Risikat is the quirky product of a Nigerian immigrant father and Black American mother from Missouri. Born and raised in Minnesota's northwest suburbs, she enjoyed the delights and oddities of a multicultural upbringing. At her core, Risikat is passionate about demystifying complex processes and cultural mores, and making information accessible to everyday people.
Risikat attended the University of Northern Colorado, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in an ambitious two years. She then took on an intensive AmeriCorps service position helping new American families from Central America and East Africa navigate the public school system in Weld County, Colorado.
Heartened by her experiences serving people in need, Risikat returned to Minnesota in 2010 and began working in the nonprofit sector. In addition to securing housing for over 350 families experiencing homelessness in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro, she helped bolster frank conversations about how to approach nonprofit programming through an equity lens.
In 2013, Risikat completed a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management at Concordia University-St. Paul. Her master's thesis, "Stratification, Communication Tactics, and Black Women: Navigating the Social Domain of Nonprofit Organizations" was published in the Allied Academies' Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications, and Conflict in 2014. Risikat also supported nonprofits doing equity work as an Advisory Board member of Fourth Generation Fund, a program of the Minneapolis Foundation. Her communications expertise helped the group raise over $300,000 in four years.
After a brief stint as a researcher for the Minnesota Department of Human Services' Direct Care and Treatment Administration, Risikat turned her sights to another area of need: Environmental Justice. In her five years as a Communications Strategist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Risikat worked to convey complex environmental information to communities, resolve controversial issues, and influence legislation. She was instrumental in developing Minnesota's 2015 Environmental Justice Framework - the state's first attempt at operationalizing how the agency incorporates equity principles as a regulatory entity.
Risikat's environmental work briefly traveled beyond Minnesota’s borders, with a 2018 consulting deployment to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) in Washington, D.C. Risikat’s chief mission there was to provide strategic communications counsel to ECOS’ leadership team. She also served six years on the Minnesota Environmental Fund's Board of Directors, promoting philanthropy through workplace giving.
In 2019, Risikat transitioned to serve as the Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director for Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. There, she worked to inform every eligible Minnesota voter about their constitutional right to vote.
Risikat is a Board Director for Fresh Energy, an organization devoted to driving energy policy, as well as Freshwater, an organization committed to translating science into policy and action to preserve our freshwater resources. Risikat also volunteers for Mobile Menders, a group that helps reduce textile waste by offering free mending services around the Twin Cities.