Speaking

Hire Me

Speaking Engagements

I love connecting with audiences in a way that makes people say, “I never thought of it like that before!” or “I finally get why this topic is so important!” or “You really gave me some new things to think about!”

Between my backgrounds and expertise in intellectual property law, education, engineering, and internet culture, AND my love of Beyoncé, social media, and YouTube-infused deep dives, I can make many topics relevant to the day-to-day lives of audiences interested in law, tech, entrepreneurship or education.

You can hire me for keynotes, workshops, panel discussions, retreats, conferences, guest lectures, business events and more.

 

For bookings, please contact Ricky Singh at Gravity Speakers:

1.650.518.7872 / info [at] gravityspeakers.com

 

what others say

Testimonials

Shontavia was magical at the First Annual Patent Bootcamp for Women and Minorities in STEM.

She was an intelligent, energetic and entertaining speaker who connected the complex topic of patent law to dynamic examples from popular culture that the audience could relate to.

She commanded the attention of the entire audience and kept them captivated the entire time. I can’t say enough good things about Shontavia–I highly recommend her to any group! I’m already planning to invite her back to speak again next year.

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile

E.J. Ball Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law

Shontavia served as the moderator for the Clemson University Global Leaders Forum featuring Mr. Ratan Tata. She did a phenomenal job leading and moderating the forum. Shontavia made everyone feel comfortable on stage while also engaging everyone in some great discussion.

Katie Miller

Director of Academic Initiatives, Clemson University

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

As a featured speaker at the Speak Life Movement Conference in 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

Principal, Mellichamp Elementary School & Founder, Speak Life Enterprises

SIGNATURE TALKS

Leverage: How Women Can Build Personal Brands and Businesses Around Their Expertise

Women are often underrepresented as experts in the media and in industry, even though they have developed deep expertise. I have cultivated years of experience and become a highly-regarded expert in the male-dominated fields of intellectual property law, tech, and internet culture.

I will share thoughts and strategies on how women can build a personal brand around their expertise, how to create a business based on that expertise, and how to become a known expert who has editors and journalists constantly knocking at your door (or in your inbox!).

Why Content Creators Need to Understand Intellectual Property Law

There has been a seismic shift in the way brands and companies view content. We are in the midst of a content renaissance–blogs, vlogs, podcasts and images are capturing the attention of nearly everyone with a laptop or cell phone. The people creating this content must be savvy when it comes to patents, trademarks, copyrights, and publicity rights–commonly collectively referred to as intellectual property rights. 

I will explain what each of these types of intellectual property protect and how content creators can develop strategies to protect the work they are creating for themselves and others. 

A Seat at the Table: Why Intellectual Property Law Must Diversify

Law is America’s least diverse profession. According to the American Bar Association, 85 percent of all lawyers in America are white, and 65 percent are men. And lawyer demographics have not changed much in at least a decade. While the profession has made some efforts toward increasing diversity and embracing inclusion, its membership does not yet reflect the increasingly global and diverse clientele that it serves. As a result, the percentage of women of color practicing law in every sector remains disproportionately small and undeniably stunted.

Nowhere is this more apparent than within the field of intellectual property. Women of color, in particular, are significantly underrepresented in a practice area where population growth and globalization are making diverse legal representation increasingly important, if not critical, for business success.

I will share current data on the practice’s demographics, why it is important to diversify the field, and strategies to bring more women of color to the table.

Meme Culture: How Memes are Changing the World...and Controlling Us

We tend to think of memes as funny images, gifs or videos, with the popular ones dominating our social media feeds. But, memes go deeper that this. Memes are scientific units of cultural information that impact our collective humanity. And, they are using our brains and the internet to spread themselves as widely as possible.

I will provide a background on the science of memetics, an explanation about how we interact with, and can be controlled by, memes on a regular basis, and observations on how memes are using us to drive human culture. I will also suggest strategies for recognizing when memes are influencing human behavior and what, if anything, can be done about it.   

Topics for Students and Educators

I have spent a significant portion of my career in higher education and I am comfortable speaking to all levels of students and faculty, from K-12 through the college/university level. I have spoken at schools around the United States and in places like England, France, China, and Haiti.

For Students
Connecting with students has changed incredibly over time – between cell phones, short attention spans, and access to the world via the internet, it takes a specially cultivated conversation to connect with young people on a meaningful level. It also requires working knowledge of social media, Fortnite, and new technology. I can help students see not just how these things connect with them to their immediate circles, but also the world.

Topics with a student focus include:

  • Social Media Literacy
  • Entrepreneurship for All Ages
  • Paying for College
  • Finding Your Passion

For Faculty
I have held academic roles at all levels,  including fellowships, assistant/associate/full professor, named chair, and university-level administration. As a scholar and teacher, I have a particular expertise in connecting academic scholarship to public outlets.

