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Student Spotlight: Shanna Sims
This particular blog post was guest written by Shanna Sims. Ms. Sims is currently enrolled in CityU’s Master of Business Administration program.
February 22, 2023 – This month is Black History Month. I am honored to have been the first Project Leader of the Clean Up Project as well as the first African American student who won the first-ever Enactus Early-Stage National Award for City University of Seattle. I am thankful to my team (shown below), Harry Jinwala, who stepped up to become the second Project Leader to implement the project, and our advisor, Kathy Cox for selecting me for the role.
Being a student at CityU has been a tremendous journey for me. It allowed me to apply prior knowledge along with what I’ve learned to accomplish a vision of opening doors for others. The first stage of the Clean Up Project was to train people who are homeless in the process of graffiti removal. It is a specialized skill that involves the use of eco-friendly products. The second stage was to expand into industrial cleaning in hopes that the workers could start their own businesses. The Statement of Work included helping the City of Seattle by removing unsightly graffiti around the city. The Clean Up Project was purposely set up as a win-win for everyone – the workers, the city, and everyone who lived in or visited the City of Seattle.
The Clean Up Project has allowed CityU Enactus to partner with some extraordinary people and businesses such as Gina Hall, Executive Director, of UpLift NW, Adam Kopcho, President, of Graffiti Removal, Inc., Tom Graff, the Board Chair of Belltown, Pat Kaufman, Green Business Program Manager of Recycle/Compost/Reuse, and Kim Folsom, Founder, and CEO of First Capital Partners.
Being an African American means that there are a lot of firsts. I am the first and only in my immediate family to hold not only a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Emphasis Marketing, but I am also the only one to hold a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and will soon hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Emphasis Project Management as I will be one of the graduates this June 2023.
I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors who came before me. For instance, people like John Lewis who likes to get in “good trouble”, and Martin Luther King, Jr. who believed that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” and those that were hidden figures such as Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, who made it possible for the first man to set foot on the moon!
Enactus is a program that allows students an opportunity to be active as entrepreneurs creating projects to solve problems within their communities and around the world. There are countless African Americans that many may not know as successful entrepreneurs. To name a few, Clara Brown owned a laundry business in the 1850s, Frederick Patterson manufactured cars that competed with the Ford Model T, and Maggie Lena Walker chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. They were all the first African Americans to accomplish the impossible during a troublesome period for African Americans in America’s history.
As we embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are learning that we still have a long way to go. We must appreciate one another’s differences. Our differences make us unique. It allows us to innovate more effectively because of how each of us sees things through different lenses. I am so proud and grateful to have been able to work with such a diverse team. We have accomplished so much through the Clean Up Project by bringing the community together to solve two problems!
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