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Spotlight on Commerce: Shahara Warren, Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, Fisheries Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Guest blog by: Shahara Warren, Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

My responsibility as Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer at the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to provide leadership and guidance to a team of Consumer Safety Officers who evaluate, certify for export and ensure compliance with applicable food safety regulations for seafood vessels, processing plants, and retail facilities. Our officers provide seafood inspection services to the seafood industry nationwide, as well as in U.S. territories and foreign countries.

I’m a Cali-girl. Born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, I got my start in a career centered on safety by first volunteering in the safety department of the L.A. County Health Department. From there, I served in the U.S. Army as a Preventive Medicine Specialist, where I my primary focus was in Environmental Health and Safety. That led to me training with the Army Veterinary Services and working in food safety. While still in the Army, I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Community Health at the California State University, Dominguez Hills. After receiving my bachelors and honorable discharge from the Army, I was accepted into a Master of Public Administration program where I completed coursework in the public management track. 

In my personal capacity, I have been a Girl Scout Co-Leader of 6-12th grade girls for more than 10 years. I also founded my own non-profit organization called The E.M.B.R.A.C.E. Experience and was recently awarded 501(c)(3) status. My organization was created to mentor girls and develop their leadership skills and confidence using various cultural activities and experiences.

I seek influence from many sources. Outside of seeking guidance from the Bible, I often go back to a quote that says, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” That has been the mantra that helps me to keep moving forward toward accomplishing my goals. I find that if I remember to just start where I am and stop looking for the perfect opportunity, I will get more accomplished.

To me, Black History Month means taking time to realize the contributions and sacrifices made by those who came before me. It means understanding my responsibility to honor and celebrate my ancestors in the presence of my daughters and nieces and teach them about their roots and culture.

My advice to youth interested in careers with the Federal government would be to understand what it means to serve others. Since you will be in a public service position, you must be clear that the public is your priority. Their interests, needs and expectations depend on your work. You must remember that your work as a public servant should be done with dignity, integrity, and honor. Also realize that just like any other career, you can create the path you want. Don't be afraid to ask questions and take a chance on trying new things.

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce African Americans during Black History Month.