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FunTimes Magazine

Shalimar Thomas

Shalimar Thomas is the Executive Director of the North Broad Renaissance, a non-profit supporting revitalization effort along North Broad Street, from City Hall to Germantown Avenue. With the support, feedback, and engagement of the community, the NBR is working to keep North Broad clean, green and safe, making local hiring a priority, and improving the overall quality of life for all who visit, live, work and play on and around the corridor. Collectively, the NBR is laying the foundation for inclusive business attraction, and inclusive economic development. In her role as Executive Director, she is responsible for helping the organization move forward its mission through community planning, community revitalization, business development and community education and engagement. Her results-oriented approach and ability to think strategically has played a pivotal role as the organization works to revitalize North Broad Street. In her first two years, Thomas lead efforts to create a solid foundation for strong economic development efforts, which included creating a cleaner and safer corridor, managing over 50 planters to improve the greenspace and walkability, and ensuring that the North Broad community and other stakeholders are updated on development along North Broad, and its impact. Shalimar graduated from Community College of Philadelphia, and Temple University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Brief Bio

What is a defining moment in your career and life? There were so many, it’s hard to pinpoint. There were several moments that shaped and continue to shape me and several people that contributed to those moments.

What challenges have you faced as a woman of color in your field and how did you overcome them? HA! I don’t think we have enough room in this book to talk about the challenges, and for the most part I’m still figuring out the overcoming part. Experiences have a way of shaping you, and sometimes you don’t realize the impact until years later. So ask me again in about 20 years.

What woman inspires you and why? All of them. Either they inspire me to be like them, or better than them. Every woman from my mom to the 83 year old I met on SEPTA who told me about her day. Could you imagine, 83 years old and still going Downtown to go shopping! I love it. But my mom is the real MVP. She taught me about being strong, yet compassionate. She’s beautiful and amazing!

Most women, through their confidence, audacity, kindness, wisdom, intelligence, resiliency, beauty, strength, and grace has taught me so much about working and living in this world – either directly or indirectly. It’s nothing like learning from another woman.

What is your advice to the younger generation of women coming after you? To keep being great! This new generation is bold! I love how they don’t accept and challenge the norm. They create their own rules and own narratives. It’s great. Be mindful of course, and use the past to guide you, but continue to be great!

What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you? Being a part of vast network of excellence.