Rocky Williform has been described in many ways, the Wall Street Journal describes him as an "activist," the Houston Chronicle says he is a "leader," Jezebel Magazine calls him is a "major player," Rollingout Magazine a "visionary," and Black Tie magazine a "heavy hitter."
Despite all these accolades Williform was not raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. Growing up as the fifth of eight children north of Houston, Texas, Williform has been a hard worker for most of his life. With a divorced mother, Rocky and his brother had to learn how to help care for a large family well before they became men.
Rocky and his brother would find ways to make ends meet as preteens. The two boys traveled from the projects to affluent neighborhoods, knocking on doors and offering to do odd jobs. In his teenage years, Williform spent summers working on construction sites and at one point learned to make fiberglass speed boats. While Williform understood that consistent and diligent work brought financial security, he also understood the value of a good formal education. He eventually attended Texas Southern University and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science.
As a college student he'd made a name for himself as a politically and socially conscious leader on and off campus. In addition to working as a political activist he also became a Texas democratic fundraiser. All of his hard work in this field led to his building strong relationships with important contacts in business and politics. He was appointed to a statewide political board and met his first mentor while in school. His counsel was a Federal Reserve board member, who suggested he get involved with investment banking. This board member contacted a New Jersey power couple who had strong ties to American business: the husband was chairman of a New York investment bank and his wife was the overseer of Wharton School of Business.
Upon his college graduation his plans to enter law school would be altered and he would move to Manhattan, bypass the demanding analyst program, and become a corporate investment banker participating in takeovers. He'd gain another mentor just after his stint in New York when he was appointed CEO of a small merchant banking firm based in Dallas, Texas. Lloyd Ward, was president of Frito-Lay when he began to show Williform the intricacies of big business on the fortune level. Ward moved on from Frito-Lay, becoming chairman and CEO of the $5 billion Maytag Corporation, and then CEO and Secretary General of the U.S. Olympic Committee while serving on the board of fortune 100 companies: JP Morgan Chase and General Motors. When Ward left the USOC, he and Williform founded BodyBlocks Nutrition Systems with an initial $3 million in startup and raised several millions from New York private equity to further capitalize the company. Williform served as president, while Ward maintained the position of chairman and CEO. BodyBlocks specialized in making nutritional beverages; the initial marketing push was complete when 5-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson signed on as celebrity endorser.
Williform and his partner then bid to acquire the $331 million Sara Lee Coffee & Tea Division during its divestiture, making a $99 million cash offer. While they survived all the way to the final round of bidding, their competitor, an Italy based company, out bid them slightly. Having spent almost $1 million on this endeavor, Rocky describes this attempt as an expensive but invaluable learning experience. Williform and his partner would make an additional acquisition attempt, but this time to take control of China's second largest fruit & vegetable juice company, offering $50 million (300 million RMB). This bid was unsuccessful, but the company would later successfully take control of China's largest organic dairy. Williform sold his interest in the company in June of 2006.
In 2007, Williform decided to try his hand at yet another venture, taking advantage of a world obsessed with staying connected through online social networking. He started the social network StreetCred, with Atlanta superstar rapper Clifford T".I." Harris. With T.I.'s endorsement and launch of the site on BET's hit 106 & Park television show the website gained instant popularity worldwide. The website was touted by other Hip-hop notables as well, including Diddy, Snoop, Nelly, Common and T-Pain. However, by 2009, Williform moved on from StreetCred to build HipHopBlog.com, an "interactive media" network. HipHopBlog.com is dedicated to the ever changing state of the Hip-Hop culture. It has quickly grown to become one of the top most visited urban networks and ranks in the top 10 percent of websites worldwide.
In addition, Williform holds rights to intellectual property. He has patents pending on MixP3, a new format for music distribution, and YouBlog, a proprietary Interactive Media Sharing component for media networks. In 2006 he bought the rights to Freaknik, which was acquired two years later, on behalf of the Cartoon Network, for a television show featuring Grammy awarding winning artist T-Pain.
From working to help raise the family as a preteen, while growing up in public housing, becoming a New York investment banker, playing big in the beverage industry and on to new media, Williform has defied odds and moved beyond limitations. Rocky Williform has disproven stereotypes since age ten and he is on his way to making his imprint in business much more defined.
Williform has written op-eds for national newspapers and received several honors for his works, including the UNCF meritorious service award for education fundraising. He is a trained martial artist and resides primarily in Atlanta, GA.