October 21, 2021


Meet Shanita Brackett, Acting Associate Director for Operations, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Shanita Brackett started her career as a chemical engineer before turning her work to operations, which she believes is  a commonly unseen yet highly effective and impactful role at any mission driven organization. Learn more about her and her inspiring work in our latest feature.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your background.

Three things about me: I am mom to a blossoming young woman in her senior year of high school. I was born and raised in Virginia. I approach every challenge with collaboration, creativity, empathy and humility.

My career has transformed dramatically. I started out as a hopeful chemical engineer. Ten years in the field, I turned my attention towards IT, then spent the next 15 years honing my leadership skills in project management, communications and customer service. Now rolling into my 25th year, my eyes are focused on operations. In many ways, I believe I have the best seat in the house because I can lead with a behind the scenes perspective. Commonly unseen yet highly effective and impactful, my role gives me the greatest pleasure: to serve and help across several areas under a mission that is unmatched.

What are you most looking forward to about reviewing Anthem Awards entries?

I look forward to receiving the inspiration to be a better global citizen and the ability to share that with others. Reviewing entries at this time of year creates a special opportunity to reflect at the end of the year and set new goals for next year and the future. I am excited and honored to participate in the inaugural year of the Anthem Awards.

What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?

A project or campaign needs three primary factors to achieve real-world change: an intention to improve a person’s ability to meet life’s most basic needs, a model that is quickly transferable and repeatable to initiate a domino effect and a compelling narrative.

How does your work at the National Museum of African American History and Culture support your mission?

I am passionate about helping and serving others. My work at the National Museum of African American History and Culture affords me the opportunity to do just that by reshaping audience engagement and expanding our reach in sharing the African American story. I also recognize this work cannot be done without the use of customer-first principles, smart technology and an agile, operational base to support our staff and audience in today’s hybrid environment. Our world has changed dramatically and swiftly since early 2020. Our communities feel different, and everyone has recognized that change is constant and challenging. Therefore, the work is not the same and must be met with sincere empathy and humility to meet expectations, which neither appear suddenly nor conditionally.

Bonus: What’s your favorite purpose-driven project or mission-driven campaign right now, and why? 

The boldness and transparency of mental health campaigns have given mental health professionals and advocates the ability to spotlight this significant part of our lives. Literally, a two-sentence inspirational quote, short-take testimony or invitation to a workshop series shared by the likes of @the.holistic.psychologist, @blhensonfoundation, @tjcounseling, @michellcclark or @mrdeniro have awakened so many people who found themselves stuck or in a state of darkness. The push isn’t meant to fix problems or barriers, but instead discover them, name them and seek support to address them. I am hopeful that these projects and campaigns, as well as others like them, are celebrated by the Anthem Awards to gain the attention and support they deserve to heal individuals, families and communities.