Shemika Swann-Thompson

Assistant Director for the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center at the Chicago Housing Authority

Shemika earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Alcorn State University to pursue a career in journalism. Though she found journalism fascinating, she was so moved by the stories of the people she interviewed, she couldn’t just sit back and write about them. Shemika was compelled to do more. So, she continued her schooling and earned her master’s degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University. This degree allowed her to do what DHA did for her and her family.

Mrs. Swann-Thompson explains that the foundation was instrumental in funding her college and graduate education, and the experiences she had while living as a DHA voucher recipient encouraged her to work for a housing authority in the future. This goal became a reality while she was in graduate school in Chicago, as she interned with the Chicago Housing Authority and was gradually promoted, ultimately leading to her current position as an assistant director.

Shemika tells future foundation scholars not to be afraid of “stepping outside of the box and living outside of your comfort zones;” she adds, “if you want to step outside of your area and live outside of Dallas, go for it. You’re young.”

To the foundation leadership, she says, “I am truly grateful for the assistance they provided for me and other recipients.”

Mrs. Swann-Thompson has been married for 10 years. She and her husband have two children, and she explains that her goals now are to be the best parent she can be and to develop her own business. She wants to expose her children to culture, art, religion, and travel, and spend as much time with them as she can. Additionally, she plans to build a business that focuses on helping other women start their own businesses.