Born and raised in New Orleans, her family and faith instilled in her the values of honesty, commitment, and leadership at a young age. She was raised in a Catholic home and church with most of the New Orleans traditions revolving around their faith. After graduating from LSU with a BA in Criminal Justice, Shelly then moved to Atlanta and met her husband. In 2000, she graduated from UGA with a Masters in Social Work — the same year that she and her husband also welcomed their first child.
Shelly began her lifelong career in social services and child welfare by working for Fulton County DFCS. But in 2002, Shelly founded The Social Empowerment Center, a mental health and social services outreach and treatment center in Lawrenceville. After being recognized by the Bulldog 100, as the #1 fastest growing businesses owned or operated by UGA Alumni in 2014, Shelly also landed a job as a part time professor at the UGA School of Social Work.
As the chairperson of the Local Interagency Planning Team and the Children In Need of Services Committee, Shelly assists local leaders in providing access to unconventional services for children in need of behavioral health services. She also belongs to numerous professional organizations such as Together Georgia, The National Association of Social Workers, and The Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work. She is active in alumni organizations and is a current member of the UGA alumni Board.
Family & Faith
As a eucharistic minister, lector, and volunteer, Shelly has maintained those traditional Catholic roots in Gwinnett County along with her family. Her children have been altar servers since they were in Elementary School. Shelly is proud her childrens’ academic successes can be attributed to the Gwinnett County Public Schools. They currently both attend Brookwood High School.