Speaker From

United States



State | County | Province

South Carolina

Speaker Bio

Shontavia Johnson serves as a highly acclaimed writer, speaker, and commentator thriving at the intersection of law, innovation, and pop culture.


Twice named one of the top young lawyers in America, Shontavia’s unique background in intellectual property law, technology, education, and business makes her the perfect strategist for working professionals who are also creatives, side-hustlers, and entrepreneurs.


As host of The Shontavia Show, a conversational web series and podcast, Shontavia tackles the most common questions about starting, operating, and growing a business and personal brand.


Shontavia has also built the Brand+Business Academy, which teaches working professionals how to start their business and build their brand so that they can create new income streams and do more of the things they love.


Shontavia is a teacher and advisor at heart. She has spent more than a decade in faculty and academic leadership roles. Shontavia was the first African-American woman to receive full tenure at Drake University Law School, and she is currently the Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Clemson University.


Prior to entering higher education, Shontavia practiced intellectual property law at one of the largest law firms in the United States. She is licensed to practice in South Carolina, Iowa (inactive), and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Shontavia has also been recognized as an Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine, granted the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and named one of 42 Under 40 Alumni by the Jackie Robinson Foundation.


Her work has been extensively featured in the media, including in Fortune, CNN, TIME, and the Washington Post. Her article on America’s black inventors was re-printed and archived in audio form by the Smithsonian Magazine in 2017. Shontavia’s academic publications have appeared in journals including the Berkeley Technology Law Review, the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, and the Arkansas Law Review.


In 2014, Shontavia’s article, Trademark Territoriality in Cyberspace: An Internet Framework for Common Law Trademarks, was awarded the International Trademark Association Ladas Memorial Award, a competition that identifies the best article in the world on a trademark law topic.


As a speaker, Shontavia has given the closing talk at TEDxAtlanta, spoken at SXSW multiple times, and taught law and innovation principles in Europe, Asia, and across North America. She has appeared in TIME, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and on NPR, and in 2018 she was named one of 200 black women in tech to follow on Twitter.

Keynote Topic #1

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. Shontavia has cultivated her years of experience and become a highly-regarded expert in the male-dominated fields of intellectual property law, tech, and internet culture.

She 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!).

Keynote Topic #2

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.

Shontavia 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. She will also suggest strategies for recognizing when memes are influencing human behavior and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Keynote Topic #3

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.

Shontavia 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.

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