Shanita Baraka Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., ABD, President Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago
Shanita is an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago where she has taught for the past 15 years. Her teaching repertoire includes teaching in the areas of Marketing, Advertising, PR, English and Television including courses that she has developed such as Marketing to Women, Hip Hop Marketing Trends and GLBT Advertising.
Armed with over a decade of experience as an account manager for some of the top advertising and public relations firms in the world such as Burrell Communications Group, BBDO, and Porter Novell, her blue-chip client roster includes McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Sprite, and Coca Cola.
In addition to teaching, Shanita has served in several administrative roles on campus, including Advertising Program Director (2011-13) and Faculty Advisor, The Columbia College Marketing Association (1999-2009). She also created and produced campus events such as ADSTOCK, one of the largest and most dynamic career and networking career advice events held on college campuses. In its nearly decade-long life span, ADSTOCK drew over 10,000 participants and connected thousands of students to internships and permanent positions in the fields of advertising, marketing and PR. Due to its tremendous success, ADSTOCK drew many imitators (but no duplicators) as well as an onslaught of local and national media coverage, including a segment on CNBC’s The Brian Williams Show. It is by far, one of her proudest scholarly accomplishments.
Known for her dynamic presentations on the topics of personal branding, leadership, and diversity (and or lack thereof), Shanita is a heavily sought-after speaker on both the local and national level whose signature presentation is entitled Women who R.O.A.R.R. (Recognize Opportunities and Respond Responsibly). Her messages has reached over 100,000 audience members to date and is steadily growing. She turned her primary presentation topics—women and leadership– into a chapter for the book “Unleash the Leader Within You: How to Achieve the Success that You Deserve” which she regularly presents to organizations and teams when invited to do so.
In 2012, Shanita was the recipient of The Change Agent Award given to those ‘who have taken an off-the-beaten-path detour that enriches their many talents and allows them to bring a new point of view to their respective industries.’ She was featured in ADWEEK magazine as a result of that esteemed honor. Other honors include The Visionary Award, The Woman of Courage Award, The Emerging Leader Award and a featured profile in Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago’s “hottest” professors profile in the city. This Fall, she will receive an Outstanding Woman honor from The Metropolitan Club Chicago.
Shanita earned a BA degree in advertising and fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago, an MBA in marketing from IIT, and a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago where she also completed all doctoral coursework in the same program. She holds certifications in the Art of Leadership (Lake Forest College of Management), Advanced Advertising Studies (University of Illinois—Champaign-Urbana) and Advanced Media Studies (Hamburger University). She is chair of The Women’s Connections Committee, Metropolitan Club Chicago and she is a past board member of The PRSA (20 year membership) and president emeritus of The St. Sabina Academy School Board. She is a member of The American Marketing Association, The International Leadership Association, Top Ladies of Distinction, Lincoln Park Chicago Chapter (Charter member), The National MBA Association, Toastmasters International and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She and her husband, Jimmy are the proud parents of two teenage sons, Jimi and Anthony.