Mentee Spotlight on Shana Knight
by W2WM Senior Program Assistant Andrea Baker
The Community Leaders & Entrepreneurs of SOUL Street
When the W2WM team met this bright young person a couple of years ago, she was a rockstar volunteer manager with the United Way of Frederick County, mom, and a total ray of sunshine. Though she was already doing good things, we have had the honor of watching her step into her power and leading with her values and goals front and center. And now, she is doing great things. In fact, she is on fire!
Meet Shana Knight, co-founder and Executive Director of SOUL Street and the Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County.
“I am lucky enough to be living the dream and working toward two of my biggest passions- …I go out and get/raise resources for the kids.” And she oversees SOUL Street, “…which is a collective of Black business owners and community members in Frederick who have come together to empower the Black business community through events, outreach, advocacy and education. Established in June 2020, the group came together after the murder of George Floyd to fight systemic racism and to create lasting and sustainable change for the black community.”
When she first began the CORE Program, Shana said…
“I want to learn from someone who has knowledge in the things that I wish to learn. I want to become a hard(er) working mother, who has a good work-life balance. I want to be inspired to continue to strive for the things I want and not let anything hold me back. There is somewhat of a stigma that mothers cannot achieve certain goals and that they must be strictly dedicated to their family. While I am dedicated to my family, I am also dedicated to myself and living a fulfilling life. I want to have my own business, start a non-profit and be a leader in my community. I hope to have a mentor who can help me build as a woman, professional, and mother and become closer to these goals.”
Looking back now Shana says, “I was looking for someone to help me find myself and direction in my life. I was a new mother and had been facing new mom struggles. So, I wanted someone who could relate to me, and someone who also was able to persevere and become super successful, while also being an amazing mother.”
So how did having a mentor influence Shana?
“My mentor Deb is so inspiring! She taught me that it is okay to take time to myself and to be my own person outside of being a mother. Her energy is so beautiful and contagious. Her work ethic is one that I admire and continuously work to have myself. I also love to see how successful she is and the freedom she has since she is her own boss.
Having someone to be vulnerable with about the things you struggle with in life and to get an outside perspective, as well as just having someone to look up to is the best gift you could ever give yourself.”
What did Shana learn from this experience?
“Women are amazing! We must remember who the heck we are (because we know deep down), and sometimes it takes the right mentor, which the team at W2WM are great at matching you with, to help you realize how amazing you are so that you can live a meaningful and fruitful life.
I have finally found purpose for my life outside of being a mother. Since W2WM, I have been able to become more of a go-getter/do-er, and less of an over-thinker thanks to my amazing mentor. Because of this, I was able to quiet the harsh critic in my head and to finally start doing the things I love, for a living.”
Shana we are so thrilled for you and your team!
Readers, speaking of team… do you remember Cat Dorsey, one of our mentee alumni from our very first blog post earlier this year? Did you know that Cat is also SOUL Street’s Board President? Loren Brown, who is also SOUL Street board member was also a mentee alum. The team at W2WM is so grateful for and proud of Shana, Loren, and Cat! They were already amazing women, and with their effort and the guidance and support of their mentors, they are even more of who they truly are. The things that they do to show up for and empower others and the generosity that they show is a prime example of how the mentee can become the mentor, and how the ripple effects of action and connection can truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Get some delicious produce and other goodies at the next Black-Owned Farmer’s Market at the West 7th Street Common Market location every third Wednesday now through September. Please visit SOUL Street for more details.