Ryan Messer lives with his husband Jimmy and their three children — all current and future public school students — in North Avondale. Ryan has also lived in Westwood, Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
Ryan attended Rising Sun public schools before attending Purdue University. As a first-generation college student from a rural background, Ryan worked three jobs starting his freshman year to make ends meet. He took on campus leadership roles in organizations such as the Interfraternity Council, Purdue Musical Organizations, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and Old Masters. In his senior year he received the coveted Purdue McGaughey Leadership Award and was named Greek Man of the Year.
Following college, Ryan was selected from the graduating seniors in Indiana to receive the Indiana Governor’s Fellowship, which allowed him to spend a year working for then-Governor Even Bayh at the State Capitol in Indianapolis. This experience whet his appetite for public service, as he witnessed the impact the Governor and other leaders could have on the lives of those like his family back home.
Always open to opportunities, Ryan took a call from a headhunter that would change the course of his life. The recruiter was filling a sales position with Johnson & Johnson. Within two weeks, Ryan began his career in business. Over the past 20 years, Ryan has been promoted to leadership positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing and professional education. He is widely known at J&J for leading diverse, high-performing teams, for his strategic mindset, and for his ability to work collaboratively throughout the organization. During his career, he has had access to some of the best training available in the business world in areas such as financial management, strategic planning and organizational development – the kind of training that can help strengthen the seven-member Cincinnati School Board.
In 2011, Ryan co-founded a local property development company that has made investments both in the city of Cincinnati and near his Indiana hometown.
Throughout his life, Ryan has been a community leader, volunteer and grass-roots organizer. He chose Westwood as his home when he moved home to Cincinnati in 2001, and the neighborhood will always hold a special place in his heart. He then spent five years each in downtown and Over-the-Rhine before settling into North Avondale last year.
A passionate neighborhood champion, Ryan served two terms as president of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council. He also co-founded Future Leaders OTR, a neighborhood-based youth program that works to teach life skills, leadership and financial acumen for youth in grades 7-12.
A tenacious advocate for the Cincinnati region, he is a graduate of the Leadership Cincinnati and the C-Change programs through the Chamber of Commerce. He helped to establish the Cincinnati chapter of the Human Rights Campaign and served as Federal Club chair for five years.
Ryan is a board member of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Opera. He served on the STOP AIDS Board for 10 years and now serves on the Caracole Board of Directors.
He was founder and served as Board president of Believe in Cincinnati, the grassroots organization founded in 2013 that united and mobilized thousands of city residents.
Ryan received the Cincinnati Community Catalyst award in 2016 at the Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit for his tireless efforts in his neighborhood and beyond. He also received the Lighthouse Youth Services Beacon of Light award and the Johnson & Johnson Community Impact award for his work with Future Leaders OTR.
As your next Cincinnati Public School Board Member, Ryan Messer will represent all parents and children across the District to ensure every child has the opportunity to achieve her or his potential.