Ryann Denham bio

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Ryann Denham bio
ryann@suwn.org Boston


Ryann Denham Deveney serves Step Up as chief external relations officer. In this role, she creates, leads and implements an integrated resource development strategy, which builds dynamic new relationships while deepening existing partnerships to strengthen the organization's visibility, impact and financial resources nationally. Ryann's work enhances the ways Step Up stakeholders across the country collaborate.

Prior to Step Up, Ryann spent the past decade with City Year, where she most recently served as regional vice president. In this role, Ryann oversaw sites in Baton Rouge, Dallas, New Orleans, San Antonio and Tulsa, working closely with executive directors and their teams to ensure operational success and growth by generating resources and building support from the public and private sectors.

She started her career with City Year New York in operations, and then went on to serve at City Year Baton Rouge in a number of senior staff roles, including chief of staff, development director, and executive director. As executive director from 2015-2017, Ryann led the organization through its strategic growth plan with the goal of providing more tutors and mentors to the students of Baton Rouge who were working toward high school graduation. During her tenure, City Year Baton Rouge grew from 72 AmeriCorps members, seven partner schools, a staff team of 15, and a $2.2 million budget, to 101 AmeriCorps members serving in 13 schools, 22 staff members, and a $4.5 million budget.

Born and raised in South Louisiana, Ryann received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Louisiana State University. In 2018, Ryann was recognized by Voices for National Service as National Service Advocate of the Year, and in 2017, she was a recipient of the Forty Under 40 award from the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. Ryann is an active member of the Junior League of Boston, where she currently serves on the Community Service Grants Committee. She is also part of the Women in Nonprofit (WIN) Network, a joint initiative between the Women's Foundation of Boston and the Red Sox Foundation. She spends the remainder of her spare time in awe of her children, George Jr. and Julie.

Get to Know Ryann
What has your mentor taught you?
Jennifer Eplett Reilly taught me how to be bold and that greatness does not lie within one person but comes from building a community around a vision.

Lori Bertman shows me every day that "Advocacy is not about self-preservation, but rather self-appreciation, which allows you to value others, embrace their vulnerability, and provide a positive force toward our interdependence."

Gwen Hamilton taught me the importance of being authentic, cutting to the chase, and being really real.

Which Step Up values resonates with you most?
Culture of Community and Respectful Relationships- to me, these values embody the idea that you can't do anything alone -- more than that, you shouldn't. People are the power, they matter and relationships matter even more. Sharing ideas, experiences, and mistakes is how you develop trust and a sense of community and working together is how you create positive change.

What do you enjoy most about working at Step Up?
At Step Up, I am grateful to be surrounded by women who push me outside of my comfort zone every day. They lead with passion and confidence and embrace vulnerability so that Step Up teens everywhere have the opportunity to do the same.

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