Hello! I’m Ricky Ribeiro, the senior vice president, creative director at Manifest, and I work out of the D.C. office.
I’ve been at Manifest for 10 years. I went from being the digital dude to leading the entire creative team for CDW, one of our agency’s largest accounts.
Part of my intrapreneurial DNA comes from the grit and hustle I developed in defining entrepreneurial climates. One of those endeavors was my own venture as the founder and editor-in-chief of a minorly successful music blog, which afforded me the opportunity to bowl with Bruno Mars, bask as Rihanna whizzed past me in the crowd at the Baltimore stop of her Loud Tour and interview the first Black Cinderella herself, Brandy. The other was as the web editor of Grab Networks, a startup where I managed a catalog of news and content providers, which allowed me to interact with and onboard partners such as Reuters, CBS News, TV Guide and US Weekly. I learned the ins and outs of developing and mapping site taxonomies and creating content for a brand, developed an understanding of web metrics and distribution tactics, and learned HTML and CSS coding by sitting side by side with our developers.
The skills I developed in those roles prepared me well for my time at Manifest. Although it was my technical knowledge that got my foot in the door as the agency’s first online content manager, the relationships, smarts and soft skills I developed by working alongside my incredible colleagues and the amazing clients I serve have helped me to mature and evolve in a way that I haven’t been able to walk away from a decade later.
It’s this spirit of entrepreneurship, growth and progress that I draw on as I pursue my executive MBA at Georgetown University. And since February is Black History Month, I know that I walk in the footsteps of many creative-business leaders whom I hope to emulate in balancing my left- and right-brain ambitions. In modern times, that means people like Pharrell Williams, whom I consider an idol, who has built not only an incredible catalog of music for himself and others but also a strong business brand with his Billionaire Boys Club. Or more traditionally in our sphere of marketing and advertising, Peloton marketing chief Dara Treseder, who was brought on to lead the brand in August 2020. Within months of her arrival, Treseder announced a jaw-dropping partnership with Beyonce, which led to a rally in the firm’s stock. That’s the kind of Black excellence that pays dividends.
As part of the call to arms around the Black Lives Matter movement, people have woken up to the power that Black people carry when it comes to the weight and might of our dollar and the influence and leadership we can drive within business, marketing and creative fields. Some Black brands that I eagerly support and cheer on in this regard include:
- KoshieO, an African clothing company that combines ethnic prints with contemporary designs, founded by my wife’s childhood friend, Nina Baksmaty
- Blavity, a burgeoning Black-owned media empire that is smartly and thoughtfully catering to the needs and interests of Black millennials, founded by Morgan DeBaun
- Prps, a Black-owned luxury streetwear brand that is sold at high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus, founded by former Nike designer Donwan Harrell
- YouNeek Studios, an African comic book universe that builds on the interest and mythos of African history and culture to create new Black superheroes for kids to look up to, founded by Roye Okupe
I hope to continue to contribute to that legacy of Black excellence in business, content and marketing and add my own unique mark on the world in the way that so many incredible Black people have in the past and will continue to do going forward.