Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ricki Fairley, CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, located in Annapolis, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Black women are 41% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. Black women under 35 get breast cancer twice the rate of white women and die at three times the rate.

We are on a mission to eradicate Black Breast Cancer! TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance drives the collaborative efforts of patients, survivors, advocates, advocacy organizations, health care professionals, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies to work towards the common goal of eradicating Black Breast Cancer. Our work requires partnership, shared resources and knowledge, and consistent action so that we can hold each other accountable for advancing critical, life-saving science for Black breast cancer survivors/thrivers.

Tell us about yourself

As a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor/Thriver, my personal purpose, passion, mission, ministry, and blessing is to bring focus, attention, research, science, and action to eradicating Black Breast Cancer and supporting and coaching what I call “Breasties” through their breast cancer experience.

I am an award-winning seasoned marketing veteran that has transformed my strategic acumen into breast cancer advocacy. I am the co-founder and CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, to address Black Breast Cancer as a unique and special disease state, with the overall goal of reducing the mortality rate for Black women. I founded and served as co-host for “The Doctor Is In,” a weekly live breast cancer advocacy web series on the Facebook page that reaches over 3 million viewers. Also, a member of #BlackDataMatters, in partnership with Citizen, The Center for Health Care Innovation, and Morehouse School of Medicine to encourage and elevate the importance of Black Women participating in clinical trial research. In January 2022, I started the When We Tri(al) Movement to change the game on Black women participating in clinical trials to improve outcomes for Black women with breast cancer.

I am currently serving as the marketing committee of the Board of Trustees for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. And a board member for the Center for Healthcare Innovation, non-profit research and educational institute making healthcare more equitable. I work with pharmaceutical companies to provide the patient voice for breast cancer awareness, action, therapy/drug development, and advocacy.

I have two daughters, Amanda Brown Lierman and Hayley Brown, and three granddaughters, Belle, Leia, and Hart, who remind me of my purpose every day. I graduated from Dartmouth College and hold an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I was blessed to make the radio ads for the second Obama for America campaign and got national recognition from the ANA for that effort. However, my biggest accomplishment has been founding TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, because I have been able to translate my marketing experience and acumen into living my purpose.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Hiring people that reflect your values, work ethic, and pursuit of excellence.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Be excellent at your craft to set yourself apart from your competition. Never burn a bridge—every relationship has a purpose. Get shit done!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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