Shimira Williams. Photo: J.E. Gamble for
Shimira Williams. Photo: J.E. Gamble for
Shimira Williams. Photo: J.E. Gamble for

A technology consultant, S.T.E.M. advocate and educator who is passionate about building digital citizens, Shimira Williams is the founder of Productivity LLC and TekStart, where she works to eliminate the digital divide throughout Pittsburgh. With Productivity, Shimira trains people to integrate technology into their organizational operations, while TekStart focuses on implementing technology within early childhood environments and out-of-school time experiences.

Shimira, who grew up in Homewood and the Hill District and currently lives in Lincoln-Lemington, can often be found working out of her home office, from her desks at Urban Innovation21 and PAEYCE’s Early Learning Hub in Homewood, or at the Homewood and East Liberty branches of Carnegie Library.

Monday, May 30

It’s Memorial Day, but I am still up at my regular time to get in my morning mile. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the day redecorating my office and finally curling up with the book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. I  wonder if my youngest sister will be bringing me barbecue from the family cook? This introvert is spending a much needed day to recharge.

Shimira sharing a laugh with her Take Flight Pittsburgh team members, educator Alexis Garay and artist Greg Garay. Photo: J.E. Gamble for
Shimira sharing a laugh with her Take Flight Pittsburgh team members, educator Alexis Garay and artist Greg Garay. Photo: J.E. Gamble for

Tuesday, May 31

Today it’s all about play as I attend PAEYC’s (Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children) Come Play event, with home-based childcare providers at the Early Learning Hub located in Homewood. This month we started an on-site community garden and the children’s conversations about their observations are the highlights for me.

After Come Play, I’ll focus on coordinating with home-based child care providers to advocate for and inform them about new state initiatives to improve the quality of early child care.

Wednesday, June 1

This morning’s mile is actual three miles at the Highland Park reservoir with colleagues; we are committed to doing the Homewood 5K later this month. Another day, another desk, and today I am committed to preparing Urban Innovation21’s Innovation Insider newsletter for the month of June.

Tonight, I am convening a conversation with home-based providers to review the Shared Core Principles identified for guiding the revision of the Keystone STARS (Standards, Training, Assistance, Resources and Support). I am anticipating an engaging and informative conversation with providers that I can share at the next Think Tank meeting on June 10th. Keystone STARS is a statewide continuous quality rating system for early learning environments. The ratings offer benchmarks of quality of service for families seeking childcare.

Thursday, June 2

Today’s commute is just a few steps to my home office. I make an effort to spend one day per week in my office handling day-to-day operations, so I’ll be spending the day following up with clients and finalizing June’s calendar.

On Thursday evening, I’m going to watch the NBA finals at The Spot in Penn Hills.

Shimira Williams. Photo: J.E. Gamble for
Shimira Williams. Photo: J.E. Gamble for

Friday, June 3

Welcome to a fabulous follow-up Friday! This morning I’m hosting another conversation about the Re-visioning the Keystone STARS initiative with business and community stakeholders. Then I’ll be working from the library until the evening.

TekStart will be announcing the models who will be featured in this year’s Beauty of S.T.E.M. program—an eight-week studio series where local youth learn about fabrication processes and the materials required to create garments—that culminates in a fashion show.

Saturday, June 4

This Saturday offers no downtime. I need to run a plethora of errands in preparation for the next week that can’t be done without a quick stop at Waterworks and a run to Target.

On Saturday night, I’ll attend the Kelly Strayhorn Theater‘s 2016 Full Bloom Summer Dance Party.

Sunday, June 5

Sunday offers no chill! After grabbing a quick breakfast from Whole Foods, I’ll head down to the Three Rivers Arts Festival to set up and work the tent for Take Flight Pittsburgh.

My Sunday will come to a close as I jump in the car to head to Baltimore for the National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute conference. A few of my colleagues will be featured in a presentation entitled, Connected Pittsburgh, and I’m really excited to be there to give my support.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.