Riana Khan, the blueprint of what it is to be a New Yorker

Tiffany Persaud, Features & Lifestyle Editor

It’s hard to avoid Riana Khan on Iona College’s campus. Professors praise her, her face is pictured everywhere, and her businesses are blooming. Her popularity and success didn’t come easy though; Khan arrived at Iona without any direction. 

Living only with her mom her whole life, Khan was a shy soul and became even more of a recluse in her freshmen year. The only memory she had as an incoming freshman was going to class and immediately going back to her dorm after. Isolated in bed, Khan was beginning to doubt her choice in coming to Iona. 

Her second semester at Iona became a major turnaround when she landed an internship at Gael Ventures, the original entrepreneurship hub before the Hynes Institute was built. Ironically, she acquired this internship as an e-board member for the Ionian. Photography was her main hobby, so she took pictures at every event for the newspaper.  

Through her photography, Riana is able to touch others through the stories an image can tell. Her love for photos inspires her daily to establish new ideas, develop her thoughts and collaborate with others. She aspires to have her photos evoke laughter, compassion and hope.  

BLK media became another priority for Khan. Through podcasts, photo series, interviews and videos, Khan and her co-founder, Ivan Reynolds MBA ’21, capture what it is to be a person of color in America and to show people’s true identities. 

“I always try to look for experiences that align with who I am because if you don’t love what you do, you’re not going to want to wake up in the morning,” Khan said. “You, yourself, are a brand.”  

As a woman of color, she has personally experienced seeing a lack of diversity in all forms of media which doesn’t align with equality. There are countless noteworthy advancements people of color have done for the media, yet they severely lack representation. Their goal is to document their experiences and share creative works to end racial stereotypes.  

“I’m proud to be able to say that if I want something I can go out and get it,” Khan said. “I can put myself in those places where people don’t look like me or aren’t in the same position as me.”  

Khan is a first-generation college student, so there wasn’t much guidance from her mom; she had to find her home away from home by herself. Her mom might not provide specific advice, but she gives endless support, love and comfort, which is more important than any curriculum or business suggestion.  

In turn, Khan acts as the mom of the CEO club at Iona of which she has been president since her sophomore year. Being heavily involved in all things entrepreneurial at Iona, she double majors in marketing and was also the first student to declare an entrepreneurship major at Iona.  

While juggling many businesses, Khan also devotes time to leisure. Whether it be an art museum date with her boyfriend or going on a stroll with her camera in hand, she finds serenity by being off campus for a little. She personally understands the importance of de-stressing. Therefore, she allows for activities such as building Legos in CEO clubs.  

“I try to do everything by myself, and I forget that I have an e-board to rely on,” Khan said. “I’m a perfectionist and want the club to succeed. I think the way I deal with challenges is by realizing I’m not alone.”  

Now a senior and still an intern at the Hynes Institute, Khan has nothing but praise for the resources the program has provided for her and others during their creative journey. She’s seen firsthand how impactful it is to have an entrepreneurial mindset not in a business setting.  

Creativity applies to every job, not just entrepreneurship. Khan believes that everyone is an entrepreneur in their own way because it takes effort and risk to get anywhere in life. She has become an innovator and empath through her journey as a woman of color, an artist and first-gen daughter.