Rikki Vaughn grew up in the West and East Baltimore communities.

Rikki’s mother worked as a paralegal and his father worked as a Child Enforcement Agent for the State of Maryland. Both are now happily retired. Rikki’s early education was provided by the Baltimore City Public School System. Rikki attended Furman L. Temple, Madison Square and St. James and John for elementary school. He attended St. Katherine’s for middle school.

Rikki was very active while growing up. Rikki volunteered at Oliver Recreation Center, acted as a Baltimore City Police Explorer Candidate and served as Vice President of the Baltimore City Youth Council for two terms.

Rikki attended Southern Senior High School for ninth and tenth grade but dropped out before concluding his sophomore year. As an adolescent, Rikki did not see the value of education, so he left school and entered the workforce. At age 14, Rikki began working at McDonald’s as a cashier and felt that this path was more realistic than staying in school. Rikki received several promotions and was eventually given a management position at the age of 18.

At 18, Rikki’s life took a dramatic turn when he married his high school sweetheart, became a father and found himself supporting three people while working in the service industry. With bills piling up and a newborn in dire need of basic necessities, Rikki committed robbery. He felt that robbery was his only option given his circumstances and was arrested and jailed. Rikki accepted a plea bargain for probation, which gave him a felony record.

Rikki makes no excuses for his crime and admits that he was young and immature. As a man, he looks back to see that there were better options. Robbery was simply the culmination of many immature decisions that he made. Rikki owns his background, which is similar to millions of other Americans. Rikki’s story is unique because it did not end in recidivism or a life of being caught in the system.

Following his release from jail, Rikki’s situation became even more dire. He had no education, possessed a criminal record and found himself homeless, using abandoned apartments as shelter every night.

At this time, Rikki was given a life-changing second opportunity. He was allowed to resume his role as store manager at McDonald’s. This gave him a fresh start, and Rikki committed himself and rose through the ranks. Rikki became an area supervisor, training manager, director of operations and Vice President of Operations. These accomplishments all occurred before Rikki turned 25 years old.

Although Rikki’s work ethic was unmatched, he was ultimately held back by his lack of education. With the help of his McDonald’s franchise owner, Rikki returned to school to obtain his GED. At the age of 25, Rikki completed his GED and decided to attend college. Rikki attended Florence-Darlington Tech, which he used as a springboard for acceptance to the University of South Carolina Sumter. Here, Rikki completed his Associates of Arts in Criminal Justice. Rikki then attended Hampton University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Following this achievement, Rikki received his MBA with a 3.87 GPA from the University of the Southwest. Presently, Rikki is attending the Abraham Lincoln University School of Law, where he is seeking to obtain a Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree in order to provide legal help to underprivileged members of minority communities.

Following these successes, Rikki decided to return to the restaurant industry as an owner. Rikki entered into several partnership agreements to own numerous restaurants including: Vaughn’s Taste of Soul, Checkers, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Church’s Chicken.

Rikki parlayed these accomplishments into the creation of his own brand, Vaughn’s Restaurant Group. Rikki is also the former CEO of Burgerim, a national burger chain that saw rapid growth under Rikki’s leadership.

In his personal life, Rikki is married to Ellen Vaughn. The two are proud parents of a one-year-old son. Rikki’s focus is on his family, who he credits for helping him to achieve his goals as an entrepreneur.