Reigning Miss Black America
Ryann Richardson is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and diversity and inclusion advocate who's spent the last decade shaping consumer brands and corporate culture for companies spanning from early-stage startups, to billion-dollar "unicorns", to the Fortune 500. In 2018 she made history, becoming the 50th Anniversary Miss Black America and was also recognized by Savoy Magazine on its annual list of Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.
At 29, Ryann has built a decorated career as a tech executive and founder, and now leverages her platform to help increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in positions of influence and power.
As President and Co-Founder of ExecThread, she's helped underrepresented leaders capture elusive C-suite roles, and guided hiring companies in increasing the diversity of their executive ranks.
Congratulations on your reign as Miss Black America. You are representing a prestigious iconic platform. What is your unique stamp you are imprinting as Miss Black America?
What I think is special and unique I bring a certain perspective. Title holder are generally younger women who use the pageant as a springboard. I came after building a successful career in technology and leverage a brand of my own. My platform work is about increasing the representation of women of color in the tech area and leadership position in large.
What is the most surprising or interesting part of your tenure so far?
What the most interesting to me is meeting folks and understanding the impact that Black America has had on them. Them can always recall a watershed movement in their life. They have these movements that they hold onto to
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What is the most impactful thing you hope to accomplish?
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I have been intentional in investing in leading businesses. My purpose is to champion social equity for historically marginalized people. Ensuring that we can capture a seat at the table.
What is three solid pieces of advice you give to young woman.
First one would be. Show up 100% authentically. As woman, but particularly young women of color we have be taught to play a character and wear a mask. To offer portions of ourselves to conform to the sensibility of others. We allow them to define us when we don’t show up as ourselves to dispel the stereotypes
Second who be remember that your existence gives permission to a woman behind you. This goes back to not seeing woman that looked liked me in those place of authority. What I did learn from those very few woman is was I could be my audacious self, they gave me permission. You’re better than no one, but just as good as everyone. We suffer from the impostor syndrome
We are doing mantras all this year. Do you have one you live by?
If they don’t give you a seat at the table bring your own chair and if they tell you there’s no room build your own damn table!
What’s coming up with for you in 2019?
As next month launching a speaking tour. My team is setting it up now. Some of the places we will be in is Atlanta, DC, Dallas and Houston.