Meet Shanterra

SHANTERRA MCBRIDE is an international teacher, speaker, author, and preacher with expertise in youth development, diversity and inclusion, and allyship. In 2014 she founded MARVELOUS UNIVERSITY, a social enterprise designed to meet the diverse needs of girls and young women as they navigate life. Working with young people from all backgrounds, Marvelous University focuses on life coaching, success planning, mentorship, and leadership development. As part of these efforts, Shanterra trains adults who engage with youth to ensure that there are well-equipped and trusted allies in the lives of the young people. Marvelous University Media Kit

Shanterra’s voice has a global presence with invitations to speak across continents. For example, in 2018 and 2019, respectfully, she traveled to Morocco and Peru, to deliver workshops to girls on valuing themselves and others. In 2019, she spoke in four South African cities about girls’ empowerment, with an emphasis on creating safe spaces, combating gender-based violence, and anti-bullying.

As an author, Shanterra published Love Your Jiggle: The Girls’ Guide to Being Marvelous, an inspirational book for girls ages 11-17. Topics covered include self-esteem, maintaining friendships, decision-making, conflict management, self-empowerment, and diversity. The messages are positive relating to growing up and being the best and most marvelous girl they can be.

In September 2022, Shanterra and co-author Rosalind Wisemen published Courageous Discomfort: How to have Important, Brave, Life-Changing Conversations about Race and Racism (Chronicle Books). An empowering handbook on how to have candid conversations around race and become a better advocate, written by a Black woman and a white woman who ask and answer 20 common, uncomfortable-but-critical questions about racism.  Many people struggle to have honest conversations about race, even those who consider themselves allies or identify as anti-racist. For anyone who wants to have better, more productive discussions, COURAGEOUS DISCOMFORT is an empowering handbook that teaches you how to do just that.

Shanterra is a sought-after speaker on all things related to young people, speaking on topics such as teasing, friendships, cyberbullying, including sexting, and teen relationships. Keynote titles have been Surviving the High School Maze, Ageless Activism, Love Your Jiggle and Lead Fearlessly, Now!

Shanterra has a unique ideology regarding young people. “I have always wrestled with this notion that young people are our future. They are not our future. They dream bigger. Take greater risk, not all bad, and are fearless, until an adult tells them not to be. No, they’re not our future, they are the NOW!” With this in mind, Shanterra inspires young people to be more than what’s expected, more than what’s required and more than what’s modeled.

In addition to working directly with young people, Shanterra educates adults on how to be better advocates for young people. This includes training adults in the areas of youth development, youth leadership and understating topics often prominent with adolescents. Friendships, social hierarchies, cyberbullying and teen relationships are a few topics that adults frequently ask her to address. She speaks throughout the country at schools, corporations, colleges and universities, faith-based organizations, non-profits and a variety of associations.

Shanterra’s background in youth leadership and student development is extensive – and impactful. As a first-generation college graduate, Shanterra knows all too well what it means to pursue your passion, which is what she seeks to instill in young people. As a native Texan, Shanterra received a full vocal performance scholarship to Southern Methodist University (SMU). She soon realized that although she loved singing, something was missing from her life and that was the passion and opportunity to serve others. She changed her major, many times, but eventually felt at home with Sociology and later added Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. After earning her two degrees from SMU, Shanterra furthered her education by obtaining a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Shanterra’s career has been dedicated to advancing youth development initiatives, consulting for organizations like the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation and serving as the Deputy Executive Director of a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the culture of violence among young people. She has also served as an Assistant Principal in a private, Catholic high school in Atherton, CA, where she encouraged her students to embrace themselves as unique individuals and to use their voice of privilege to speak for those who are not heard.

As a leadership development expert, some of Shanterra’s proudest accomplishments include:

  • Designing curriculum for youth leaders
  • Developing a girls’ leadership program at a local high school in Washington, DC while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member
  • Training over 4, 000 front-line youth workers and managers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area
  • Cluster facilitator for LeaderShape, Inc., a week-long institute with college-aged students from around the country gathered to improve society by inspiring, developing and supporting more people to lead with integrity.
  • Spokesperson for a telecommunications company’s socially responsible program, reaching out to over 7,000 students in rural America about the prevalence of cyberbullying and teaching them how they can take preventative action against it.
  • Advising, since its inception, Girls’ Leadership Camp, on the development of its curriculum and participating as an instructor each year for the week-long residential camp.
  • Impacting the lives of over 15,000 students at various schools, colleges, leadership camps and educational programs throughout the country with messages of hope, self-empowerment and community action.

