Judge Spotlight

Meet an Anthem Judge: Shaniqua McClendon, Vice President of Politics at Crooked Media

Shaniqua McClendon has been making a name for herself and making a difference in politics and media since beginning her career as a White House Intern for President Barack Obama. Currently she is the Senior Political Director for Crooked Media (home to the popular podcast, Pod Save America), and a fellow at the USC Center for the Political Future.

Shaniqua is also an Anthem judge – read our interview below to discover what inspires her and what she’s looking for in this year’s Anthem entries.

For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work that you do?

I currently serve as the Vice President of Politics for Crooked Media, where I run our Vote Save America program, a voter and political volunteer initiative committed to equipping voters with everything they need to vote and investing in progressively minded activists, organizers, candidates, and organizations dedicated to making change. Since its inception in 2018, Vote Save America has mobilized hundreds of thousands of volunteers and raised more than $50 M to support those doing the hard work of making the world a better place.

What expertise are you bringing as a judge for The Anthem Awards?

Growing up in a low-income family gave me a tremendous amount of personal insight into many of the problems people face, which is why I’ve spent my entire career in politics and policy. I believe it is one of the most impactful ways to improve people’s lives, especially those who have been and continue to be most marginalized and harmed by our current institutions and systems. Through my personal, educational, and professional experiences, I bring a wealth of knowledge on the problems many Anthem Award submissions are aiming to address. 

What are you looking for in Anthem Awards entries?

I’m looking for entries that have a genuine understanding of the problem they want to solve and bring new solutions that prioritize the experiences of those most impacted.

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

Real change can happen in a lot of ways, sometimes it’s forced through laws and sometimes our society demands better. While both of these are ideal, the latter is absolutely necessary for that change to last and not face endless attempts to be undermined. As we’ve seen with many social movements, laws are not an absolute measure of our morality, our beliefs and behavior are. 

What social impact campaign, grassroots effort, fundraiser or project has recently inspired you?

Most recently, I’ve been inspired by the young people fighting for our political leaders to address climate change. They’ve pushed this issue from something political leaders feared talking about to a central issue that has now led to passage of historic climate change legislation. They did this by challenging the status quo and getting more people to care about the future of our planet.

Don’t miss your chance to get your work in front of Shaniqua- enter the 2nd Annual Anthem Awards by our Final Entry Deadline September 23 here.



Patagonia – Don’t Buy This Jacket

Patagonia has put social impact at the core of their brand mission and values from the start, and their iconic Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign demonstrates how brands can use their platform to make an impact — or better yet, to help reduce our impact. This 2011 ad ran in the New York Times on Black Friday, making a lasting impression for its bold message addressing the issue of consumerism head on and asking readers to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

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Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels Movement

Love Has No Labels is a movement by The Ad Council to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.

Read our Q&A with Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer on the team behind LHNL collaborates with partners to combat implicit bias—from crafting PSAs to driving viewers to take action, to how brands and companies should approach corporate social responsibility with authenticity.

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