Diahann Billings-Burford, who has spent her career working in and lifting up diverse communities, is CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). During the past decade, Billings-Burford held senior positions in New York City government and subsequently at Time Warner, serving some five years in each post and handling a challenging mix of responsibilities.
At Time Warner, she served as executive director, cultural investments and vice president of the Time Warner Foundation. She led the company-wide college internship, employee community engagement and community investments programs in New York City. She also managed the grant making and operations of the foundation.
As the city’s chief service officer, Billings-Burford headed NYC Service, a division of the mayor’s office, engaging more than 1.3 million New Yorkers in a range of volunteer activities. NYC Service worked to help New Yorkers connect to service opportunities more easily, target volunteers to address the city’s greatest needs and promote service as a core part of being a New Yorker.
At various stages of her career, Billings-Burford’s experiences have been in deeply diverse communities and in executive offices; with government agencies and education initiatives; with youth, elderly and the disadvantaged; in innovative startups; and in both publicly funded nonprofits and privately sponsored for-profits.
Billings-Burford’s experience also includes serving as deputy executive director of external affairs for City Year New York, a nonprofit service organization; director of external relations for Achievement First, a charter school management organization; director of leadership development for Prep for Prep, a leadership development organization; and an associate with the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
She serves on the National Board of Directors for buildOn, an international organization working to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service learning programs in America’s under-served high schools and by building classrooms in some of the world’s economically poorest countries. She also serves on the boards of Philanthropy New York and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.
Billings-Burford earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.