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Shawna McWaters is a Managing Partner at EMBLEM Strategies, LLC. She is an accomplished program executive with 35+ years of proven experience managing high-value strategic initiatives across the public, non-profit and academic sectors. Shawna is an expert who consistently produces exceptional quality work products that are defensible, meet grant and mission objectives, and secure buy-in from internal and external audiences. She adds value through a strong ability to drive strategy, negotiate, share the vision, plan appropriate infrastructure, as well as provide hands-on leadership from initial development through implementation. Shawna offers an absolute “get it done, right, on time and within budget” approach to every project.  She is a master of project management and has an uncanny ability to break a seemingly impossible task into digestible pieces of success. 

Shawna has written, managed and directed more than $350 million in federal grants, most of them surrounding health and medical systems preparedness. She was the chief author and architect of Oklahoma’s first Catastrophic Health Emergency Act and Plan, Statewide Continuity of Operations/Government Plan and the Pandemic Influenza Management Plan. She has extensive experience regarding multi-partner planning, achieving concurrence on large scale projects, critical analysis and evaluation of operations, economic development and analysis. Shawna previously served as Chief of Staff at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Continuity of Operations Chief and Chief of Terrorism Preparedness and Response at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Risk and Crisis Management as well as various C-suite roles at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City. 

Shawna was raised in Enid, Oklahoma, where she graduated from Phillips University with a BS in Biology before migrating to Oklahoma City where she graduated with an MS in Microbiology & Immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She later earned a fellowship at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government National Preparedness Leadership Institute where she helped author the first National Health Security Strategy.

Shawna is a member of Leadership Oklahoma’s Class XXIII and serves as the Chair of the Oklahoma City adult program session on State Government and Healthcare for 2020-2021. She was honored to lead the effort that gained Oklahoma’s Strategic National Stockpile program the first “Perfect 10” score in the US. She was named to The Journal Record’s Inaugural “Achievers Under 40” class. Shawna believes it is a privilege to serve the community. She has served on numerous boards, including the Public Health Institute of Oklahoma, President of the State CDC Preparedness Program Directors, and led a statewide effort on the Obama-Biden Health Strategies Team. She and her partner, Delbert Mavity enjoy flying, boating, travelling and sharing time between their homes in Oklahoma City and Grand Lake with children, grandchildren, cats, and numerous other friends and family.

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