“I enjoy working with Shimira because she offers such a challenge when it comes to social media,” said Vernard Alexander of the Minority Networking Exchange, who many call a social media guru. Mike Compselis of Google

Pittsburgh concurs; during the recent Urban Green Growth Collaborative “Support Our Local Business” event jokingly he said Shimira knows our products better than I.” In September of 2012, Williams’ expertise was utilized by Google during their annual Google for Entrepreneurs Week. Topics she covered were products such as Google apps, Google Voice, and webmaster tools.

Now age 35, Williams said she has had an interest in working with her hands; building things from Legos and STEM related subjects since an early age. A graduate of Perry Traditional Academy and toting a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University in Business Economics, Management Information Systems she continuously hones her skills. Throughout the years she has participated in the Leadership Development Institute, Public Allies— Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Mediation Center, the Parent and Community Leadership Institute, Beginnings with Books, the Governor’s School of Education at St. Vincent University, the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children and has taken Construction Management Training.

While believing in keeping her skills current, through Productivity, LLC Williams delights in website hosting, is proficient in assisting individuals, businesses and organizations in setting up their social media platforms which includes Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and You Tube accounts. “To assure that everyone understands what best fits their needs we offer one-on-one, small group, large group or organizational trainings on how to integrate or utilize the technology,” she pointed out.

“I’m a content creator and contributor as well,” mentioning that she has served as a featured Blogger for WQEDs’ iQ:Smartparent, has served as guest contributor writer for the African-American Leader Association of Pittsburgh Magazine and has been a Social Media Ambassador at the Carnegie Science Center.

Focused on assuring that her TekStart students are well equipped, Williams maintains relationships and works with groups like the Pittsburgh Public Schools, A Plus Schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, the Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services and Keystone Stars. She often takes the students on field trips to places like the Science Center and Google Pittsburgh, has a variety of speakers’ address the class as well as students conduct interviews of them and encourages the community to donate their old computers, tablets and cell phones. All to meet her goal of making her inner city students technology savvy and to demonstrate that they can do anything and that the sky is the limit.

Williams not only works with students, she also conducts professional development workshops for other daycare providers, educators and parents. She recently conducted a session called Technically Its Childs Play at the Early Learning Lab in Homewood.

She also has received support from the Sprout Fund’s Sprout’s Learning Innovation programs which is supported in part by The Grable Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. One of 10 submissions selected for the Recipe for Remarkable Learning Experience, she received a $5,000 grant for TekStart and Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children’s Lunch & Learn.

“I love what I do,” says Williams who is not fond of receiving a lot of attention but last month was at the White House participating in a briefing to discuss strengthening America’s economic competitiveness for small businesses. Allegheny County Council recently presented her a proclamation for the work she does through TekStart.

“I do what I know and that is aspiring to be a catalyst in eliminating the digital divide, especially in urban communities,” she said. “My mission is to build digital citizens through living, working and playing all things STEM.”

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