"Mentoring in Higher Education:  Take it Seriously" 

"Identify Future Leaders and Provide Experiences for their Success"

"Board Rooms in Higher education:  Similarities and Differences from Corporations"


"From Pink Purse to Briefcase"  – with objects from a pink purse as symbols of leadership and stories of an unlikely career path from preschool teacher to university president, Shirley leads the audience to see themselves as leaders. Most requested speech to women's organizations and women's history month.

Shirley's leadership speeches can serve as the opening remarks for a leadership conference, the culmination of a series of sessions, or the inspiration to schedule a whole leadership development series.


"Whether in a board room or before 18,000 at the FedEx Forum, Dr. Raines immediately connects with people.  she embodies what leadership is - character, capability, and being a catalyst for change."  - Thomas Kadien, Vice President, International Paper.

Shirley uses humor, real-life examples, insights and challenges to inspire audiences from the podium, in the classroom, or the boardroom.

Shirley has presented keynote addresses and conducted leadership seminars in the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, England, Germany, Canada and Switzerland.

Her two focus areas are early childhood education and leadership development. 

Dr. Raines served for 5 years on the Faculty of the Harvard Institute for New Presidents and Chancellors and was invited back each year until her university retirement.

Keynote SpeakEr

Keynote Speaker, Author,
Leadership Development Consultant

​Examples of inspirational Keynotes 

"Life Story: From Preschool Teacher to University President”
Delivered for Induction into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame.

​“Dreamers, Thinkers, Doers”
More than a motto, the speech emphasizes successful people’s steps to make a difference. Speech is adaptable to highlight prominent leaders in a variety of fields.

Delivered to educators, Regional U.S. attorney’s staff, foundations, AAUW programs.

​“Three Keys to Professionalism”
Professionalism is represented by three sets of keys, an old brass skeleton key, a set of keys used every and a digital key. All the keys must be used to unlock the doors to success.

Delivered to NCAA Student-Athlete Conference, scholarship banquets, International Association of Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago, Tennessee Labor-Management Conference, and Commencement Addresses for several colleges and universities.

Examples of Early Childhood keynote speeches

"Life Lessons from Children's Literature" - Standing ovation at Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Conference

"Creativity and Arts for the Young Child"

"STEM starts with Young Children's Curiosity about Nature"

Author of  two children's books, one on Butterflies and one on Birds, Shirley speaks to teachers and curriculum specialists at conferences, retreats, and has a Nature Book Trail at the UT Arboretum and Nature Center based on her Butterflies Book.

As a member of the Governor's Books from Birth Advisory Council, Dr. Raines spoke to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Boards across the state.