On Mentoring: “You are giving, and you are being poured into as well.” 

Meet Shanice Douglas, Managing Director of Boston


Shanice Douglas headshot.“I am aligning with my purpose.”

Shanice Douglas (she/her) has always felt called to the importance of nonprofit and justice work. “It is truly impactful and empowering to work in my community, knowing that the work I am involved in directly benefits those around me.”

Growing up and working in the Boston area, Shanice spent many years in youth advocacy before shifting into prevention work and curating trauma-informed spaces, and most recently served with REACH Beyond Domestic Violence and Roxbury Youthworks, Inc. She has spearheaded and managed programs, developed life-skills curriculum, and provided direct service, all while remaining focused on supporting and empowering youth to use their voice, celebrate their identities, and utilize the skills they have learned to build a healthy sense of self-esteem and independence. 

Settling into her tenure as Strong Women, Strong Girls’ (SWSG) new Managing Director of Boston, Shanice’s vision for program participants is clear: “We need to support youth in showing up as their most authentic selves. SWSG is providing incredible role models and opportunities for girls to start to develop what they feel their life’s purpose is.” 

SWSG’s position in Boston: “We are ready to soar!”

Shanice is excited to be part of SWSG’s national alignment and expansion. Focusing on Boston and the greater metropolitan area, Shanice is learning about the profound contribution that SWSG has already made in the community, and believes the organization can increase its visibility and have a seat at the table in many areas: youth development, education, prevention work, and resources for under-resourced and marginalized communities.

That seat includes in corporate spaces as well, and Shanice is collaborating with others for ways to introduce SWSG into more professional women’s leadership networks. Additionally, SWSG needs to foster its own network of Strong Leaders (professional women who mentor SWSG college participants) to meet, connect, and invite their friends and colleagues to join the organization, noting, “The Strong Leaders Network is also a network to build and connect amongst themselves.” 

And, as a small nonprofit organization with ambitious goals, she knows it’s not just the leadership team driving the agenda; all staff have significant roles to play, with many holding dual roles in different areas. With her deep programming experience, she’s looking forward to shifting into development, fundraising, and stewardship as well as leaning into her professional network for support and connections. 

Grounded in the work

For Shanice, what’s essential for doing youth advocacy and prevention work is creating balance for herself. To remain grounded, she practices meditation to ensure she’s creating space and time to center her mental health, noting, “Second-hand trauma is real.”

SWSG’s afterschool programming is led by its volunteer mentors from local college chapters, serving grade school age girls from mostly under-resourced communities and reflecting different countries of origin, backgrounds, and languages. In addition to curriculum teaching, Shanice is committed to providing SWSG’s college mentors with training about prevention and trauma-informed care as well as expanding the DEIJ lens to include a greater understanding of privileges, experiences, and identities. 

“Young women and gender expansive youth experience a drop in confidence in their teenage years, we want to build a sense of self as well as a sense of community.” 

Essential for both the girl mentees and college women mentors is the evolving language and landscape of gender as a personal experience. Shanice is eager to reflect and respond to all SWSG participants, and create an environment where non-binary and transgender youth are equally welcomed and included. 

“Our understanding of gender identity has expanded. Our gender experience is our personal experience, and we want to honor and celebrate that for everyone.”

On Mentoring

The receiving side: Over the course of her schooling and professional career, Shanice has had many powerful mentoring experiences. Identifying as an Afro-Latina, she grew up in Boston, first in Dorchester and then in nearby Charlestown, both neighborhoods where she experienced racism and was concerned about her safety because of her identity. Her perspective about others, and who could support her journey, started to change when she was paired with a white woman from New Hampshire through the Big Sister program; their friendship blossomed and they are still in a supportive relationship today, a value Shanice reflects on, “Not everyone who looks like her is a monolith.”  

The giving side: One of Shanice’s memorable experiences as a mentor was for a young woman who was dealing with severe anxiety and depression and was diagnosed with PTSD. Initially, in social situations she was uncomfortable talking with others. Slowly, and after a year together, they were out in the community, visiting local businesses, practicing self-care, even leaving affirmations for others on hiking trails. Shanice was thrilled to see the girl’s self-confidence flourish: “She did so fabulously that she went from a behavioral health school to a vocational high school. She got a full ride to college, now she owns her own business. She is absolutely thriving!” 

And, it was through this experience that Shanice found a trick for success, for both of them: “We showed up for each other. I learned so much about myself as a mentor. You are giving, and you are being poured into as well.” 


Read SWSG’s announcement welcoming Shanice to her role as Managing Director of Boston by clicking here