About RICE
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About RICE

Our Mission: Build. Black. Business.

RICE is boldly pursuing pathways to expand the possibilities for Black entrepreneurs in Atlanta and beyond at a time when ensuring equitable opportunities for Black-owned businesses matters more than ever. Black entrepreneurs require more than symbols of hope at this critical time. They need institutions to manufacture it. RICE will do our part– to help create and accelerate opportunities for Black business owners, bring them into a family of dynamic people like them, and surround them with everything they need to prosper.”

—James “Jay” Bailey, President and CEO

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Business Generator. Supportive Community. Innovation Lab.

RICE is an economic mobility engine for the community: driving Black entrepreneurs and small business owners to innovate, grow, create jobs, and build wealth. We house over 50,000 square feet of convening, meeting, and innovation space in a LEED Silver Certified building, brought to life by a robust offering of educational, networking, mentoring, and capital resources. Part business generator, innovation lab, and museum, RICE invests in Black entrepreneurs, strengthens businesses, and creates community.

Honoring the Legacy of the Russell Family

Launching his entrepreneurship journey at the age of 12, H.J. Russell later founded H.J. Russell & Company in 1952, becoming one of the largest Minority Business Enterprises in America.

From real estate development to construction and project management to airport concessions and philanthropy, the Russell family has been key to Atlanta’s growth.

RICE’s goal is to embody H.J. Russell’s legacy of success rooted in service.

Entrepreneurship helped my dreams come true. I want the same for other young people looking to make good lives for themselves…I’m a lifetime believer that for America to continue being great and provide enough jobs for its people, the only path is fostering a national entrepreneurial spirit.

—Herman J. Russell, Sr.

RICE Leadership Team

The people making it happen.

Jay Bailey

President, CEO

Shawn M. Graham, CPA

EVP & Chief Administrative Officer
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Monica Delores Hooks, MBA, EDP

Chief Experience Officer
Freda Hendley, VP of Marketing & Communications at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs

Freda Hendley

VP of Marketing & Communications

Dr. Malcolm Muhammad

VP of Data & Research

Shalon Brown

Director of Marketing & Communications

Shakiri Murrain

Director of Innovative Solutions

2024 Board of Directors

H. Jerome Russell, Jr.

CHAIR President, HJ Russell & Company

Sig Mosley

Managing Partner Mosley

Ann Cramer

Senior Consultant, 
Coxe Curry & Associates

Cynthia Day

President and CEO, 
Citizens Trust Bank

Donata Russell Ross

President and CEO,
Concessions International

Sylvia Russell

Former President AT&T Georgia

Carla Chaney

EVP, CHRO, Equifax, Inc

Alfred McRae

Bank of America Atlanta

T. Dallas Smith

Founder and CEO,
T. Dallas Smith & Company

Robert E. Benson, Jr.

Corporate Attorney, 
King & Spalding

Vivian Greentree, Ph.D.

SVP, Head of Global Corporate Citizenship, Fiserv

Terri-Nichelle Bradley

Terri-Nichelle Bradley is the Founder and CEO of Play at Brown Toy Box. Bradley believes that Black children should see themselves positively represented in every space the experience regularly, starting with their toybox and the toy aisle. Bradley, an equity in play advocate, is on a mission to disrupt the $27B toy industry by creating a brand that reflects the world we live in today. Launched in 2017 as a STEAM kit, Brown Toy Box evolved into a full-scale educational toy company producing and curating STEAM toys, media, and experiences for centering and celebrating Black children in a manner all children can enjoy, learn, and have fun. Prior to starting Brown Toy Box, Bradley led a communications consultancy working with Fortune 500 companies in campaigns designed to connect with the African American community. Prior to that, Bradley served as the VP of Corporate, Crisis, and Public Affairs for the world’s largest global PR agency. Bradley has been awarded the Civic Impact Award, was recognized as a 2019 Atlanta’s Top 100 Businesswomen of Influence by the Atlanta Business League, acknowledged on the 2020 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta list of influential leaders and most recently named to Inc. Magazine’s 2020 Female Founders 100 list. Brown Toy Box is sold in Target stores nationwide, with Amazon, over 30 museums including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, as well as other independent specialty toy stores and retailers. Learn more at browntoybox.com

Stefan Miller

Stefan Miller is the Co-Founder and CMO for Young King Hair Care, which launched in December 2019. Young King Hair Care is a multicultural grooming and lifestyle brand company with tailored offerings catering to specific needs of young men of color. Stefan is a marketing professional with 15+ years of experience across marketing, sales and consulting in the CPG and tech industries. At Young King, Stefan has been featured in over 75+ national publications, was recognized by Mintel as one of the top US brand innovations of 2021, partnered with Disney and Marvel Studios for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and was a participant on Season 13 of ABC’s Shark Tank. Currently Young King Hair Care is available in multiple retail partners, including Target, Walmart, and CVS, selling in over 3,000 stores across the US. Prior to founding Young King Hair Care, he led business strategy and marketing communications, while launching innovations across multiple billion-dollar brands and categories at IBM, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull. Stefan L. Miller Bio Stefan holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with concentrations in Brand Marketing, Media Management and Management in Organizations, and is a proud HBCU alum of Morehouse College with a BA in Business Administration. He currently lives with his wife and co-founder Cora and 2 kids, Kade and Cree in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at youngkinghaircare.com

Ceata E. Lash

Ceata E. Lash, CEO and founder of PuffCuff has emerged as a pioneering figure in the natural hair accessory industry, holding the distinction of being the first African-American woman to secure four US patents in this domain. Her journey to entrepreneurship was built upon a 30-year career as a graphic designer, which laid the foundation for launching PuffCuff in 2013. Ceata’s innovative leadership has earned her prestigious accolades, including the President’s Innovation Award from Sally Beauty and the New Voices + Barefoot Wine Beauty Business Grant. These achievements have placed her among the top female founders featured in Inc. Magazine. Committed to lifelong learning and growth, Ceata has completed the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses National Cohort and was part of the inaugural Amazon Black Business Accelerator Cohort. Her recent completion of the “Building a Successful Diverse Business” program at Tuck Executive Education, Dartmouth, further underscores her dedication to continuous improvement and leadership in the business world. Learn more at thepuffcuff.com