RICE Announces Strategic Leadership Additions, Cementing Its Role as the Nation's Largest Entrepreneurial Hub

Shawn M. Graham, CPA, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, RICE and Monica Delores Hooks, MBA, EDP, as Chief Experience Officer, RICE. PRNewsfoto/Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.
Shawn M. Graham, CPA, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, RICE and Monica Delores Hooks, MBA, EDP, as Chief Experience Officer, RICE. PRNewsfoto/Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.

RICE Announces Strategic Leadership Additions, Cementing Its Role as the Nation's Largest Entrepreneurial Hub

ATLANTA, PRNewswire -- The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), the largest center in the world dedicated to growing, scaling, and developing Black entrepreneurs proudly announces the strategic enhancement of its leadership team with two distinguished professionals, Shawn M. Graham, CPA, as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer along with Monica Delores Hooks, MBA, EDP, as Chief Experience Officer. Their collective expertise and proven track records are poised to propel RICE and its mission of fostering entrepreneurial excellence further.

Monica Delores Hooks brings an impressive background marked by transformative leadership in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, most notably with the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI). Her efforts have generated significant capital and job creation, underscoring her ability to impact the global business landscape. With deep Atlanta roots and extensive international experience, Monica Delores is uniquely positioned to elevate RICE's community with unparalleled resources and opportunities.

"Atlanta instills a profound sense of pride and responsibility," says Monica Delores. "At RICE, we're building a community that provides founders with the comprehensive support I once only dreamed of. It's an honor to contribute to the narrative of Black excellence and innovation in the city that shaped me."

Shawn M. Graham comes to RICE with a wealth of experience in finance, strategy, and community engagement. Her background illustrates a deep commitment to growth and inclusivity, with previous roles that include significant achievements at the National Black MBA Association, Inc. (NBMBAA). Shawn's expertise will enhance RICE's operational and financial frameworks, ensuring a robust foundation for entrepreneurs.

"I'm thrilled to lend my skills to RICE's empowering mission," Shawn expresses. "Our goal is to provide a solid platform for Black entrepreneurs to excel, reshaping the business landscape with innovative and sustainable strategies."

A Vision for the Future

James "Jay" Bailey, President and CEO of RICE, highlights the strategic significance of these appointments. "Monica Delores and Shawn are key to elevating what we do best; supporting and empowering entrepreneurs. Their arrival marks a milestone in our journey to redefine entrepreneurship through innovation and inclusivity."

As RICE embarks on this new chapter, Monica Delores Hooks and Shawn M. Graham are set to leave an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape. Their leadership reaffirms RICE's commitment to diversity, empowerment, and the success of every entrepreneur in the community.

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) is Atlanta's home for Black entrepreneurs. Positioned as a business generator, RICE serves as an economic mobility engine for the community: driving entrepreneurs and small business owners to innovate, grow, create jobs and build wealth. Inspired by the legacy of Herman J. Russell, one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Atlanta, RICE remains dedicated to its mission to Build. Black. Business. and stands as the largest center in the world dedicated to growing, scaling, and developing Black Entrepreneurs. For more information visit www.RussellCenter.org, download the RICE Report Volume 1, and follow @RICEAtlanta on Instagram and Twitter and @RussellCenterAtlanta on Facebook.

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