In 3 Phrases
Content Creator. Speaker. Connector. Educator.
Hey! I’m Shontavia . . .
and I absolutely love connecting the dots between complex, dry topics and relatable, fun ones.
Depending on when and where you find me, I could be operating in my roles as a university administrator, professor, lawyer, consultant, writer, speaker, podcaster, strategist…you get the idea.
I’ll hit the high points here for you. If you’re looking for my official bios, you can scroll to the bottom for those.
On many days, you’ll find me at Clemson University, where I hold the role of Associate Vice President for Academic Partnerships and Innovation. In this capacity, I help coordinate innovation and entrepreneurship efforts that involve academic affairs. I also help create relationships with 2-and-4-year colleges, entrepreneurs, and industry partners.
I got this job after many years as a law professor and Intellectual Property Law Center director. Based on the research and academic scholarship I pursued as a professor, and my early days as a practicing intellectual property lawyer, I became inspired to intentionally connect my work to the public.
I believe (very) strongly that academic research should benefit, and at minimum contribute to, society at large. This realization has led me down nearly a decade of entrepreneurial efforts to leverage my expertise in intellectual property law and internet culture so that I can inform, educate and inspire the public.
I typically do this by creating content like articles, speeches and remarks, videos interviews, and podcast episodes. My first book (!!!) is also in the works right now.
I created a digital platform, Pop Culture U, that uses today’s pop culture headlines to share lessons about internet culture and intellectual property law. This allows me to take complicated topics and make them relatable. One high point for Pop Culture U (in an earlier iteration) was being cited at Fortune.com for my trademark article on the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority trademark registration for its “pinky” hand signal.
Early on in my journey, I started getting a ton of questions about whether I could teach other people, especially women, how to leverage their expertise so that they can become both well-regarded and well-compensated for their knowledge. This led me to found my company, LVRG, which helps women leverage their expertise to build dynamic personal brands and successful businesses.
Even though I mostly built the plane as I was flying it, I have gotten some cool recognition and awards for my work. As a young law professor, I wrote an article about trademark law and the internet that was named the best in the world that year by the International Trademark Association.
A few years later, I was named one of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the United States by the American Bar Association and one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the National Bar Association and IMPACT. In 2018, I was named one of 200 Black Women in Tech to follow on Twitter, which was a true honor because of the other names that appeared on the list. I’m also currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster and searching for the right opportunity to collaborate with a host institution outside the U.S. on entrepreneurship or intellectual property law issues.
It’s been a good run, though it hasn’t been without a large share of failures and disappointments. This roller coaster has made me appreciate the many failures just as much as, if not more than, the successes.
Thanks for visiting my digital space here. If you’d like to keep up with my projects, please visit my other platforms at LVRG.co (to learn how to leverage your expertise and build a business) and PopCultureU.com (to read more about my law+pop culture musings).
If you’re still reading, here’s one random-but-kind-of-interesting fact about me: traveling and participating in extreme sports are two of my favorite things. I’ve bungee jumped in South Africa from the highest bungee-facility on the planet, sky-dived over the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa, walked around the top of Toronto’s CN Tower, and hiked some pretty high mountains in China.
I not-so-secretly believe that if I can travel the globe and participate in these adrenaline-rushing activities, I can accomplish just about anything. I’ve survived some wild adventures, and my plan is for my professional life to follow suit.