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Wednesday Wonder Woman: Dr. Shanessa Fenner


This week’s wonder woman is Dr. Shanessa Fenner, an educator, actress, singer, and TV host. Dr, Fenner has a girls’ group at her elementary school, where she is the principal,  called “Dr. Fenner’s Young Women of Distinction.” She is a writer for many publications, including Up & Coming Weekly, Women’s View, Sheen Magazine, Consciousness Magazine, The Fayetteville Press Newspaper, Bronze Magazine,  and several more publications. She has also written pieces for Jet, Black Enterprise, Black America Web, and Essence magazines. She had a blog with The Fayetteville Observer Newspaper called “Shanessa’s Hot Topics.” Dr. Fenner is also a print model, motivational speaker, and actress and has a TV show, “The Bronco Exchange,” on channel 7. 

Dr. Fenner obtained her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, two master’s degrees from Fayetteville State University in Elementary Education and School Administration, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University. She was awarded the North Carolina Principal Fellows Scholarship and was the Principal of the Year finalist for her school district in 2021.

Shanessa was featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelorettes, and in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Someone You Should Know” section. She was voted one of the most influential women in Fayetteville and won Best Local Columnist and Best Local TV show. She was a recipient of The Fayetteville Observer’s “Forty Under Forty Award” and featured in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Role Model Beyond Beauty” column. 

Dr. Fenner has appeared on the cover of an author’s book, has been featured on the cover of a magazine, in poetry books, written two book forewords, and in various advertisements and commercials. She is also a songwriter and has written several songs that have been recorded for two artists’ albums. The songs are “I Trusted You” on Southern Soul artist Michelle Miller’s album and “You Never Know Who You’re Going To Love” on Southern Soul artist Carl Marshall’s album. Her voice has also been featured on the song “Leave That Man’s Wife Alone” by Carl Marshall. Last year, she interviewed Congressman John Lewis on her show. She has also interviewed Dr. Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vanzant, Babyface, and many more for the various publications she writes for. She continues to be a multifaceted woman that does not leave a stone unturned, and her motto is “We were placed here on Earth to do great things, and that is what I am going to do.” 

Christina: What is your SwagHer? What makes Shanessa, Shanessa? Dr. Shanessa: What makes Shanessa, Shanessa, is that I sing to my own tune. I don’t need to have a confirmation number or validation statement from anyone. I validate myself. God is my ultimate judge.

Christina: Why did you choose to get a doctorate in education? Have you always been passionate about guiding and educating the youth? 

Dr. Shanessa: I wanted to obtain a terminal degree. I have always been passionate about guiding and educating our future youth. They will one day take over our jobs as well as new jobs, and I want to instill great work ethics, morals, and values in them. The elementary school level is very important because that is where we lay the foundation, and I want to ensure the foundation is a positive and productive one. 

Christina: Can you tell us a little bit about your TV show, “The Bronco Exchange”? How did you get started in television? 

Dr. Shanessa: I got my start on TV from one of my college professors who asked me to stay after class one night. He told me that he had a TV show and needed a host for it. I told him that I would host the show. I hosted his show for several years and was then asked if I wanted my own TV show. I said yes, and that is how I obtained my show. “The Bronco Exchange” is about interviewing individuals in our community and all of the great things happening in Fayetteville, NC. My other TV show, “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner,” featured Congressman John Lewis as one of my guests. That was one of my favorite interviews. 

Christina: Not only do you have a TV show, but you also act. How did you get into acting? 

Dr. Shanessa: A TV producer had two soap operas that he was producing, and I became an actor in both of them. It was so much fun. I love trying new things because you find out your talents. I loved it! My goal is to do some voiceover work. I would love to be the voice of a strong Superwoman character. Girl power, baby!

Christina: How important is it to you to be able to have an outlet like songwriting? What is your songwriting process? 

Dr. Shanessa: I love to write songs, and I love to write articles. I currently write for 16 publications. My songwriting process is from the heart. I write from my experiences and my feelings. I have always been able to channel my emotions onto paper and have always been able to use the right words. 

Christina: On top of everything you already do, you also have a girl’s group, Dr. Fenner’s Young Women of Distinction. Tell us about that and the reason behind starting it. 

Dr. Shanessa: I am all about girl power and educating our young girls, so I started the group at my school. It is for 4th and 5th-grade girls. Some of the activities we have done entail creating vision boards, visiting colleges, having strong women leaders come in to speak to them, having a Wells Fargo banker to teach them about checking/saving accounts, have beauticians teach them how to take care of their hair, table etiquette, taking care of themselves and their bodies, etc. I also teach them the importance of giving back to our community. We pick an organization or cause to donate to each year. One year we decided to do something for breast cancer awareness. We decided to start at home by giving to a staff member who had breast cancer. We gifted her with a gift basket and other items. The girls really enjoy giving to others. I always tell them they are intelligent, talented, and able-bodied individuals who can do anything they put their minds to doing.    

Christina: You have interviewed multiple influential people through your work with various magazines. Who was your favorite person you interviewed, and what did you learn from them? 

Dr. Shanessa: My favorite person I interviewed for Consciousness Magazine is Babyface because he is my favorite singer. I would love to write a song with him. I learned that he is so talented and has worked with so many singers. He is amazing and very, very creative. 

Christina: How do you find time to practice self-care? 

Dr. Shanessa: I love to write and take naps. Those are the two things that calm me down. I am an introvert, and I must have that quiet time for introspection. 

Christina: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Dr. Shanessa: If you are reading this and you have a goal or desire to achieve something, please work on it today. We do not know our expiration date, so stop procrastinating. Put fear aside, block the voices of haters and naysayers, and make it happen. 

Connect with Dr. Shanessa below: 

Linked In: Dr. Shanessa Fenner

Twitter: @ShanessaF


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