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Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Powell ‘98

Story by
Trisha Radulovich

Ryan Powell is a Managing Director and the Global Innovation Lead for Accenture, a Fortune Global 500 global technology consulting firm. The Florida A&M University alumni graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1998 from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and has been unstoppable ever since.

Accenture has 514,000 employees globally, 6,000 clients across 120 countries, and 7900 patents pending worldwide. They work with 91 of the Fortune Global 100 and as of 2020, they have made 18 consecutive appearances on the list of Fortune’s "World’s Most Admired Companies

Powell is part of the Salesforce Business Group in the Northeast and has a global team that uses innovation and technology to solve problems that appear to be unsolvable. 

ryan powell
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and Florida A&M University alumnus Ryan Powell, electrical engineering class of 1998.

“I face off with senior technology leaders on a regular basis trying to solve their toughest problems,” Powell said. “In recent months our team has been working with states and several countries to rapidly enable contact tracing and vaccine management solutions for the pandemic, it has been very rewarding to know you are helping people this way.”

Powell reflected on the importance of the college experience to his success.

“The HBCU experience was really important to me,” Powell said. “We moved to the U.S. from Jamaica when I was ten years old and I would have been lost in the corporate world, without learning how to navigate from the guidance and education I got in school.”

Powell and his sister are the first generations in their family to go to college. He explained one group that helped him a lot was the Caribbean Student Association (CSA). He was also involved with the National Society of Black Engineers, Tau Beta Pi and Student Government. 

“I met several students from CSA who had similar stories to mine, students with immigrant parents, who came to the states as children,” Powell said. “They were dealing with the same kinds of things I was experiencing and their support was really invaluable to me.”

Powell had friends from both FAMU and Florida State University while at the joint engineering college and explained how the experience helped him later in life.

“We had some good conversations,” Powell said. “I felt like the background I got from the diversity of their experiences gave me a much better understanding when I stepped into the corporate world.”

From the moment Powell graduated with his engineering degree, he has had many proud moments, and his journey continues to surprise every step of the way. He had some advice for students about balance and making sure they get the full college experience.

“As a student you have to explore, force yourself to try different things,” Powell said. “The professional world requires you to do more than just one thing, so don’t put boundaries on yourself and don’t let fear get in the way of success.”

Powell currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children. Find him on LinkedIn.