Shakira Ferrell currently serves as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager at an online environmental magazine and a program consultant to NGOs based in East and South Africa. Prior to her current role, Shakira served as a development and communications advisor commissioned to provide strategic guidance to established and emerging nonprofits and grassroots organizations. Because of her extensive time serving in the arts sector she believes that artists have ample solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation and is determined to find the intersection.
Tell us more about yourself – how did you become involved in your current career?
I started exploring the environmental sector because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I was heartbroken when I witnessed the devastation, and outraged when I witnessed the response (or lack of) from the local, state and federal governments to the residents of that area. From that day I vowed to learn what I could about climate adaptation solutions. I moved to Nairobi, Kenya and worked with the Kenya Climate Justice Women’s Champions, an organization led by a dynamic group of Kenyan women that provides a platform for networking and advocacy on climate justice issues affecting Kenyan communities. Their firsthand knowledge of the adversities millions of women at the grassroots level face helped redefine my priorities.
What drew you to WEN and our events?
I was drawn to WEN because I wanted to connect with other changemakers in the field.
What environmental issues are of most concern to you?
Resource depletion caused by overconsumption, sustainable communities, and equitable climate change adaptation solutions.
What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?
My best advice is to just jump in and start making things happen. You don’t need permission nor years of experience in the environmental sector to get involved. Every space in the movement, whether you’re into conservation or climate justice, can use more allies. Talk to people who are doing the work – those who consistently show up with solutions and act on them. That’s where the learning begins.