Image of Ryan Ford
Jury

Ryan Ford
EVP, Chief Creative Officer
Cashmere

LOS ANGELES, USA // Ryan Ford was always destined for a career within the culture industry. At just 12 years old, the young hip-hop supporter began DJing on a local radio station in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. The popularity of his weekly broadcast quickly earned Ryan credibility as a growing expert in the music and culture of the genre. Continuing to expand this knowledge over time, Ryan’s prowess took him from the Iowa airwaves to a critical role at one of the most influential music publications ever. He has since graduated to the position of Executive Vice President / Chief Creative Officer at lifestyle marketing authority, Cashmere Agency. His work driven by an unrivaled passion for beats and rhymes, Ryan withstands as one of the most multifaceted talents in the business.

During his college years, Ryan flirted with another love: football. When he was accepted into the University of Kansas in 1995, it was as an offensive guard for the Jayhawks. Music, however, remained an unfulfilled calling. He eventually transferred to the University of Iowa, where hip-hop again became his primary focus. His expertise earned him a role at the university radio station as Urban Music Director. While juggling the responsibilities inherent to that title, Ryan interned for the Iowa Bystander . The historic publication holds the distinction of being the oldest black newspaper west of the Mississippi. The experience gleaned from his time at the Bystander equipped Ryan with the skills necessary to depart Iowa with a B.A. in Journalism.

Eager to continue advancing, Ryan moved to Los Angeles to pursue a master’s degree in African-American Studies at UCLA. He also held a focus area in Ethnomusicology. Upon arrival in California, Ryan quickly gained an esteemed reputation as a freelance journalist, naturally specializing in the field of music. His writing was sought by numerous high-profile publications, including the often-touted hip-hop “bible,” The Source . Upon his graduation, he was eventually hired as the magazine’s West Coast Correspondent. Ryan then determinedly climbed the masthead until finally landing the role of Executive Editor.

Ryan interviewed hundreds of artists, executives, politicians, activists and celebrities during his eight years with The Source . In addition to playing a pivotal role in the construction and content of every issue, Ryan penned numerous cover features for the publication. These included luminaries like Kanye West, Diddy, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and another icon that he would soon work with in a different capacity, Snoop Dogg. His tenure at The Source meant that Ryan’s input was even sought by major television networks. He made several on-camera contributions to programs like True Hollywood Story and Behind The Music.

After accomplishing all that he hoped to as a music journalist, Ryan joined Cashmere Agency, one of the entertainment industry’s premier digital marketing agencies. In his current capacity, Ryan oversees all creative and communication strategies. As the agency’s foremost creative mind, Ryan builds out many of Cashmere’s most successful programs and campaigns. He constantly works to identify and integrate the changing dynamics between brands and culture and employs strategies on behalf of a growing list of clients. This formidable line-up of clients includes Netflix, NBCUniversal, Disney, Adidas, GE, Beats, Youtube and Amazon.

Ryan works most closely with is his former cover story subject, hip-hop icon, Snoop Dogg. Cashmere has redefined the legendary MC as one of the best brand faces and most tech-savvy artists in the world today. Through the agency’s creative campaigns and consistent stream of unique digital content, Cashmere has made Snoop’s social platforms the hub of an array of music videos, brand partnerships and content. Ryan’s dedication to providing fans an interactive Snoop Dogg experience has helped take the esteemed rapper to more than 100 million online followers and maintain Top 100 worldwide status on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.