Shani J. Penn currently serves as Chief of Staff and Chief Talent Officer for the Educational Achievement Authority. Prior to that, she served as Senior Strategy Advisor to the Governor of the State of Michigan, Rick Snyder. She brings to this position dynamic leadership, over 12 years of corporate experience, and over 4 years of community service experience in the City of Detroit. Prior to her current role, Shani was Chief of Staff to the Emergency Manager of the City of Detroit, Kevyn D. Orr. Some of the key initiatives she led in her role as Chief of Staff were Blight Removal and the city’s Solid Waste restructuring.
Penn’s love for Detroit influenced her decision to become the Campaign Manager for Councilman James Tate, during his 2009 bid for Detroit City Council where she successfully provided leadership, passion, and fresh ideas to the campaign that resulted in a victory. Shani served as Councilman Tate’s Chief of Staff for 3 years before being appointed to her role in the Emergency Manager’s office.
Previously, Penn served as Dealer Relations Manager at Chrysler Financial Corporation (CFC) where she was the liaison between the dealership (Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge) owners and Chrysler. In addition, she worked in various supervisory and management positions for Chrysler and had the opportunity to hold some of these positions in New York and Chicago. Shani developed important business skills that she now uses in her current position. Penn received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University and a Master of Science Administration from Central Michigan University. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. where she serves on the executive board, a 2010 Congressional Black Caucus Boot Camp Alumnae, 2011 Michigan Political Leadership Alumnae and a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit Class 35 2014. Penn is a member of the Southwest Housing Solutions Board, the Detroit Belle Isle Conservancy Board and was named one of Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence in 2012 and Michigan Chronicle’s 40 under 40 Emerging Leaders in 2013. Shani was selected in the 2014 American Marshall Memorial Fellowship for the German Marshall Fund of the United States and will traveling to Europe with 74 other United States fellows. Penn was recognized by Crain's Detroit Business as a member of their 2014 "40 Under 40" class. This recognition highlights some of the community’s young achiever’s based on factors such as financial impact and community leadership. Penn is looking forward to pursuing her Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor in August 2015.
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