RICHARD L. WILLIAMS
President & CEO – Black Business Media, LLC
Publisher – Black Business Ink Magazine
Richard L. Williams is president and chief executive officer of Black Business Media LLC, publisher of Black Business Ink magazine. In addition to being publisher of North Carolina’s only business-monthly dedicated to African-American businesses and businesspeople, Black Business Media also serves as a marketing and public relations outfit, and is producer of the State of Black North Carolina Conference. In May 2003, Williams achieved a lifelong dream when the first edition of Black Business Ink magazine rolled off the press, in concurrence with the inaugural State of Black North Carolina Conference. Prior to those historic accomplishments, Williams was president and chief executive of R.L. Williams Communications Group, a public relations company he founded in 2000.
Before he became an entrepreneur, Williams worked as a newspaper reporter and editor from May 1985 to October 1994 in North Carolina, New York, and Washington, D.C. He temporarily suspended his journalism career to work in corporate communications with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company from November 1994 to 2000. Williams resigned from that position in August 2000 to follow entrepreneurial pursuits, which had been pulling at him for a number of years.
He credits his civic involvement as central to serving as editor-in-chief of Black Business Ink magazine and chief executive of Black Business Media, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has received accommodations and awards in journalism from industry groups, including the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) and the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), the latter of which was accompanied by a congratulatory letter from United States President William Jefferson Clinton.
In recognition of his leadership and achievements, Chicago-based Dollars & Sense magazine named Williams among America’s Best and Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women. He also received the Black Achiever in Business and Industry Award from the Winston Lake Family YMCA, the Kwanzaa Ujamaa Award, and he is listed in the national Outstanding Young Men of America registry. Williams serves as chairman of the Winston-Salem Masonic Order board of directors, vice chairman of the Carolina Christian College board of directors, and a member of Bookmarks board or directors. He is a past chairman of the Forsyth Technical Community College Mazie Woodruff Campus advisory board, past Worshipful Master of Salem Lodge #139 (Prince Hall Affiliate), past Commander-In-Chief of King Solomon Consistory No. 64, and past Excellent High Priest of Willie Ashford Chapter #65 (HRAM). He is a former chairman of the Winston-Salem Urban League board of directors, the AARP African-American advisory board, and the Carolina Donor Services Minority Outreach Task Force. He is a former member of the Partners for Homeownership board of directors, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Winston-Salem State University Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) board of advisors. He is a charter member of the Winston-Salem African American Chamber of Commerce and convener of the State of Black North Carolina Conference.
Williams demonstrates his commitment to enhancing the future of today’s youth by supporting several education initiatives, including leading the effort to create the Salem Lodge #139/Robert A. Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund. He lectured for several years in the Mass Communications department at Winston-Salem State University. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater Arts from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management.