Shana grew up in an interracial family in Indianapolis, Indiana where she was one of a handful of students of color attending the magnet high school. She quickly learned that the most powerful differences between black and white kids were resources and access to opportunity. Shana’s family was rich in love and support; her parents repeated the message that she could do anything she wanted. She was motivated from an early age to give other young people the same strengths and convictions, no matter their color, no matter their gender.
Outwardly confident, smart and poised, she nonetheless felt something was wrong with her as a high school student because she was black and a girl. (She learned later that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her!) Curious about inequities, she studied power dynamics at Indiana University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Afro-American Studies (with Honors) and Political Science and later earned a Master of Nonprofit Management at the New School. Shana dove into helping people in need with her first real job serving those affected by 9/11. She then spent three years with Catholic Charities in workforce development before joining Geoffrey Canada at the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) where she oversaw early childhood and K-12 Programs.
In 2014 Shana left the Big Apple for the River City, Jacksonville, FL, to join PACE as the Chief Program Officer. Reporting to the CEO, Shana oversees 19 centers across the state serving 2,000 high school girls who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Through counseling and education, PACE has changed the trajectory of thousands of lives. PACE aims to ensure girls feel more valued, safe and powerful. Shana is implementing a more data-driven model and has launched three new pilots to reach girls outside the centers. Because the program has been so successful, Shana is now strategizing to scale the model nationally, with Georgia as PACE’s first new state.
Shana and her partner Aniefre (Nef) get great parenting practice with the 2,000 PACE girls and look forward to applying the lessons learned to their own kids one day.