Social Impact Authors: How & Why Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman are Helping To Change Our World

Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readOct 17, 2022


Shanterra: I wish someone would have told me to say the unspoken things. At the beginning of writing I kept assuming that the reader already knew things and Rosalind kept saying you have to explain that. Whatever it was. That information was so helpful and there’s even a post-it note on my computer that says “Say the unspoken thing” to remind me to be clear and don’t assume the reader knows what I’m talking about or what I mean.

As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman.

Shanterra McBride is an international teacher, speaker, author, and preacher with expertise in youth development, diversity, and inclusion and allyship. In 2014 she founded MARVELOUS UNIVERSITY, a social enterprise designed to meet the diverse needs of girls and young women as they navigate life.

Shanterra resides in Dallas, Texas and obtained her bachelor’s degrees from SMU in sociology and public affairs & corporate communications and was awarded the Profiles in Leadership Award for having a significant impact on the city of Dallas and on the quality of life for girls and women all over the country. She earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University.

Rosalind Wiseman challenges us to understand the power of dignity and social dynamics to build courage, connection and community. Rosalind is multiple NYT best selling author — most known for Queen Bees and Wannabes — the basis for the movie and musical Mean Girls and is the founder of Cultures of Dignity, an organization that uses the principle of dignity as the foundation to shift the way we think about young people’s physical and emotional wellbeing. No longer concentrating her work on children and adolescence, Rosalind now consults throughout the world in several capacities as a speaker, thought leader, and consultant.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you”

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

Rosalind: When I was in 8th grade, my history teacher, Mr Rosenberg assigned us, My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered by Harold Raines. The book is filled with interviews of Civil Rights leaders and one interview with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth has stayed with me ever since. I was so moved by what I read that I told my parents and my mother arranged for me to meet Rev Shuttlesworth. I went to his church, attended church services, met the congregants and interviewed him.

Not only did that experience inspire me then and for the rest of my life but it serves as an incredible reminder to me in my work in education. Children can handle learning about our history of injustice and cruelty in this country. It reminds me that learning the uncomfortable things can be the inspiration to grow up and contribute to making our communities and country more equitable. Imagine if parents in my 8th grade class forbid Mr. Rosenberg from using that book in his US History class or banned it in our school library? That’s what is happening in our schools today and we, and our children, lose so much because of it.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Shanterra: Mistakes can definitely be our greatest teachers. When I first started working with young people in Washington, DC, I served as an AmeriCorp VISTA at a high school in Southeast DC. The school was supposedly the worst high school in the district but I truly thought, “These kids look like me. We’re the same. It’ll be fine.” Oh was I naive and wrong! I quickly learned just because someone looks like you doesn’t automatically mean you have the same experience. You have to get to know people first by listening, yes, even those younger than you. I learned so much and the students were so patient with me.

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

Rosalind: We want people to start seemingly small–to develop the skills to reconnect with a person they have withdrawn from because of issues of race and racism. Then we want people to use those skills and choose one relationship where they can attempt to make that repair.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

Shanterra: The most interesting story and perhaps the hardest to share was about a teacher from high school who told me that when she looks at me, she doesn’t see color. I remember thinking this is such a compliment because at 15 years-old the last thing you want to do is stand out and be different. I didn’t know it wasn’t a compliment until I later told my parents at dinner. My mom really helped me understand that there are people in small towns or even big towns that we traveled to as choir students, who wouldn’t be happy about seeing me get off the bus because I was Black. My mom wanted to make sure that I knew the importance of being seen by my teacher for my safety. It’s perfectly fine to admit you see color, because you do. Denying someone’s dignity because of their color, their race, their ethnicity is wrong. Seeing someone and seeing their color is right.

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

Shanterra: The summer of 2020 was a summer of anger, sadness, tears and pause. The pandemic gave people a chance to pay attention to what Black people have been saying for decades, our lives matter. And saying that never meant to take away from anyone else’s value, it meant that watching a white police officer kneel on the neck of an Black man as his life left his body should matter to everyone. It meant that a Black person should be able to jog anywhere and not be chased and killed by white men should matter to everyone. It meant that you should be able to sleep in your bed…well you get the point. Rosalind was one of the people I would text and just vent to because I didn’t have to do any pleasantries, I could just start with the heartbreak, the anger, the sadness. One day, we were talking about writing an article to help white people become better allies and her husband reminded us that we’re speakers and that we should have a webinar instead. After hosting two webinars, her literary agent reached out because of the buzz in his office from people who had seen the webinars and suggested we write a book and here we are.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Shanterra: After George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, a friend of mine, who’s a woman of color but not Black, shared in a group text how heartbroken she was. She apologized for what happened to George Floyd and offered to send flowers or a meal to the Black women.

