Capitol I, Capitol II, Capitol III, Capitol IV and the Capitol Entities.
L. Dyson Dryden has served as a member of the Board of Directors since our inception. Mr. Dryden has served as President, Chief Financial Officer and a director of Capitol V, Capitol VI and Capitol VII since their respective formations in May 2017, January 2021 and January 2021. From May 2017 until it completed its business combination with Nesco in July 2019, Mr. Dryden served as President, Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Capitol IV. Mr. Dryden currently serves as Co-Chairman of Nesco and has been a member of the Board of Directors since its business combination with Capitol IV. From July 2015 until it completed its business combination with Cision in June 2017, Mr. Dryden was the President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Secretary and a Director of Capitol III. From the closing of the business combination until the sale of the company January 2020, Mr. Dryden served as a Director of Cision. From March 2013 to July 2015, Mr. Dryden served as the Chief Financial Officer and a Director of Capitol II. In July 2015, Capitol II completed its business combination with Lindblad. Mr. Dryden has continued to serve as a Director of Lindblad since the closing of its business combination. Mr. Dryden is also the founder of Dryden Capital Management, LLC, a private investment firm that invests in and builds private companies, and has served as its President since March 2013. Mr. Dryden has also been Vice Chairman of CDS Logistics Management, Inc., one of the largest providers of home improvement product delivery services in the United States, since 2009. From August 2005 to February 2013, Mr. Dryden worked in Citigroup’s Investment Banking division in New York, most recently as a Managing Director where he led the coverage effort for a number of the firm’s Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications clients. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Dryden held the titles of Associate and Vice President at Jefferies & Company, a middle market investment banking firm. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Dryden worked in the investment banking group at BB&T Corporation. Mr. Dryden is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Washington E-Sports Ventures, LLC, founded to purchase an Overwatch League Team and build other esports teams that will represent the capital region from Baltimore to Richmond including Washington, D.C. and all of Maryland and Virginia. Mr. Dryden holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a dual concentration in finance and management from the University of Richmond.
We believe Mr. Dryden is well-qualified to serve as a member of the board due to his corporate finance and public company experience, as well as his experience in prior blank check offerings, such as the Capitol I, Capitol II, Capitol III, Capitol IV and the Capitol Entities.