Shontavia Johnson

International Expert in Entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property & Economic Development

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Shontavia Johnson is an entrepreneurship and innovation expert who has helped hundreds of people build personal brands, businesses, and intellectual property portfolios.

Twice named one of the top young lawyers in America, Shontavia is an educator at heart. Shontavia was the first African-American woman to receive full tenure and an endowed chair at Drake University Law School, where she also directed the Intellectual Property Law Center. Today, she is the Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Clemson University.

Shontavia is also an entrepreneur and creator. She founded the Brand and Business Company to provide women and people of color with greater access to entrepreneurship. The company’s Academy gives professionals a formula for entrepreneurship that allows them to pursue ideas that make an impact while also making money. And, the company’s media platforms provide free education about entrepreneurship, law, and leading a purposeful life.

As a speaker, Shontavia has spoken at the Smithsonian, SXSW, and given the closing talk at TEDxAtlanta. She has also shared her message globally in places including Europe, Asia, and across North America.

She has appeared in TIME, the Washington Post, the LA Times, NPR, and on Hear to Slay with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom. She has also been named one of 200 black women in tech to follow on Twitter (@ShontavaJEsq) for the past five years.

Shontavia is a Liberty Fellow through the Aspen Institute and served as a Fulbright Specialist to Uzbekistan in 2022.

Read less...



Own Your Genius: How to Build a Personal Brand Based on What You Already Know

Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow the Three i’s of Entrepreneurship Instead

Inclusive Entrepreneurship: the Business Case for Supporting Diverse Entrepreneurs

Don’t Get Sued Online: How Content Creators Can Protect Themselves

Innovation Inside: How to Facilitate Intrapreneurial Thinking / Intrapreneurship With Employees

Follow Your Calling, But Don’t Follow it Off the Cliff: How to Find Personal and Professional Success

Other signature presentations include:

  • Entrepreneurship in a post-COVID world: What we haven’t learned yet (from our mistakes)
  • How developing countries and emerging global markets can improve economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities with intellectual property
  • Tearing Down the Barriers for Black Inventors: How to Build a More Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem
  • Academic Freedom, Social Media and the First Amendment
  • How Universities Can Support Academic Entrepreneurs

TEDxAtlanta: The Power of Internet Memes to Shape Who We All Are
NPR Commentary on infringement of copyright (Audio)
NBC News: How Seriously Should We Take President Donald Trump's Tweets?
Sky News Autralia: Remembering Harambe Three Years On

Books As an Amazon Associate, Gravity earns from qualifying purchases.

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“Shontavia was a breath of fresh air at Lady Like [the African American Women's Power Brunch]. She clearly and concisely spoke to the necessity of building one's personal brand amidst challenges and obstacles. She was ideal for this inaugural event. We would definitely welcome her back for more events.”

Deidre DeJear
Entrepreneur & Kamala Harris 2020 Iowa Campaign Chair

“At the 2017 Midwest Intellectual Property Institute, Shontavia presented to over 70 intellectual property attorneys on the topic of offensive trademarks and the Constitution.  Her presentation was entertaining and engaging, as evidenced by the fact she received one of the highest ratings on our speaker surveys in recent history.  We were eager to invite her back, and we are excited she has agreed to present again at our 2019 event!”

Kyle Mendenhall
Attorney & President, Kansas Bar Association Intellectual Property Section

“Shontavia is a breath of fresh air when it comes to seminars, lectures and motivational speaking. She has an authentic voice, and her genuine passion for helping people improve their quality of living comes through every time she speaks.

As a featured speaker at the Speak Life Movement 2016, Shontavia electrified the audience with the raw and relevant truth about entrepreneurship. She made the possibility of owning a business more attainable and easy to grasp in a matter of minutes. She awakened the entrepreneurial spirit within people who lost confidence in their greatness. She was an audience favorite at the conference with an overwhelming request to return!”

Hayward Jean
Educator & Founder, Speak Life Enterprises