Get Started
Diahann Billings-Burford

Diahann Billings-Burford is the CEO of RISE, a nonprofit organization aimed at leveraging the unifying potential of sports to combat racism and promote social justice. Her career has been marked by significant contributions to diverse communities through various senior roles in both public and private sectors. At Time Warner, as Executive Director of cultural investments and Vice President of the Time Warner Foundation, she led initiatives focused on college internships, employee community engagement, and community investments in New York City, alongside managing the foundation’s grant-making and operations.

Previously, as New York City’s Chief Service Officer, Diahann spearheaded NYC Service, mobilizing over 1.3 million New Yorkers in volunteer activities to address the city’s critical needs. Her extensive background also includes positions with City Year New York, Achievement First, Prep for Prep, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Diahann actively contributes to the community through her board roles with buildOn, Philanthropy New York, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Strava, and Success Academy, reflecting her deep commitment to service and philanthropy.

apple podcast
google podcast
amazon music

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Diahann Billings-Burford shares a pivotal moment that impacted her career path
  • Recognizing the skills and advantages student athletes have
  • How Diahann’s diverse background shaped her approach to leadership
  • Strategies to mobilize a large and diverse group of people toward a common goal
  • Diahann’s journey of recognizing and overcoming internalized limitations as a black woman in a predominantly white space
  • Race and inclusion in sports
  • Diahann’s experiences as a voice in rooms where they are not typically present
  • The importance of mentorship and community service in athletes’ lives
  • What’s next for RISE?

In this episode…

In a society striving for justice and equality, how is the sports industry taking innovative steps to make a difference?

According to Diahann Billings-Burford, the answer involves strategic engagement and meaningful partnerships across various sectors. Diahann highlights her journey through diverse roles — from government to non-profit leadership — culminating in her role at RISE, where she focuses on leveraging sports to address racial inequalities and foster a culture of inclusion. She emphasizes the importance of creating platforms for dialogue, education, and action that engage all stakeholders, including athletes, executives, and fans, to drive societal change.

In this episode of the WRK & WIN podcast, Corinne Milien talks with Diahann Billings-Burford, CEO of RISE, about mobilizing communities and athletes for change. They discuss strategies for engaging diverse groups in social justice efforts, the role of leadership in fostering inclusion, and the impact of civic engagement initiatives in promoting racial equity.

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by WRK.

Managing a successful business is about more than just the bottom line — it’s about the people who make it happen.

WRK is your go-to partner for people-powered HR and staffing solutions, designed to overcome your toughest workforce challenges.

From fostering employee engagement through positive employee relations to developing future leaders with their Leadership Development programs, WRK‘s services are designed to maximize the performance of your team and ensure a vibrant, inclusive work culture.

This isn’t just HR — it’s HR reimagined.

Go to to learn more.