Alumni Spotlight Enterprising Entrepeneur Regine Rousseau
Alumnae Regine Rousseau is a powerhouse. Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Haiti, she is a self published author, art collector, business owner, and a rising entrepreneur. Many of Regine’s enterprises began on the Knox College campus. “I believe I have been an entrepreneur from birth, and I’ve always found myself in environments that supported my creativity and my entrepreneurial spirit,” Regine shared. “I attended Francis W. Parker High School and that was a very positive experience for me. When I became a student at Knox, I found a support system that encouraged me to try out my ideas.” Regine made good use of campus resources when she was a student. A theatre major, Regine produced and directed Ntozake Shange’s 1975 stage play for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf during her third year on campus.
Regine has continuously built upon the skills she crafted at Knox. She opened an upscale nail salon in the South Loop area of Chicago, and she was a wine columnist for the South Suburban News for several years. In 2011 she was a semi-finalist for the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic contest for A Sinner Sings a Sestina, and her book of poetry, Searching for Cloves and Lilies, was featured in the New Yorker magazine. Regine has been an expert panelist at the Association of Writers & Writing Program conference. She contributed to the session “Haitian literature being written in the 21st century – both within Haiti and its global diaspora” at the AWP Conference in 2012. She began contributing a wine column for the Chicago Defender in 2013.
In addition to writing, Regine has pursued a relationship she first formed while participating in the college study abroad program in Besançon, France. Regine was introduced to a love that has endured for decades: wine.
“I was a wine salesperson for a while, but I love wine beyond just selling it.” Regine commented on her long relationship with wine. “I love talking about wine. I love socializing over wine. I began hosting wine tastings around Chicago. It started with just me and a few friends and it began to grow. I read about wine and studied it. Wine grew from a hobby to a passion. I was laid off in 2013, and I saw that as an opportunity – it was my liberation. I made a promise to myself: I would sink or swim. ”
Regine used her liberation from corporate America to launch Chicago-based Shall We Wine, an enterprise specializing in craft spirits and boutique wines. In addition to hosting tastings across the city, Regine conducts in-store wine demonstrations and trains salespeople on products.
Be sure to keep your eyes on Regine! She has many more aspirations and dreams to achieve!