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Kelli Richardson Lawson        

Founder & CEO of the JOY Collective and The SonRise Project

Kelli Richardson Lawson is an Emmy Award-winning creative visionary and purpose-driven business leader with over 30 years of global experience in brand-building. As founder and CEO of JOY Collective, Lawson believes her company is “inspired and committed to creating JOY for our clients, our community, and the world.” JOY Collective’s current clients include Dove, where she leads the execution of The CROWN Act to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” WW (formerly Weight Watchers), the U.S. Naval Academy, Ford, and many more

Lawson’s distinguished career spans multiple industries, including Consumer Packaged Goods, Media and Entertainment, Book Publishing, and Technology. Her leadership across consumer insights, marketing, advertising, communications, special events, public affairs, and sales translated to exceptional results for powerhouse brands including Procter & Gamble (P&G), BET Networks (Viacom), and Dell. In addition to driving volume, share, and rating increases for P&G and BET, respectively, Lawson created multiple award-winning creative campaigns.

As BET’s first senior executive head of marketing and communications, Lawson co-created and led all non-production elements of the biggest tentpole events in the country, including the BET Awards, Celebration of Gospel, Hip Hop Awards, BET Honors, and more. Lawson and her teams received hundreds of awards, including Telly, Promax, BDA, NAMIC, CTAM, CTPAA, and NAACP Image Awards, for their work on multiple shows and tentpole specials.

Lawson has a passion for serving her community with work that positively impacts people of color. In that vein, she proudly created BET's Emmy Award-winning HIV/AIDS program called Rap-It-Up; and the BET Foundation, a 501(c)3 focused on obesity and other health-related issues that disproportionately affect the African American community.

In 2020, Lawson launched The SonRise Project, a safe space for parents of children who struggle with mental wellness. A proud mother of two teenaged sons, Lawson has experienced these challenges first-hand. Driven to make a difference, she hosts weekly calls on Sundays at 9 am ET to allow experts to share knowledge with parents who can listen and learn from one another. Registration is free and confidential.

Lawson is from Cleveland, Ohio (an unwavering Brown’s fan!) and is a proud graduate of Howard University. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, and is a generous mother, wife, and friend. She lives in Bethesda, MD, with her husband Keith and her two sons, Kyle and Kristopher.

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