Ryann Richardson made history when she became the 50th Anniversary Miss Black America, taking up the mantle of the country’s first pageant and nationally televised celebration of women of color. Before that, the tech marketer-turned-founder and Diversity & Inclusion leader spent 10 years building brands and shaping internal culture for companies spanning from early-stage startups (Victor) to billion-dollar "unicorns" (Uber) to the Fortune 500 (T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom). Her work earned her a spot as the youngest honoree on Savoy Magazine’s list of Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America and set her on the path of discovering her unique purpose as a champion for underrepresented voices.
Ryann led East Coast regional marketing and partnerships at Uber. She’s credited with directing the company’s marketing presence at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and later developed Uber’s first comprehensive multicultural marketing strategy. After experiencing the negative effects of the company’s, now-infamous, toxic culture Ryann co-founded Uber’s employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, a grassroots team dedicated to social and policy change within the organization.
Ryann was previously Vice President and Head of North American Marketing for UK-based private aviation marketplace app, Victor, and early in her career, worked on the national expansion of the MetroPCS wireless brand after T-Mobile’s acquisition of the then-regional company.
Today, Ryann is a Keynote Speaker and host. On her national Great Black America Tour since Summer 2019, she's reached thousands of people of color, women, marginalized people, and allies with talks on social equity, representation, and culture. Her TED Talk on the Politics of Beauty and Power comes to TED.com in early 2020 and she stars in the upcoming feature documentary, Subjects of Desire, exploring the evolution of American beauty standards and the appropriation of Black cultural aesthetics.
Now in her second act as a founder, she's building the Ellington Lafayette Co., a new type of tech incubator, focusing exclusively on startups that drive social equity for women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.
Ryann also leads the TAKE UP SPACE MVMT, a social action campaign focused on building social, political, and economic power for historically marginalized communities through educational programming, grassroots activism, and commercial and non-profit partnerships.
In 2020, Ryann endorsed and became a national surrogate for Pete Buttigieg's Presidential campaign. She travels to key battleground states stumping for the former Mayor and advocating policies with specific impact on the lives of people of color.
MISS BLACK AMERICA
Founded in 1968, Miss Black America is the oldest pageant organization in the United States for
women of color. Originally conceived as a political protest against the exclusion of black women from
American institutions and cultural celebrations of
beauty, it was the first American pageant to feature black women and went on to become a nationally televised annual event. Over the years Miss Black America became a black culture phenomenon, showcasing future icons like Oprah Winfrey and Toni Braxton as contestants, and inspiring generations of black girls and women.
Today the program serves to spotlight the talent, intellect, and exceptional accomplishments of black women while enriching communities of color through service, mentorship, and advocacy.