Her first memory of politics growing up was when the first African American lieutenant governor of Virginia, Doug Wilder, got elected in 1989. It was what she considered to be the first visible representation of politics she witnessed in her life. As Shenee went into college she started majoring in Biology. However her plans changed after an invitation to share her experience at the University of Richmond’s Women Involved in Living & Learning (WILL) program. After hearing her speech her mother came up to her and convinced her that she was meant to pursue her women’s studies and the invaluable role women and girls play in our society. After much consideration she switched to a major in Women’s Studies/Leadership Studies and hasn’t looked back since.
After school she began to work with a number of empowered organizations empowering and educating girls and women and later joining AAUW. She works on the local, state, and national levels to empower girls and women in her various positions. She prides herself on her ability to reach women at all levels of leadership. Nationally she works for the AAUW committee for inclusion and equity. At the state level, she formerly served as Public Policy Co-Chair for AAUW Texas, and on a local level recently selected as a New Leader’s Council (NLC) 2018 Fellow, also serving on a community board and participates in grassroots movements to inspire local engagement for the benefit of girls and women. Her job is what she considers a “triad approach” that allows involvement at all levels so she can track change at each and every level. Simon has a number of role models that influenced her career.
First and foremost, her mom not only inspired her to pursue a career and degree she was passionate about, but she also inspired her to work hard in life and strive for the absolute best. Other role models and supporters include Senator Tim Kaine, Adrienne Whittaker, Dr. Tinina Cade and her husband, CSM Ronald Simon, all of whom inspired a greater passion for the empowerment of women and doing what you love. Simon explained that as you grow up you begin to “understand the value of mentors at a different level”. Her mentors still have a huge impact on her life today.
Above all else, Shenee Simon works to establish a better life for where she and her family live, work and play. She does everything she does for her children. Simon explains that if she could share any advice it would be to never underestimate what you’re involved in. “Politics is everywhere, nearly everything we do has some sort of political charge.” There’s always some sort of political connection, it’s just our job to make the connection and maximize every opportunity we come into contact with.