Meredith Shockley-Smith

Meredith Shockley-Smith

Public Allies Cincinnati 2006-2007

Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith is an educator and former professor. With Queens Village, she is taking her passion for Black Studies and Women & Gender Studies beyond the classroom to build stronger, more equitable relationships that benefit the greater community. She seeks to engage fixed mindsets as they relate to cultural identities. Meredith received her PhD in Educational Studies from the University of Cincinnati.

As Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Strategies at Cradle Cincinnati and Queens Village, she works with Black women to co-create sustainable communities that help reduce stress and, in turn, lower infant mortality in Cincinnati. In addition, she is a Field Professor at the University of Cincinnati Medical School.

Tell us about your leadership?

As a leader I believe that we are a collective of individuals working toward one goal. With each work decision being answered with the filter of equity and justice we move together toward our shared goal. To that end, I seek to co-create a work culture that is data driven, sparks creativity and innovation, encourages collaboration, celebrates talents and skills, has the ability to be agile and is therefore ready to respond to the ever-changing landscape. I believe a leader is accountable to the people on the team as well as to the people who receive the work they are leading.

Which Public Allies core value resonates with you the most and why?

We know for certain that change is inevitable. In order to stay relevant, be agile and continue pushing toward our learning edge continuous learning is essential. Additionally, a mindset of continuous learning allows an approach of calling people in and learning together as opposed to canceling folks. I like to say that the goal is to light a fire in people to attain justice rather than light them on fire. Continuous learning bolsters creativity and innovation. It allows the space to drive with data and continue to intervene with the newest information as well as facilitate a space where all teach, all learn with the folks we co-create solutions with.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Public Allies changed my life, and I will always be grateful for the program. It became the way I operate as a leader and continues to create a network that has foster a movement in Cincinnati of Black women celebrating drastic improvement in infant and maternal health.

During graduate school, as an act of self-care, I started a weekly potluck at my house with a few Public Allies friends. For over six years, this “family dinner” had an open-door policy, welcoming everyone from professors to folks experiencing homelessness. While always fun, I began to realize how this ongoing ritual was in fact building a diverse and robust network, one that I mirror when inviting Black women to that same table to start the Queens Village Movement.

Now Executive Director of Cradle Cincinnati, I am still drawing on what I learned in Public Allies. In fact, many of my teammates are fellow Public Allies alumni. I would be honored to serve on the board. I am hopeful for your favorable reply.