Sharoni Denise Little

Affiliated Research Scientist, Center for Effective Organizations & Chief Executive Officer, The Strategist Company, LLC

Dr. Sharoni Denise Little is a global strategist,leading organizational expert, and noted scholar. The CEO of The Strategist Company, LLC, a global boutique advisory company, her clients include corporate, educational, government, and community entities, where she devises holistic, inclusive, and data-informed strategies and solutions.

A former corporate executive, Dr. Little served as the inaugural Head, Global Inclusion at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the leading global entertainment, and sports company, where she developed, implemented, and evaluated a strategic and sustainable organizational framework leading to vital inclusive business systems and practices, professional development for nearly 2,000employees, and an enhanced culture. Prior to joining CAA, Dr. Little, an Emerita professor,at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, developed and taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive courses throughout her nearly 25-year tenure, and served as the Vice Dean and Senior Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, launching its Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Committed to innovative and sustainable organizational solutions, she continues to serve as an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations. Outside of the Marshall School of Business, Dr. Little taught in the USC, Rossier School of Education, USC, Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, the USC Sol Price School of Planning, and lectured at numerous global institutions.

A thought-leader and prominent speaker, Dr. Little has been featured in various media outlets, including her two TEDx talks, Storytime: Confronting and Disrupting Marginalizing Narratives (2020), and The Gift of Corrective Lenses (2016), as well as the Financial Times, The Sports Business Journal, Inclusion Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Paley Center for Media, Marketplace, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and PBS.

Her seminal research includes, book chapters, “Ain’t She A First Lady?” Michelle Obama, Black Women’s Narratives, and the Rhetoric of Identification,” in Michelle Obama and the FLOTUS Effect: Platform, Presence, and Agency (2020), and “‘Don’t Lean-Jump In’: The Fierce Urgency to Confront, Dismantle, and (Re)Write the Historical Narrative of Black Boys in Educational Institutions,” in The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys (2018) and her forthcoming book, “The Perpetual Surveillance of Black Men” (2024).

An educational and social advocate, Dr. Little serves as a Board Trustee at Compton Community College and was selected as an Inaugural Trustee Fellow in partnership with the California Community Colleges and the Aspen Institute’s, College Excellence Program. She is the Vice Chair of the California Community Colleges’ Women’s Caucus, is a member of the California Community Colleges, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility statewide steering committee, and is Parliamentarian for the National Association of Community College Trustees, Black Caucus. Committed to equity research, policy, and community outcomes, Dr. Little also is a Senior Advisor for the City of Compton’s, the Obama Foundation’s, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, Fresh Tracks leadership development program for youth in urban, rural, and tribal communities(where she served as the inaugural program, evaluator and co-led the transition to an assessment partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and John Hopkins University), and served on the Compton Pledge Guaranteed Income program’s advisory board.

Leading at the intersection of transformative public/private partnerships, Dr. Little served as the founding Chief Operations Officer of the Yet unde Price Resource Center (YPRC), a comprehensive violence prevention and education non-profit in Compton, California, established by Serena and Venus Williams, in honor of their sister who was tragically murdered. She also served as the Executive Director of a leading Los Angeles civic engagement organization, where she garnered funding and guided a national leadership institute funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Committed to juvenile justice reform, Dr. Little co-led an interdisciplinary and multi-organizational evaluation team for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, to implement and assess the Children’s Defense Fund, “Freedom School,” a culturally responsive literacy program for historically underrepresented and under-resourced students in juvenile camps.

Dr. Little earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University, an Ed.D. from the University of Southern California, and her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from California State University, Los Angeles, as well as several professional certifications, including the Society of Human Resources Management, Senior Certified Professional, Cornell University, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Evaluating Social Problems program. She is a Los Angeles County Commissioner and a former board member of the Curtis School, Buckley School, and St. Anne’s Family Services.

Recent Research