Shirley is impactful, a deep listener, inspirational, perceptive, and empathetic. For over 30 years she has been transforming  cultures, supporting leaders, challenging status quos, shifting systems and inspiring people to live and lead with their best selves.

At Shirley McAlpine & Associates, Shirley has brought together a group of creative problem solvers and passionate contributors who share the same commitment to humanity. She created her company to expand the reach and impact of her work and to bring innovative answers to the challenge of how people fulfil their potential at work and beyond. And how we can truly thrive every day, not just survive.

Living and working in both the UK and the US, and working in other parts of the world such as Europe and Africa has afforded Shirley the experience of working across many different cultures. She brings a distinct lens, challenging existing norms in a compassionate and courageous way.

Her coaching has an ontological underpinning and is grounded in developing active listening skills, improving emotional intelligence, Gestalt Theory, working with systems and mindful reflection. Her work includes both individual as well as team coaching.

She is PCC accredited by International Coaching Federation and Faculty on one of only 50 fully accredited ICF programs globally. She has also designed an ICF program on Race for coaches’ continual development with CEUs. She is trained in Hellinger’s Systemic theory, EQ, Gestalt, and an accredited Intercultural Development Inventory Assessor (IDI).

Over the years her diversity work has included supporting the launch of the Soros Equality Fellowship and coached Fellows who are leaders influencing the racial justice field and delivering Diversity Engagement Sessions to the top 1000 leaders in Shell. She led an award-winning organizational change diversity program called ‘People Matter’ for Marks & Spencer’s leading suppliers. She also designed and delivered a Diversity and Inclusion program called ‘Daring to be Different’ for all Partners in KPMG UK.

In 2017 she designed and chaired the very first ‘Inspiring Black and Asian Leader’ Windsor Leadership program delivered at Windsor Castle in September 2017.

She has spent the last 10 years providing leadership and coaching services to the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives to support the expansion of their critical work, and has held several voluntary positions

Shirley launched She’s Got Drive Podcast at the historic Apollo’s Women of the World Festival in 2017. She interviews Black women about their success and how they achieved it. Through their stories, listeners are inspired to pursue their own dreams. Shirley provides personal development tools and life strategies for her audience on “How to live your life by design and not default”. In 2019 She’s Got Drive was named by Black Enterprise as one of the top 20 podcasts for Black women to listen to. Now at episode 114 – her guests include Apollo’s Creative Director Kamilah Forbes, Former Facebook’s Paulette Rowe, CBS Anchor Michelle Miller, Hope Boykin from Alvin Ailey and Julie Wenah, President Obama Appointee.

In 2007, she expanded into the world of film as Co-Producer and Director of Birthwise, sharing powerful guidance on preparation for birth and a full prenatal class. Endorsed by Thandiwe Newton, it has been featured in The Telegraph, The Guardian, Prima and Juno magazine. This was a catalyst for her work as an avid supporter of birth activists and consulting in the birth space.

Formerly, Shirley was Chair of the Apollo’s EmpowerHER Women’s Network, a Fawcett Society (a UK Women’s campaign organization) Board Member, and a School Governor. Shirley was invited to Buckingham Palace, London following her campaign to raise awareness of Breast Cancer amongst Black women, and appeared on the BBC’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, and local and regional BBC radio programs in England and Ireland, and in Black-led media channels.

Shirley brings a business acumen, strategic thinking and commitment to having all her work make a difference.

Originally from London Shirley has lived in Chicago for 8 years with her husband Dan and two children.

Amelia Nicol


“I don’t always get it right but for me thriving is about having a good balance of family, health, social time and work. It’s taken a while to know that I can’t thrive in all of them all of the time but I strive to thrive in a couple at least! Autonomy is important to me. I like clarity on what needs to be done but I like to be in charge of how I do it – no micro management for me!

I have had enough experience now of thriving and not thriving to know that when I’m thriving I have energy, and confidence and feel like I have resilience for whatever life throws at me.”

Seema n. Patel


“In life, I thrive when I’m taking on new artistic projects, enjoying time with my family and community, and when I’m surrounded by nature. 