The friend’s intention was great but her response wasn’t. The Black women in the group felt like they were being coddled but the non-Black people weren’t interested in doing the heart work, the community work, the family work of ending systemic racism. It felt like the friend was working out her guilt. But the Black women in the group also worried that if they didn’t accept the apologies and flowers, then they would seem ungrateful. One of the Black women shared how this exchange reminded her of her lack of privilege, even in how she wanted to grieve. She told the group, “If I don’t talk when you all want to, you could move on because this doesn’t have to be a way of life for you, like it is for me.”

Here is the friend’s response:

I realized in my rush to not be silent, I unintentionally wounded a friend I love. It was a pivotal moment where I recognized I had more work to do. You were so honest, and it was hurtful — but a necessary wound that pointed toward truth and greater understanding. I was living out my guilt of my silence and being passive when it even comes to the issues. Now I know more, but at the moment, I acted too fast and carelessly. I was worried you wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore and you wouldn’t trust me.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Rosalind: We need to address the backlash that is attacking anti-racist efforts. In the book we talk about how the word “woke” has been co opted to ridicule people working to address bigotry and discrimination. Yes, there are people who police other people’s actions and then self-righteously go after them. That’s not right either–and frankly it’s irritating to feel like someone is constantly judging you. But don’t use the word woke to ridicule and demean that person and their efforts because it gives permission to dismiss anti-racist efforts entirely.

We also must effectively address efforts in our schools to stop children from learning their history and its connection to race and racism. And if they live in the United States, this is their history because it infuses not only how our financial, education, and political institutions have developed and are operating but how the media and political figures use race and racism to divide us.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Shanterra: I wish someone would have told me to say the unspoken things. At the beginning of writing I kept assuming that the reader already knew things and Rosalind kept saying you have to explain that. Whatever it was. That information was so helpful and there’s even a post-it note on my computer that says “Say the unspoken thing” to remind me to be clear and don’t assume the reader knows what I’m talking about or what I mean.

I wish someone would have told me that writing the book proposal is hard! And that the book may not be what you thought it would be.


  1. Write your first draft–get all of your ideas down until your brain needs a rest–and then walk away. Once your brain gets fuzzy, give it a rest.
  2. When your brain is clear, go back to your draft and then really dive into your ideas and feelings.
  3. There is no writing perfectly. The writing process makes you smarter because it gives the opportunity to really pause and decide what you think about the world and your reaction to it.
  4. Editing is an art. The introduction to Courageous Discomfort probably took 40 drafts because I thought it was so important to strike the right welcoming tone for the reader.
  5. Give your writing to people who represent your target reader and ask them for their feedback and then take it and use it to make your writing better.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Shanterra: It’s something my grandmother said to me and I never ever forgot it: You just have to try it and that way, you’ll always know. Now, she gave me this advice as we were missing an ingredient while baking so we had to substitute. This was pre-Google so we really were trying something new. What I love about that lesson is so often we won’t take the risks to go after our dreams because we don’t have the blueprint of how it will all turn out. But my Mema’s advice has carried me a long way. Try it…and if it works, you know. If it doesn’t, you know :-)

Rosalind: No decision is permanent. You can always admit that you want to do it differently and go through another door. That has helped me throughout my life; especially in the moments when I feel embarrassed or even ashamed about a decision I have made and want to do it differently.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Rosalind: My choice is Ted Cruz but only if I can put a Wonder Woman lasso on him so he will truthfully explain his decisions making and behavior.

Shanterra: My choice is Chelsea Jackson Roberts, a Peloton yoga instructor. Everytime I take a class with her, I’m reminded to breathe. Her energy is always an invitation to be yourself and meet yourself where you are. I hope to exude that same energy to others.

How can our readers further follow your work online?



This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!



Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator