November 2021 MBA Mama of the Month

Shawna Strayhorn


Shawna is a growth marketing executive working as VP, Growth at Hazel, a venture-backed direct-to-consumer menopause-care brand. She met her husband Johnny in Haiti and their whirlwand romance and epic wedding photos captured the hearts and minds of many (check out the pics below). Six months ago, Shawna and Johnny welcomed their first child - an adorable baby boy named Damien. Shawna graduated with her MBA from The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University in 2016. She is the definition of Black Girl Magic. 

Shawna decided to pursue an MBA in 2009, but didn’t ultimately apply and enroll until 2013-2014. At the time, she worked at fast-growing start-up Refinery29 leading marketing efforts. After nearly 5 years, Ishe made the decision to apply to an MBA to transition to investment banking and ended up at Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the consumer & retail desk. 

Shawna pivoted out of investment banking after precisely one year and returned to her first professional path – marketing. More than that, Shawna's time in banking highlighted for her that her prevailing core value was having time that was her own, and flexibility in how she works. She took a work-from-home consulting opportunity working for herself and taking on corporate clients such as Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Honda, Xerox and more helping them develop and execute digital transformations. After leaving ibanking, Shawna never looked back, spending the next 2 years in Hawaii, South America, dotting across Europe, and living in the Greek Islands until she finally set up shop in Haiti, her husband’s home country, before returning to the United States in 2018.

Check out these epic photos of Shawna's journey of love and self-discovery. We love the pictures from Shawna's epic Bonnie and Clyde themed desert wedding, and of course we are fawning over how cute Damien is. Next week, we will be publishing part 2 of our profile of Shawna. We'll be sharing more information about her reasons for choosing Cornell and the leadership lessons she sharpened in Ithaca. Shawna also shares her thoughts on the Consortium, her biggest challenges since giving birth to Damien 6 months ago and her advice for women with children who are considering an MBA.

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