Topics with a faculty focus include:

  • Publicizing Your Research
  • Navigating the Tenure and Promotion Process
  • Bouncing Back from Missteps in Academia
  • Telling Your Story
  • How to Get the Most out of a Scholarly Agenda
  • Being a Person of Color in the Academy
Other Topics

Other signature presentations include:

  • How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Blockchain Technology
  • Using Intellectual Property Law to Pursue Social Justice
  • The Science of Why Things Go Viral
  • The History of Black Inventors in the United States
  • Finding Personal and Professional Success
  • The Changing Faces of Entrepreneurship

What’s Coming

Upcoming Engagements

 

 

 

What’s Happened

Past Engagements

 

  • Moderator, Clemson University Global Leaders Forum featuring Mr. Ratan Tata, Clemson, South Carolina (September 2019)
  • Panelist, Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration, Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs, University of North Carolina, Durham, North Carolina (September 2019)

  • Keynote Address, Patent Law Bootcamp for Women and Minorities in STEM, University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville, Arkansas (September 2019)
  • Panelist, Turning Passion into Pay, 2019 Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop and Writing Retreat, Pennsylvania State University Law, University Park, Pennsylvania (June 2019)

  • Keynote Speaker, Graduation Celebration, Second Baptist Church, Aiken, South Carolina (May 2019)

  • Speaker, Disruptive Innovation, World50 Gathering, SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia (May 2019)

  • Presenter, Trademarks and Blockchain, 2019 Kansas Bar Association Intellectual Property Institute, Sprint Corporation, Overland Park, Kansas (May 2019)

  • Panelist, South by Southwest EDU Conference & Festivals, Educating Educators About Blockchain, Austin, Texas (March 2019)

  • TEDxAtlanta, Rialto Center for the Arts – Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia (March 2019)

  • Panelist, South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, IP, Brand and Blockchain: Business on the Block, Austin, Texas (March 2019)

  • Guest Speaker, Ridge Spring Monetta High School, Preparing for the Future, Ridge Spring, South Carolina (April 2019)

  • Speaker, 2nd Annual IP Scholarship Redux Conference, Common Law Trademarks: Can Blockchain Save Them?, University of New Hampshire School of Law, Concord, New Hampshire (April 2019)

  • Keynote Speaker, G.E.M. Program for Girls, Aiken High School, Aiken, South Carolina (April 2019)

 

 

  • Speaker, Southern University Law Center Lecture Series, From #BlackLivesMatter™ to Police Brutality Videos: Why No One Should Own a Movement’s Intellectual Property, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (March 2018), PowerPoint presentation from my talk available by clicking here.

  • Speaker, Women and Girls Conference, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina (March 2018)

  • Panelist, South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, Austin, Texas (March 2018) – PowerPoint and other information from my talk available by clicking here.

  • Keynote Speaker, W.E.B DuBois Honor Society Induction Ceremony, Clemson, South Carolina (March 2018)

  • Fellow, Intellectual Property & Information Law National Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico (June 2018)

  • Speaker, Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina, Intellectual Property for Kidpreneurs, Columbia, South Carolina (June 2018)

  • Greater Abbeville Rotary Club, November 2018

  • Presenter, 2016 Federal and State Trademark Law Update, Drake University Law School General Practice Review, Des Moines, Iowa (December 2016)

  • Guest Lecturer, Current Challenges in Trademark Prosecution, University of Arkansas School of Law, via Skype (November 2016)

  • Moderator, Social Justice Town Hall, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa (November 2016)

  • Presenter, The Past, Present and Future of GMO Labeling, Iowa Biotechnology Association Legal Symposium, Des Moines, Iowa (November 2016)

  • Inaugural Speaker, Creating Inclusive Environments for Faculty, Drake University Law School Equity and Inclusion Series, Des Moines, Iowa (October 2016)

  • Presenter, The Implied License in Body Art, Central Law Schools Scholarship Conference, Grand Forks, North Dakota (September 2016)

  • Speaker, Intellectual Property Overview and Careers, Iowa State University Pre-Law Club, Ames, Iowa (September 2016)

  • Speaker, Maximizing Your Life’s Potential (College Life, Adult Life, Professional Life), Speak Life Conference, Orangeburg, South Carolina (September 2016)

  • Speaker, Youth Entrepreneurship: Who’s the Boss?, Speak Life Conference, Orangeburg, South Carolina (September 2016)

  • Panelist, Empowerment Lunch Panel on Entrepreneurship, Speak Life Conference, Orangeburg, South Carolina (September 2016)

  • Presenter, Creating Inclusive Environments for Faculty and Staff of Color, Drake University Learning Symposium, West Des Moines, Iowa (August 2016)

  • Speaker, Youth Day Message, Ridge Hill Baptist Church, Ridge Spring, South Carolina (August 2016)

  • Panelist, College and Careers Panel, Ridge Hill Baptist Church, Ridge Spring, South Carolina (August 2016)

  • Panelist, Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs Conference, Newark, New Jersey (June 2016)

  • Pitch Competition Judge, Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs Conference, Newark, New Jersey (June 2016)

  • Invited Speaker, Summer Youth Employment Program Panel, Des Moines, Iowa (June 2016)

  • Presenter, A Constitutional Right to Disparaging Trademarks?, National Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section webinar (June 2016)

