Crain’s Cleveland Business Names EC Cleveland Director Shanelle Smith to ‘Forty Under 40’

The Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) is proud to announce that 30-year-old Shanelle Smith, local director for Emerald Cities (EC) Cleveland, has been selected by Crain’s Cleveland Business to its “40 Under 40” list for 2014.

Crain’s says the awards honor outstanding achievements by young professionals throughout Northeast Ohio who have established and proved themselves as leaders, actively guiding the region’s business community and playing a critical role in the region’s business development vision.

Smith was one of nearly 250 nominees this year, more than the usual 200 or so that Crain’s Cleveland receives annually, according to Business Editor Elizabeth McIntyre.

Smith’s nomination describes her as “a charismatic young leader” who “manages an innovative partnership to support energy upgrades in the building stock of 53 cities and municipalities within Cuyahoga County.”

Smith has proven adept at navigating complicated national coalitions, repeatedly finding ways to bring federal resources home to greater Cleveland. She and partners such as Cuyahoga County, the Port of Cleveland, the building trades, the Council of Smaller Enterprises and Policy Matters Ohio are building a multi-million dollar pipeline of projects to make energy-saving upgrades to public buildings, including facilities of major anchor institutions.

A two-time cancer survivor, Smith was named “One to Watch” in 2011 by the Ohio Environmental Council for her work as a “consensus-builder, bringing environmental, labor and business leaders together with the African-American community.”

Partners from Diverse Sectors
As director of EC Cleveland, Smith brings together a surprising group of partners from business, labor, finance, environmentalism and local government to catalyze investments in energy efficiency which cut municipal energy use and costs, as well as polluting emissions. 

“Importantly for what ECC calls its ‘triple bottom line’ of environment, economy and equity, Shanelle’s outstanding work connects community and labor training organizations to EC Cleveland’s projects, ensuring that disadvantaged persons have access to the project jobs,” said ECC President and CEO Denise Fairchild. 

Smith has a B.A. in Political Science from Kent State University, where she was president of Kent’s NAACP chapter and a M.A. from the University of Toledo. With two parents in the labor movement, Smith describes herself as a “UAW baby,” committed to forging alliances that lead to good jobs, a cleaner environment and a more energy-independent and inclusive economy.


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