Dr. Shirley Raines
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An Uncommon Journey: Dr. Shirley Raines S.O. What! Success Story

When I entered college in 1997, I quickly got involved in various organizations including the Student Ambassador Board. This is where I interacted with the university president, Dr. Shirley Raines. Surprisingly, I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that we had never had a female president.

I think the 18-year-old me didn’t even consider that a woman could be a university president because I hadn’t seen or heard of it. This is why I try to help youth SEE as much positive possibility as possible now.

It wasn’t until years after I graduated that the University of Memphis was graced with the presence and impact of its first female president, Dr. Shirley Raines. Over the years I have had the amazing honor of getting to know her.  And I even found many similarities to her Uncommon Journey which is the name of her powerful memoir.

Dr. Shirley Raines is sweet and humble yet strong and impactful.

In this episode of S.O. What! Success Stories you will be inspired and reminded of the impact one person can make regardless of their background or maybe even because of humble beginnings.

Remember, new S.O. What! Success Stories will be posted each week so please subscribe to my YouTube channel and don’t miss a single episode of these inspiring interviews!


S.O. What! Success Stories with Summer Owens is a series of casual conversations with overcomers about real life and resilience. Guests share their stories including some of the challenges they faced on their journeys to success. In each conversation, Summer breaks down the S.O. What! Success System and how implementing each of the elements leads to success in the face of even the greatest adversity.

The S.O. What! Success System

Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success

Learn more about Summer and how she helps individuals and organizations achieve S.O. What! Success.


Interested in having me speak to your group or at your next event? Just contact me, and get ready to say, “SO WHAT!”.