  • Presenter, Update on American Patent Reform, Drake University Intellectual Property Law CLE, Des Moines, Iowa (March 2016)

  • Presenter, Online Education in Law Schools, Drake University Law School Faculty Presentation, Des Moines, Iowa (March 2016)

  • Speaker, Patent Law Careers Panel, Atlanta University Center Consortium, Atlanta, Georgia (February 2016)

  • Working Group Session Leader, Women & Girls in Entrepreneurship, Operation Hope Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia (January 2016)

  • Presenter, Tattoos, Trademark Law, and the 13th Amendment, University of New Hampshire Scholars’ Roundtable, Concord, New Hampshire (November 2015)

  • Presenter, Innovation Catalyst or Entrepreneurship Killer? The America Invents Act Four Years Later, Association of Intellectual Property Firms Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario (October 2015)

  • Speaker, Georgia State University College of Law Intellectual Property Law Society Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia (October 2015)

  • Presenter, Intellectual Property and Agriculture: Patent Exhaustion, Seeds, and the Open Source Movement, Annual Trade Regulation/Corporate Counsel Joint Seminar, Des Moines, Iowa (September 2015)

  • Presenter, Intellectual Property Course Module, DuPont-Pioneer Trade Regulation Workshop, Des Moines, Iowa (August 2015)

  • Panelist, USPTO Rejection of Scandalous and Disparaging Trademarks, American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Conference, Bethesda, Maryland (March 2015)

  • Speaker, College Workshop, Investing in My Future, Des Moines, Iowa (November 2014)

  • Speaker, Career Panel and College Workshop, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Youth Program, Des Moines, Iowa (October 2014)

  • Commentator, Lutie Lytle Writing Workshop, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin (June 2014)

  • Presenter, Tattoos, Trademark Law, and the 13th Amendment, Collaborative Faculty Speaker Series between the University of Akron School of Law, the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, and Drake University Law School, Internet Workshop (April 2014)

  • Panelist, Law School and Legal Careers Panel, Jackie Robinson Foundation Mentoring and Leadership Conference, New York, New York (March 2014)

  • Presenter, Tattoos, Intellectual Property, and the 13th Amendment, Intellectual Property Scholars Roundtable, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa (March 2014)

  • Invited Lecturer, I Own You: Tattoos, Intellectual Property Protection, and the 13th Amendment, Intellectual Property Colloquium Series, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (March 2014)

  • Invited Speaker, Sisters for Success Program, Hoover High School, Des Moines, Iowa (February 2014)

  • Keynote Speaker, Walmart Mi Futuro Mentoring Program, Des Moines, Iowa (January 2014)

  • Presenter, College & Career Day, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Youth Day, Des Moines, Iowa (December 2013)

  • Keynote Speaker, Street Law Program, Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines, Iowa (November 2013)

  • Speaker, I See Me With a J.D., Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa (November 2013)

  • Panelist, Entertainment Law Careers Cross-Industry Panel, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa (October 2013)

  • Speaker, Planning for Your Future, College and Career, Investing in My Future, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (October 2013)

  • Presenter, Unregistered Trademarks, the Internet, and the Problem of Geographical Limitations, International Conference on Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition Under an Internet Environment, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Yubei, Chongqing, China (September 2013)

  • Speaker and Host, Fall Reconnect, Young Emerging Scientists, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (August 2013)

  • Presenter, Unregistered Trademarks and the Internet, Inaugural University of New Hampshire School of Law IP Bootcamp, Holderness, New Hampshire (June 2013)

  • Presenter, Intellectual Property Rights: Technology Transfer and Commercialization, United States Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration Special American Business Internship Training Program, Des Moines, Iowa (April 2013)

  • Panelist, Memetic Theory, Trademark Law & the Viral Meme Mark, Birkbeck, University of London, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities Annual Meeting, London, England (March 2013)

  • Speaker, College & Scholarships: How to Find Both, Investing in My Future, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (September 2012)

  • Panelist, Career Choices in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Science Center of Iowa and Young Emerging Scientists, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (July 2012)

  • Presenter, Lutie Lytle Writing Workshop, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts (June 2012)

  • Lecturer, Copyright for The Rest of Us Course, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa (May 2012)

  • Presenter, Memetic Theory and Trademark Law, Drake University Law School Faculty Speaker Series (April 2012)

  • Speaker, Biotechnology Patents and Intellectual Property Management, Drake University Intellectual Property Law Center’s 5th Anniversary Gala, Des Moines, Iowa (February 2012)

  • Panelist, Law, Policy, and To Kill a Mockingbird, Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines, Iowa (February 2012)

  • Speaker, Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property, Iowa State University Symposium – Patenting Life: Intellectual Property in Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Ames, Iowa (February 2012)

Portfolio

Videos

TEDxAtlanta 2019

“The Power of Memes to Shape Who We All Are”

Sky News Australia 2019

“Remembering Harambe Three Years On”

NBC News THINK 2017

“How Seriously Should We Take President Donald Trump’s Tweets?”