Various media have interviewed Shanterra as an expert on bullying and teen dating violence, including National Public Radio, Essence and Parade magazine, and an assortment of network and cable television affiliates across the United States.

Shanterra has always followed her intuition and following her successful career pursuits in Washington, DC and northern California, Shanterra was inspired to return to her hometown of Dallas, Texas, where she served as a Youth Director at a local United Methodist Church, and partners with schools, speaking to their entire communities on equity and inclusion and relational aggression in schools. Although no longer serving as a youth director, Shanterra serves on the Governance Board at St. Paul UMC, where she also teaches Sunday School and sings with the choir.

Shanterra was awarded the Profiles in Leadership Award from SMU for having made a significant impact on the city of Dallas and on the quality of life for girls and women overall. In addition to the US, Shanterra’s voice has reached others globally. She has traveled to Morocco and Peru, where she spoke to women and girls on being unapologetic in valuing their lives and encouraging them to expect the same from others.  She has also spoken in four cities in South Africa on girls’ empowerment issues including creating safe spaces, combating gender-based violence, and anti-bullying.

Shanterra believes three things have always kept her grounded: her faith, her bond with family and friends, and her relationships with her mentees. These constants remind her of her purpose in life, which is to Mend, Motivate and Empower people, young and young at heart, to believe they are, without reservation, completely MARVELOUS!

To learn about the different ways Marvelous University works with young people, women and young adults click here.

  15 comments for “Meet Shanterra

  1. Christian K Johnson
    November 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    You are ALWAYS doing something great. Your inexhaustible will to give and help never ceases to amaze me. I wish you Godspeed in this an all of your endeavors.

  2. Liz Schultz
    November 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    It’s so cool to see all the wonderful work you do! You’re a great role model, not just for younger girls but for 20-somethings too! 😉

  3. Karen Cobb
    November 4, 2014 at 2:21 am

    You rock!!! I can’t wait to talk with you more about all that you do – perhaps plan a visit to the East Bay!!!

  4. Chad Rosenthal
    November 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    You are a great role model for all Shanterra. I am proud and excited to see that you are constantly working to become an even greater educator, motivator and leader.

  5. Angela Gibbs
    July 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I will never be able to express to you my absolute gratitude for you being a part of my families life! My girls, Becca and Catherine, thoroughly enjoy seeing and learning from you each summer at KUA. We are who we are because of you Shanterra!! Wishing nothing but continued success!!

    • August 2, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Angela! Ohmygoodness, thank you so very much for your kind words! I am so grateful and thankful that THIS is what I get to do! I’m already having GLC withdrawals. Enjoy your family vacation and I’ll reach out in a couple of weeks!! Thank you again!

  6. Becca Gibbs
    September 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you Shanterra for being such a powerful inspiration in my life! You are my role model! After the first time meeting you, my life changed in such an amazing positive way! I feel so much joy when I get the chance to see you!

  7. Brandy Blackinton
    July 24, 2016 at 1:31 am

    My daughter Morgan has attended two years at GLC with you and the other wonderful counselors. Today as I sat and listened to your powerful words and watched my girl on stage giving her creed, my heart was filled with such emotion. Blessed that Morgan was able to be in the presence of mentors such as yourself for 2 years. Today on the way home I expected that she wouldn’t want to talk about her week…but she talked the entire rude home. Her words were filled with excitement and passion…I am not sure I have ever heard her talk so passionately about anything! I could go on and on….but on a nutshell I really just want to say THANK YOU for all you do and to GLC for giving my girl an experience that will last a lifetime!

    • July 25, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      Brandy, I am speechless! Thank YOU so so much!! Please give Morgan my hello and a huge hug! She is truly a light and that smile is contagious! 🙂 Thank you for allowing me/us to partner with you in raising your marvelous girl!

  8. Randi Eiland
    September 2, 2016 at 1:26 am

    Shanterra, thank you for investing in the lives of young ladies. You are a pillar of light to those you encounter and your love for others is steadfast. Wishing you continued success and tremendous growth in all that you do.

    • October 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you so very much my friend. 🙂

  9. Talisha McClaney
    November 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm


    I would like to purchase your marvelous book! where can I buy it?

  10. Jaquina Gilbert
    October 14, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    This is such an awesome gift to young girls. Devoting time, experience and advice to today’s youth is absolutely essential. I applaud you Ms. Shanterra for your gift to our young ladies. I thank you for your leadership.

    • October 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you, Jaquina! Humbled that this is what I get to do. Grateful for the opportunity to do it!

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