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Black Ohio Leaders Changing the Game: Black Entrepreneurship Summit


Rob Richardson
Disruption Now Media, Founder & Host

Rob Richardson is the host of Disruption Now Podcast and the owner of Disruption Now Media an interactive platform focused on connecting, empowering and funding black and brown entrepreneurs and leaders.

Disrupting is a personal mission for Rob. As an elementary and middle school student, Rob was enrolled in learning disability classes where he was told that he would never be capable of going to college. He not only proved the teacher wrong but has dedicated his life to empowering others who have been counted out. While attending the University of Cincinnati, Richardson established the first collegiate chapter of the NAACP in the tristate area.   In 2008, Rob was asked by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to serve on UC’s Board of Trustees.

In 2016, Rob was elected as the youngest Chair in the history of the University of Cincinnati.  Rob had the responsibility of leading the search for the 30th President, Dr. Neville Pinto.  During his tenure, Rob established the UC Scholars Academy, a leadership development and academic preparedness program for students in Cincinnati Public Schools; raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for student scholarships including the largest corporate diversity scholarship at UC; established the 1819 innovation hub, and led the first ever Next Lives Here Innovation Summit.

In 2018, Rob ran statewide as the democratic nominee for Ohio Treasure championing his vision of economic equality and innovation, receiving over 2 million votes and raising over 2.5 million dollars. While he didn't win, he continues to disrupt and fight for others.

Rob graduated from Winton Woods High School and earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and a JD,  from the University of Cincinnati.

Pam Davis
Hidden Spirits Cocktails, Founder & Creator

Pam Davis is the Founder and Creator of Hidden Spirits Cocktails Ltd, a portfolio of adult beverages created in a suburb of Cleveland, OH just four years ago.  Pam started Hidden Spirits after creating the recipe known today as Hidden Spirits Lemonade and becoming a bootlegger by mistake for a brief stint, selling this cocktail in mason jars around the city of Cleveland.  After securing her liquor license in 2016, Davis has launched two additional flavors on the market and has grown Hidden Spirits which is now available in over 50 retail locations across seven midwestern cities.  She is 100% owner of the brand and the only black female in the state of Ohio with a license to manufacture and distribute low proof spirits and one of very few in the United States.   Hidden Spirits Cocktails was just recently named the 2020 Best of Cleveland Cocktail, Editor's Pick by Cleveland Magazine in the October issue.

Doug McCollough
City of Dublin, CIO

As CIO of the City of Dublin, Ohio, Doug McCollough has worked to connect people to opportunities, and promote change in initiatives ranging from Smart and Connected Cities, IT Workforce Development, expanding broadband access, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and Blockchain in Government. He speaks and advises as a Subject Matter Expert and advocate on technical subjects, diversity, equity, inclusion, and using technology for economic development.

Doug has held positions within the State of Ohio Departments of Public Safety, Commerce, Industrial Commission, and Medicaid. He served as the Director of  Information Technology for the City of Richmond, Virginia. He is on the boards of Per Scholas Columbus, TECH CORPS, Black Tech Columbus, and Jewish Family Services of Columbus. He Chairs the Data Policy Needs Survey & Toolkit Working Group within the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission and serves on the Advisory Boards for the Center for Public Safety & Cyber Security Education (CPSCE) at Franklin University, the IT Cloud/Cluster Advisory Committee for Western Governors University, and the Advisory Board for the Department of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University.

Ras Asan
BREAUX Capital, Co-Founder

Ras Asan is an entrepreneur, investor, award-winning copywriter, and certified herbalist of Greco-Islamic medicine. As a sociologist trained at Morehouse College, Ras develops data-driven strategies to activate consumers and organizations. Ras' work has been featured in Fast Company, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Inc. Magazine, and Black Enterprise.

As the Co-Founder of BREAUX and Company, a private equity firm specializing in social enterprise companies, Ras and his team have: increased higher education access for thousands of first generation college students, expanded employment opportunities for Black technologists, launched the world's 1st financial technology co-op for Black Men, and helped Black entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive in spite of challenges brought on by coronavirus.

Being a change leader is hard especially in addressing issues of race and equity. What is the best approach to leading change when the culture is resistant?