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Traveling FromSouth Carolina, USA
Shontavia Johnson serves as a highly acclaimed writer, speaker, and commentator thriving at the intersection of law, innovation, and pop culture.
Shontavia serves as Associate Vice President for Academic Partnerships and Innovation at Clemson University. She has also founded LEVERAGE, a company that helps women use their expertise to build brands and businesses. Shontavia’s digital platform, Pop Culture U, uses today’s pop culture headlines to share lessons about internet culture and intellectual property law. Shontavia loves big ideas, connecting people to resources, and using the world as a classroom.
Shontavia is a sought after speaker who has spoken on stages around the world. She has given the closing talk at TEDxAtlanta, presented at SXSW, and is regularly tapped by bar associations to speak on intellectual property law topics.
Shontavia’s work has been widely recognized. She was named one of the best Young Lawyers in America by the American Bar Association and is currently on the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster. She has also been recognized as an Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine, granted the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and named one of 42 Under 40 Alumni by the Jackie Robinson Foundation. In 2018, she was named one of 200 Black Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter.
Shontavia’s work has been extensively featured in the media, including in Fortune, CNN, TIME, and the Washington Post. Her article on America’s black inventors was re-printed and archived in audio form by the Smithsonian Magazine in 2017. Shontavia’s academic publications have appeared in journals including the Berkeley Technology Law Review, the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, and the Arkansas Law Review. In 2014, Shontavia’s article, Trademark Territoriality in Cyberspace: An Internet Framework for Common Law Trademarks, was awarded the International Trademark Association Ladas Memorial Award, a competition that identifies the best article in the world on a trademark law topic.
Shontavia received a B.S. in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University, where she was a Palmetto Fellows Scholar, Coca-Cola Clemson Scholar, and a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. She received her J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she was associate editor of the Arkansas Law Review and a member of the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court team. While in law school, she was named a Vincent W. Foster Scholar, Jim G. Ferguson Scholar, and Harold Flowers Law Society Scholar. While in law school, Shontavia served as a judicial extern to Judge Jimm Larry Hendren of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Shontavia also studied international law and comparative constitutional law at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Leverage: How Women Can Build Personal Brands and Businesses Around Their Expertise
Women are often underrepresented as experts in the media and in industry, even though they have developed deep expertise. Shontavia has cultivated her years of experience and become a highly-regarded expert in the male-dominated fields of intellectual property law, tech, and internet culture. She will share thoughts and strategies on how women can build a personal brand around their expertise, how to create a business based on that expertise, and how to become a known expert who has editors and journalists constantly knocking at your door (or in your inbox!).
Meme Culture: How Memes are Changing the World...and Controlling Us
We tend to think of memes as funny images, gifs or videos, with the popular ones dominating our social media feeds. But, memes go deeper that this. Memes are scientific units of cultural information that impact our collective humanity. And, they are using our brains and the internet to spread themselves as widely as possible. Shontavia will provide a background on the science of memetics, an explanation about how we interact with, and can be controlled by, memes on a regular basis, and observations on how memes are using us to drive human culture. She will also suggest strategies for recognizing when memes are influencing human behavior and what, if anything, can be done about it.
Why Content Creators Need to Understand Intellectual Property Law
There has been a seismic shift in the way brands and companies view content. We are in the midst of a content renaissance–blogs, vlogs, podcasts and images are capturing the attention of nearly everyone with a laptop or cell phone. The people creating this content must be savvy when it comes to patents, trademarks, copyrights, and publicity rights–commonly collectively referred to as intellectual property rights. Shontavia will explain what each of these types of intellectual property protect and how content creators can develop strategies to protect the work they are creating for themselves and others.
A Seat at the Table: Why Intellectual Property Law must Diversify
Law is America’s least diverse profession. According to the American Bar Association, 85 percent of all lawyers in America are white, and 65 percent are men. And lawyer demographics have not changed much in at least a decade. While the profession has made some efforts toward increasing diversity and embracing inclusion, its membership does not yet reflect the increasingly global and diverse clientele that it serves. As a result, the percentage of women of color practicing law in every sector remains disproportionately small and undeniably stunted.
Nowhere is this more apparent than within the field of intellectual property. Women of color, in particular, are significantly underrepresented in a practice area where population growth and globalization are making diverse legal representation increasingly important, if not critical, for business success. Shontavia will share current data on the practice’s demographics, why it is important to diversify the field, and strategies to bring more women of color to the table.
Topics for Students and Educators
Shontavia has spent a significant portion of her career in higher education and is comfortable speaking to all levels of students and faculty, from K-12 through the college/university level. Shontavia has spoken at schools around the United States and in places like England, France, China, and Haiti.
Connecting with Students has changed incredibly over time – between cell phones, short attention spans, and access to the world via the internet, it takes a specially cultivated conversation to connect with young people on a meaningful level. It also requires working knowledge of social media, Fortnite, and new technology. Shontavia can help students see not just how these things connect with them to their immediate circles, but also the world.
Topics with a student focus include:
- Social Media Literacy
- Entrepreneurship for All Ages
- Paying for College
- Finding Your Passion
Shontavia has held academic roles at all levels: including fellowships, assistant/associate/full professor, named chair, and university-level administration. As a scholar and teacher, she has particular expertise in connecting academic scholarship to public outlets.
Topics with a faculty focus include:
- Publicizing Your Research
- Navigating the Tenure and Promotion Process
- Bouncing Back from Missteps in Academia
- Telling Your Story
- How to Get the Most out of a Scholarly Agenda
- Being a Person of Color in the Academy
Other signature presentations include:
- How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Blockchain Technology
- Using Intellectual Property Law to Pursue Social Justice
- The Science of Why Things Go Viral
- The History of Black Inventors in the United States
- Finding Personal and Professional Success
- The Changing Faces of Entrepreneurship
- “Shontavia was a breath of fresh air at Lady Like [the African American Women's Power Brunch]. She clearly and concisely spoke to the necessity of building one's personal brand amidst challenges and obstacles. She was ideal for this inaugural event. We would definitely welcome her back for more events.” Deidre DeJear Entrepreneur & Kamala Harris 2020 Iowa Campaign Chair
- “At the 2017 Midwest Intellectual Property Institute, Shontavia presented to over 70 intellectual property attorneys on the topic of offensive trademarks and the Constitution. Her presentation was entertaining and engaging, as evidenced by the fact she received one of the highest ratings on our speaker surveys in recent history. We were eager to invite her back, and we are excited she has agreed to present again at our 2019 event!” Kyle Mendenhall Attorney & President, Kansas Bar Association Intellectual Property Section
- “Shontavia is a breath of fresh air when it comes to seminars, lectures and motivational speaking. She has an authentic voice, and her genuine passion for helping people improve their quality of living comes through every time she speaks. As a featured speaker at the Speak Life Movement 2016, Shontavia electrified the audience with the raw and relevant truth about entrepreneurship. She made the possibility of owning a business more attainable and easy to grasp in a matter of minutes. She awakened the entrepreneurial spirit within people who lost confidence in their greatness. She was an audience favorite at the conference with an overwhelming request to return!” Hayward Jean Educator & Founder, Speak Life Enterprises