Photo of Carol Lavin-Bernick
Carol Lavin-Bernick (NC ’74)
A philanthropic leader and advocate, Carol Lavin Bernick serves as CEO of Polished Nickel Capital Management, a privately held company that manages diversified investments, and is the founder of Enchanted Backpack, which provides school supplies, books and winter coats to over 20,000 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students annually. She is also the second woman to chair the Board of Tulane in the university’s 185-year history.
Bernick graduated from Newcomb College in 1974. Shortly after graduation, she joined Alberto-Culver, a beauty-and-household-product business that her parents founded in 1955. During her career at Alberto-Culver, Bernick created several products: Mrs. Dash, Molly McButter, Baker’s Joy, and Static Guard. In the 1990s, she re-energized the company and consumer businesses, dramatically increasing sales growth rates and profit margins while instituting a nationally recognized cultural overhaul. Bernick led the Alberto Culver Consumer Products business for over 10 years and succeeded her father as executive chairman in 2004. In 2011, she initiated and oversaw the sale of the company to Unilever.
Bernick and her family gave a generous donation through the Lavin Family Foundation to renovate and expand the 47-year-old University Center on McAlister Drive. The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life was dedicated in December 2006 – the first major university building to open in the post-Hurricane Katrina era. In 2023, Bernick established an $8 million fund for a major landscaping and streetscaping effort on Tulane’s expanding downtown campus, encouraging collaboration, socializing and community in the heart of New Orleans’ BioDistrict and commercial corridor.