Shontavia Johnson serves as a highly acclaimed writer, speaker and attorney thriving at the intersection of law, innovation, and pop culture.
A Southerner by birth, I have built a company that allows me to connect my love of learning with my strong interest in all things related to innovation, technology and culture. Through my speaking, writing, and work in higher education, I get to connect with people like you who have similar interests.
How did I get here?
I have always wanted to help educate people using culture and the world around us as the foundation. When I was ten years old, I had a school book report assignment to research the Middle Passage—the ocean journey taken by slave ships from the African Continent to the Americas. I was so transfixed by this story that I could not just write a traditional report. I instead drafted several fictional diary entries, written from the perspective of an African man stolen from his homeland and making the Middle Passage journey. I wrote about his hopes, his dreams, and his fears surrounding his current and future circumstances. Not content to just write diary entries, I burned the edges of the pages. I used coffee stains to give them an authentic look and feel. I also bound all of these pages together in a worn, leather-like cover. I do not remember what grade I got on the report, but what I do recall is that teachers in local public schools began using my diary entries to teach their students about the Middle Passage.
My business is the grown-up version of ten-year-old me. I founded it after realizing that I could help people learn, answer burning questions, or solve huge problems by de-complicating their issues. Through my speaking, writing, and commentating, I take complex topics and break them down into digestible pieces so that people can learn new things.
Teaching is in my blood.
My mother spent her entire career educating kids in some of the poorest public schools in the United States, and I watched her mold and save the lives of countless students. Seeing her dedication to education inspired me, and I use the lessons she’s taught me each and every day.
I believe strongly in the power of education. Because of this, I want to bridge the divide between academia and the public through my work online and in the physical world. I have spent a good portion of my career in higher education and have seen firsthand how knowledge can open doors for all kinds of people.
I am driven by curiosity.
I’ve always loved to read. I’m curious about so many different things and enjoy learning about people, places, things, and ideas. One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements because it made me take several long, hard looks at myself and how I operate in the world. It taught me to be impeccable in my word and do my best – and to forgive myself when I fall short. I’ve made many mistakes, and I appreciate them just as much as the successes.
I’m attracted to the word innovation.
I love new, big ideas and have spent years working with the most creative people in law, business, entertainment, and science & engineering. These experiences have given me a very unique perspective on things, which has led to some very significant professional moments: As a young legal scholar, I wrote an article about trademark law and the internet that was named the best in the world that year by the International Trademark Association. A few years later, I was named one of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the United States by the American Bar Association. And, I was recently named one of the 2018’s 200 Black Women in Tech to follow on Twitter.
I love adventure sports.
Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve bungee jumped from the highest bungee-facility on the planet (in South Africa), sky-dived over the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa, and hiked the mountains of China. I not-so-secretly believe that if I can test my limits this way, anything else I encounter must be doable.
I am grateful that I get to do what I do. Whether teaching, counseling, speaking or writing, I believe in being of service to others. I hope that something I post here helps you on your journey.
Thanks for visiting.