Shanita Baraka Akintonde is a strategic communication and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion expert, TEDx speaker, and senior consultant who utilizes 25 years of academic, branding, and communication experience to support dreamers, especially those who, like her, see the world through technicolor lenses.
Shanita was bit by the DEI bug over 30 years ago. It was a time in which her personal floodgate of ‘firsts’ burst open. She made history as the maiden Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) awardee from Columbia College Chicago where she has taught marketing and communication courses for more than 20 years.
Following her MAIP success, Shanita blazed another trail. This time as the inaugural recipient of The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Multicultural Diversity Scholarship. Both visionary groups jumpstarted a career for a little Black girl from the South Side of Chicago that led to working with clients including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble.
While President of ShanitaSpeaks, a marketing, media communication, and education consulting company, Shanita has served as National D&I Chair and 2020-21 National Chapter Diversity Liaison Director for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a DEI Consultant for the American Marketing Association, and a DEI & Outreach Director for the National Speakers Association’s Illinois Chapter.
Shanita obtained a BA in Marketing Communication and Media Studies from Columbia College Chicago, a Master of Business Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master of Education from Loyola University Chicago.