Honoree Headshot

Raoul Davis

CEO
Ascendant Group

Location: Newark, DE
Founded: 2004
Industry: Public Relations | CEO Branding

Raoul Davis’ understanding of the importance of personal branding started at the historically Black university Winston-Salem State University, where he did his undergraduate studies. He ran for a seniorlevel position in student government, and his competition was a member of a popular sorority who soundly defeated Davis. The next year, he won his election against a football player by specifically choosing a running mate who was a member of the same sorority he lost to the year before; he had learned the value of strategic partnerships.

This paved the way for him to step into the world of public relations and marketing while still an undergrad. A speakers bureau brought rapper KRSOne to campus and had an audience of about 1,100 students, so Davis reached out to the bureau and asked if they had any internships available. They said no. He asked if they’d give him one anyway, and he started booking speakers with universities across the country and became one of their top salespeople, working about 15 hours a week from the East Coast.

While Davis was working on his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Delaware, two clients suggested he start his own company. The resulting business launched in 2004, specializing in managing public speakers. It evolved over the next five years to eventually become the Ascendant Group.

Ascendant Group is a public relations company specializing in CEO branding. “We became the first global business to develop a fully integrated execution model for CEO branding,” the company said. “We develop brand strategy and execute through public relations, social media, book deals, design and strategic positioning. We’ve always been willing to push the envelope and go further.”

Davis has led Ascendant to become the No. 1-ranked, minority-owned public relations firm in the country, according to Clutch and The Manifest, as well as the No. 3 agency worldwide by Adworld Master’s artificial intelligence-based ranking for agencies.

Davis is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, has participated in entrepreneurship forums at the White House and U.S. Senate and is a member of Young Entrepreneur Council and a lifetime member of CEO Clubs. Davis has built an exclusive, privatesector executive client list that has included Fortune 50 executives, multibillion-dollar Chinese-based businesses, retired athletes, CEOs at companies with $5–$100 million in revenue, and New York Times best-selling authors.

“At Ascendant Group, we balance having experience with leadership and youthful, fresh team members that bring new ideas to the table,” Davis said. “It is of the utmost importance to stay in tune with what is trending and therefore I make it my duty to continually read up on the latest trends and always have a new book to read. By following social influencers as well, I am able to maintain what is important and relevant to consumers in the present time as well. By implementing all of these strategies, as a leader and a company we are always able to be relentlessly pushing beyond the norms.”

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Honoree fun fact

Although incredibly driven and a leader who listens to his team, he isn't all work and no play. A favorite pastime is watching all the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies and TV shows as soon as they release.

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