Shanell Williams is Community Engagement Specialist for the California Preterm Birth Initiative and a member of the Board of Trustees at City College of San Francisco. Over the past 16 years, Shanell has served thousands of San Franciscans as an informed, passionate and dedicated public advocate, nonprofit leader and community organizer. From mentoring youth trapped in cycles of incarceration—to saving city college from a near loss of accreditation and closure for the past four years— Shanell has worked tirelessly to improve all San Franciscan’s quality of life. She has worked for numerous nonprofit agencies and labor organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life of marginalized, low-income communities such as: the Center for Young Women’s Development, Youth Leadership Institute, UNITE HERE Local 2, Jobs with Justice SF, and Urban Services YMCA to name a few.
Shanell is a 2005 Jefferson Award recipient and was honored for her work in co-founding Youth Treatment and Education Court Leadership Fellows, as she helped develop a curriculum to train court administrators, judges, probation officers and thousands of service providers nationwide in culturally competent drug treatment for youth. She also received the 2013 San Francisco Bay Guardian Local Hero Award for her CCSF advocacy, as well as the Harvey Milk Democratic Club’s “City College Champion” Award in 2014. Shanell is a graduate of Women’s Policy Institute, the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment, an Emerge California 2016 alumna, and has served on the San Francisco Youth Commission, the Juvenile Justice Commission and other community boards.