Shontel Brown (1975- )

Brown posing in front of American flag
Rep. Shontel Brown, ca. 2021
Photograph by Ike Hayman, courtesy U.S. House of Representatives under public domain

Shontel Monique Brown is a business professional, politician (D) and congresswoman, serving as the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district since 2021. Brown was born on June 24, 1975, in Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother Rikki, is a human resources professional at the Cleveland Clinic, and her father Tony, is a basketball coach at Warrensville Heights City School District. She graduated from John Adams High School in Cleveland in 1992, and then attended Cuyahoga Community College, graduating with as associates degree in business management in 1994. Brown obtained her bachelors degree in organizational management from Wilberforce University’s CLIMB program in 1996.

Immediately after graduating, Brown began working as a regional marketing representative for MSC Distribution (1996-1997), as a marketing support representative for Telco Communications Group (1997-1999), and then as a senior account manager for Radio One (1999-2004). She also worked as the director of sales for (2004-2009), before founding her own marketing assistance firm, Diversified Digital Solutions (DDS), which she still currently operates. DDS specializes in providing printing and marketing options and solutions for businesses and non-profit organizations.

Brown entered politics in 2011 when she was elected to the Warrensville Heights City Council. She held the office for three years, and was then elected to represent the 9th district in the Cuyahoga County Council in 2014. In 2017, Brown was elected chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, making her the first African American and first woman to serve in the position.

After the inauguration of President Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States in January 2021, Ohio congressional member Marcia Fudge was nominated and confirmed as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Biden administration. The move forced her to resign her seat, causing a vacancy, prompting the need for a special election for Ohio’s 11th district. Brown won both the primary and general elections, and was sworn in on November 4, 2021. In the 2022 primary for the 11th district, Brown was endorsed by President Biden, and again defeated her opponents to retain her seat.

Congresswoman Brown is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, and the Congressional Black Caucus. She serves on the Agriculture, and the Oversight and Reform committees. Brown was the keynote speaker for the 2022 Wilberforce commencement She is a lifelong resident of her county and state, and currently lives in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.