S. Shani Saunders
S. Shani Saunders serves as Program Coordinator for the School of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As an integral member of ODEI, she coordinates events, meetings, and contributes to managing special projects and initiatives.
Before joining Penn, Shani worked at Brandywine Realty Trust on the Property Management Team for Class A+ properties in Philadelphia. She also led the company’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging affinity team. Under her leadership, the group introduced commemorative series and heritage month activities, recognizing the historical contributions of underrepresented communities. The group also held annual companywide volunteer efforts, initiatives throughout West Philadelphia, and annual fundraising campaigns for The Trevor Project (crisis support for LGBTQ youth in need) and No Shave November to support cancer awareness. Shani is proud to have worked alongside company leadership to establish MLK Day as a paid holiday.
Shani’s career also includes several years at Cozen O’Connor as a Legal Assistant and Executive Assistant to a former U.S. Ambassador, as well as owning and operating a dessert café in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Shani is passionate about serving the community and lives by the motto, “Representation matters.” She is a former Board Member of the African American Chamber of Commerce for PA-NJ-DE, and the Zoning Board and Arts Board for Cherry Hill Township, NJ.
Shani graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University-New Brunswick with a B.S. in Labor Studies and Employment Relations with concentrations in Diversity in the Workplace, Law and the Workplace, and Workplace Organization and Management. She also holds a Specialization in Culture-Driven Team Building from UPenn and certifications in Understanding Diversity and Inclusion from Purdue University and Diversity in the Workplace from Rutgers.
Shani proudly hails from Camden and Lawnside, NJ, and continues to call South Jersey home.