DID Team Member Spotlight: Shanttel Liberato
Meet Shanttel Liberato. As the first official member of the DID Management Team, Shanttel kickstarted a surge of member growth and internal development from her start date on May 24, 2021, which is still moving fast and furious to this day. While Shanttel inspires us in her work ethic and professional conduct each day, her personal story and hopes for the future inspire us even further.
We caught up with Shanttel to learn more about her story and passion for DID.
Q: What is your role on the DID team?
A: Market and Engagement Project Manager
Q: Can you describe some of the responsibilities of your role as Market and Engagement Project Manager within DID?
A: As DID’s Market and Engagement Project Manager, my primary focus is to engage with member organizations, network participants, and non-profit partners by providing them with an informed point of view around opportunities that will advance the collaborative. In doing so, I oversee the intake process and programming for our membership and network. I work directly with key stakeholders to ensure alignment to the overarching DID strategy. My role is very agile and has been since my start date, which is the beauty of DID. As we hone into our focused strategy and new insights emerge, I am prepared to support the Collaborative in its need for success.
Q: What originally drew you to this position on the DID team?
A: Throughout my career, I have always found myself making space for underrepresented groups. As a leader, you can make decisions that will impact the lives of many. I have always encouraged my team to continuously develop their skills and have provided them with professional development resources. Through DID, I can continue my passion for paving a way for others, where none may be found while identifying and breaking down barriers that keep us where we are. DID is about our future, not only in design but across disciplines. If we can do it in DID, we can do it anywhere and my hope is that the work we accomplish is replicated by other industries.
"Through DID, I can continue my passion for paving a way for others, where none may be found while identifying and breaking down barriers that keep us where we are."
Q: What inspires you or motivates your work for the Black creative community?
A: I’m motivated daily. Until the work I am doing is no longer necessary, I will be motivated and inspired by the resiliency of our upcoming youth. They inspire me.
Q: What hopes or aspirations do you have for the future of DID?
A: My hope for DID is that we will become a central hub for Black creatives to learn, engage, and grow. This collaborative group should be a one-stop shop for our people to connect and flourish.
Q: Favorite words of wisdom?
A: "What you believe you will become," and "Forward Movement." These two quotes have carried me through my most difficult times starting from a young age. The deck was stacked against me as a child of immigrants and learning English at the age of 5. I wasn’t supposed to be successful or have a career. I was expected to have a limited education, only technical skills, and live within my immigrant community in New York City. But none of that was what I believed because I saw the opportunities and how limitless my life could be. As a New Yorker, I’m a dreamer and a hustler, so I dreamt and hustled to get where I am today, a professional with a master’s degree, two businesses, and a full-time career that aims to change how WE are seen.
Q: Who in your life inspires you most and why?
A: My amazing grandmother, Mirtha Santana-Devers. A widow at age 30, she migrated to New York City in the early '70s leaving her five children in the Dominican Republic. She persevered in a foreign country and was able to survive against all odds. It took her seven years to save enough money to bring her children to the United States. Shortly after arriving, Mirtha was able to secure an apartment in upper Manhattan, Washington Heights, and obtain a job to support her family. Her experience taught me the importance of community. Although my grandmother came here alone, she was surrounded by other Dominicans who lifted each other up and supported each other. The strength of a community can shift the lives of many. Mama’s legacy lives through all her grandchildren. Her strength, courage, and success remind me that nothing is impossible. A young widow, who raised five amazing children in a foreign country and all her grandkids are now professionals… out of what? Nothing but strength and courage. Despite all my personal and professional success, I am reminded that all I truly need is exactly that, strength, and courage.
As a New Yorker, I’m a dreamer and a hustler, so I dreamt and hustled to get where I am today, a professional with a master’s degree, two businesses, and a full-time career that aims to change how WE are seen.