Since May 2023, Shanell has served as Interim Executive Director for Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness. Prior to stepping into the role, she was a member of Rafiki’s Board of Directors since 2021. She has focused on improving Black/African American maternal and child health outcomes for nine years as Director of Community Engagement for the California Preterm Birth Initiative at UCSF. She is a citywide elected Trustee and past President of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees, and an elected member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. Over the past 25 years, Shanell has served thousands of San Franciscans as an informed, passionate, and dedicated public advocate, nonprofit leader, and community organizer. Shanell has worked tirelessly to improve all San Franciscan’s quality of life.
Shanell has worked for numerous nonprofit agencies and labor organizations dedicated to serving marginalized BIPOC communities, such as the Young Women’s Freedom Center, Youth Leadership Institute, UNITE HERE Local 2, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, and Urban Services YMCA. She is a recipient of the Jefferson Award and the San Francisco Bay Guardian Local Hero Award. She has earned a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University and is completing an M.A. in Urban and Public Affairs and a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco. She is a graduate of the Women’s Policy Institute, the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment, and Emerge California. She has served as the Chair of the Our City, Our Home (Proposition C) Oversight Committee, on the Oversight Committee for the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII), Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Board, the San Francisco Youth Commission, the Juvenile Justice Commission, and other commissions and boards. Shanell has worked in partnership with the board, staff, and community to strengthen Rafiki’s organizational capacity and programs.