TaNikka Sheppard, President

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getting to know Tanikka...

Dr. TaNikka Marie Sheppard is a mentor, minister and spiritual leader who helps churches, organizations and institutions positively engage and lead the next generations. She has had the opportunity to speak, serve and study in venues around the United States and in a variety of countries, including Canada, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Germany and India.

TaNikka is the newly elected President of Baptist Women of North America (BWNA), formerly known as the North American Baptist Women’s Union. This organization represents and supports four million+ Baptist women in the United States and Canada by providing networking, resourcing and leadership development opportunities and experiences that help them live out Kingdom life, especially in areas that serve the vulnerable. TaNikka is also a Vice-President in the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department, which is globally devoted to help women grow to their full potential, unite in Christ, and work towards justice and reconciliation. Previously, TaNikka served as the leader and a team member of the International Youth Development Department of Lott Carey, which provides national and international opportunities for youth and young adults to become compassionate and productive global citizens that play an active role in making a positive difference in the world.

In 2009 TaNikka was licensed in ministry at New Salem Baptist Church (NSBC) under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Keith A. Troy. However, she began her journey in ministry at the very young age of four in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. For many years she played the cello in a string quartet with her three sisters until the siblings graduated from high school and moved on to college. As an undergraduate student TaNikka saw a need for a ministry that would nurture the spirit and souls of young women on college campuses. Therefore, she founded a Christian sorority, Alpha Nu Omega in 2000. Three years later the ministry became an incorporated chapter of the national organization, which bears the same name. In 2001 TaNikka also founded the Coalition of Christian Women with a vision to build bridges across generational, racial and economic gaps and form networks that would empower women to transform their lives, families and communities.

TaNikka received her two B.A. degrees in Sociology and African American & African Studies from The Ohio State University in 2002. In May of 2010 she graduated from the Methodist Theological School of Ohio with a Master’s of Divinity degree and a specialization in Youth Ministry.  She received her Doctor of Ministry degree in Global Leadership at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University in May of 2018. Her studies focused on leadership development, liberation theologies, and contemporary missiologies, with a research concentration among the Dalit Christian Federation in Bengaluru, India.

For four years TaNikka worked as a constituent aide at the Ohio Senate and in 2002 she served as the State Director of the Freedom’s Answer Program at the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. Since 2008, TaNikka has served as the Director of Life Development at NSBC where she coordinates and develops ministries, programs, events and community outreaches for youth and college students. In addition to this, she leads the Communications Department, which allows her to engage her passion for sharing the Good News in unique and transformative ways.

While TaNikka continues to be humbled, honored and transformed by every door that God opens for her to grow and utilize her passions for leadership development, missional service and organizational advancement, it is only by God’s power and for Christ’s glory that she endeavors to live by the words said by Jesus in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”