Shani Carter McKinney

I bring my passion for empowering others to my work as a Square One Advisor, helping clients embrace and effectively communicate their authentic voice so they are able to build applications that resonate with admissions teams at top business schools.

My professional experience spans a wide array of industries and centers around providing strategic guidance and implementation support for initiatives that directly affect the health and equity of local communities.

Currently, I am an Advisor to the Chief of Schools at Los Angeles Unified School District, where I deliver strategic planning and communications for district-wide programs connected to multi-billion-dollar investments for student learning and social-emotional wellness. Prior to LAUSD, I led as a Director at HR&A Advisors for four years, consulting with public and private clients on equitable real estate and economic development in American cities on projects ranging from the adopted NYC Plan to Close Riker’s Island to the redevelopment strategy of post-industrial land in downtown Durham, NC. I started my career at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where I worked as a senior analyst supporting sales and distribution of its investment portfolio. In addition to full-time roles, I have interned across sectors in finance, real estate, and venture capital.

I earned a bachelor's degree in finance, magna cum laude, from Howard University, where I served as President of the School of Business Executive Leadership Honors Program. I also hold a master’s in urban planning from Harvard Graduate School of Design, where I was honored with the Class Marshal distinction and received the Award for Excellence in Project-Based Urban Planning. Most recently, I graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School, where I served as the Student Association Chief Wellness Officer and founded mental health and wellness platform RESET that was accepted into the Rock Accelerator.

My commitment to health and wellbeing drives my pursuits in hiking, yoga, and sampling the robust vegan culinary scene in Los Angeles.