Ms. Shackelford's political career began in 1978 when she was elected to the Board of Directors for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, and was re-elected city-wide three times to that position before becoming the City’s first woman Mayor. During her tenure in local government, Ms. Shackelford directed liaison activities for minority businesses and held leadership positions in the National League of Cities. Additionally, she presented papers on local government, economic development and electoral politics, both nationally and internationally, and has led economic trade missions and conducted lecture tours in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
For the past several decades, Ms. Shackelford has worked tirelessly with the Democratic Party at the state and national level. She served as Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair of the Arkansas State Democratic Committee, and was elected Secretary of the National Association of State Democratic Chairs. A member of the DNC since the early 1980s, Ms. Shackelford served as Co-Chair of the Platform Committee in 1984 and of the Rules Committee in 1988, and currently serves on the Resolutions Committee.
In 1988, Ms. Shackelford was appointed Co-Chair of the Democratic National Convention, held in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Shackelford has been a Delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1980.
Ms. Shackelford’s extensive political experience at the national level also includes advising presidential candidates, working on White House transition teams, and representing the administration abroad. In 1992, she was a Deputy Campaign manager for the Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign; and was later appointed Co-Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Clinton Transition Team. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Ms. Shackelford a US Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Vienna, Austria.
With wide-ranging institutional knowledge and unique political experience that few others possess, Ms. Shackelford remains an invaluable asset to the Democratic Party. In her role as DNC Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation, Ms. Shackelford travels across the country and around the world, sharing the Democratic Party’s message and engaging voters in the political process. She regularly participates in political forums of other countries, including Azerbaijan, Russia, West Germany and Taiwan, and has observed elections in Romania and the Baltics.
Ms. Shackelford received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas; she was a Senior Fellow at the Arkansas Institute of Politics; and a fellow at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Ms. Shackelford is Senior Executive Vice President of Global USA, Inc., and is a member of various civic and community organizations, including the National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Links, Inc. She has an extensive record of serving on numerous boards and commissions, and is currently on the Board of Directors of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, Phoenix, Arizona.
In recognition of her significant contributions and her life-long commitment to public service, Ms. Shackelford has been honored with numerous awards and in 1993 was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. She was honored in Esquire Magazine's "Registry of Outstanding Men and Women"; voted "Woman of the Year" by the Arkansas Democrat Newspaper; and received Delta Sigma Theta's "Mary Church Terrell" Award in 1998. She has also received numerous Trail Blazers’ Awards and is the recipient of several Honorary Degrees.
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas and a member of the First Baptist Church of Little Rock, Ms. Shackelford is a proud mother of three adult children and a devoted grandmother of six. She is a mentor to dozens of young women in politics and continues to open doors for future generations. « less
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