Empowered Magazine Alumni

Joanna de’Shay

Executive Director

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Empowered Alumni Spotlight

Born in Accra, Ghana, on the Western Coast of Africa to a Nigerian father and a Russian mother, Fashion Designer Joanna de’Shay grew up heavily influenced by the exotic people, cultures, and textures of her majestic homeland. Armed with a dual master’s degree, an MFA in Fashion Design, and a Master’s in Management, this proud immigrant created Black Russian Label, a women’s upscale clothing brand, in 2013 for the global, chic woman who is unapologetic, bold, and empowered by her style. Bravely leaving a 15+ year career in Corporate America to pursue her Fashion Dreams, Joanna is the epitome of an ambitious visionary who wanted more. She has designed a purpose- filled, intentional life and brand with success markers, defined on her terms. Joanna is also an avid Servant Leader who consults around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Diversity Leadership Alliance, a 20-year-old Social Justice Education organization in Phoenix, Arizona. Adding to her litany of roles, Joanna is also a College Professor teaching at Arizona State University in their Fashion Department. She has received numerous awards, including the 2018 MLK Living the Dream Award and the 2020 Outstanding Women in Business award presented by the Phoenix Business Journal. This passionate entrepreneur believes in being a part of the solution and is on a mission to disrupt industries, create new narratives and educate existing systems on the need for diverse voices and fresh perspectives.

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