At work, I thrive when I’m able to use my creativity and organizational skills to support others to succeed and believe in the transformative possibilities of their work. I also thrive when I’m given the space to learn from and collaborate with others who can deepen my understanding and connections to the world.” 

Joyce Ferris


“I thrive in life when…”

Trenia Parham

I thrive on connection, care and conversations that get to the truth and heart of the matter with compassionate honesty. Helping someone to feel seen, heard and have their experiences validated, which is key for success as a leader. I light up when my clients are self-aware and trust themselves more as they step into the next level of their work and career.
For me to thrive in my work, respect and autonomy are of utmost importance. As well as working with people who are invested in the outcome as much as I am. These foundational elements create a solid foundation from which to create, innovate and deliver the best results.
When I’m thriving I feel peaceful and energetic at the same time. I have boundless energy and excitement for what’s right in front of me. Thriving is a balance of ambition and future goals with love and appreciation for what I have in the present moment.


Amelia has 20+ years’ experience across many industries including property, media and of course wellness. An early pioneer as a virtual PA, Amelia has supported CEOs to deliver growth. She joined Shirley McAlpine and Associates in 2016 and supports the growth of new courses, new clients and ensuring their digital presence is engaging and inspiring.
She joined forces with Shirley in 2016 to support her growing consultancy.
Amelia is a creative thinker with proven success in finding new solutions for everyday problems that face a CEO of a growing business. 
Amelia is married with 2 children and lives in SW London.  She loves HiiT workouts and has a weakness for new trainers and gym leggings. 


With over 20 years of experience working with non-profit organizations and for-profit companies focused on social change – as a manager, advisor, leader, and volunteer – Seema has committed herself to advancing transformational change. Her cumulative professional experience spans across topics that closely align with her core values – alternative and renewable energy, social and sustainable entrepreneurship, network and coalition-building, small business management, and operational design and management. As a consultant and advisor with Collective Mind, a small business dedicated to global network-building and the power of collective action, Seema specialized in knowledge management and peer learning, business and operational design and implementation, client research and analysis, and communications and marketing. In her work with the United Nations Foundation, Seema led a program on clean fuel alternatives to counter harmful cooking practices in the Global South, traveling and working closely with local partners and entrepreneurs to design and implement adaptive interventions. Seema’s diverse and multi-cultural experiences have enabled her to assess needs, design and deliver results-based solutions, address conflict, and serve as a bridge to transformation and understanding. 

Seema’s education includes a Bachelor and Masters degree in international relations & environmental policy and a minor in Peace Studies. She also spent time as an English language tutor to the Tibetan migrant community in Dharamsala, India, a researcher with the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi, Kenya, and studied art history in London, UK. She is passionate about using her diverse knowledge and experiences to see connections across bodies of work and use them to facilitate collaboration, design organizational processes, and implement creative approaches. Seema is based in Chicago, Illinois and is an aspiring artist, a world explorer, and a devoted auntie and pet mom.

She has joined Shirley’s team to support her and her work as SMA’s Chief of Staff.

Joyce brings to Shirley McAlpine Associates 35+ years as a veteran entrepreneur, CFO and investor in the renewable energy, sustainability, and impact sectors. She brings deep expertise and creativity in capital sourcing and structuring via project finance, venture, private equity and family offices. She has built or scaled 30+ emerging businesses and coached 50+ CEOs through high growth challenges.  She is passionate about empowering diverse leaders to better understand their strategic and financial opportunities, value and goal status while providing the tools, systems, and processes to align growth with mission. Most recently, Joyce served as the CFO of a Sustainable Infrastructure Fund and CFO/COO of a high growth solar development company. Joyce loves the art of both business and life transitions and believes that navigating transitions skillfully is critical to sustainably aligning one’s time and resources with their values. With a BA from Reed College in History and Philosophy and a BS from University of Pennsylvania in Energy Management and Policy, Joyce is an integrative thinker and is obsessed with building tools to enable busy people to design a path forward, track progress and continuously tune their vision. Joyce is mother of a grown son, wife of a brilliant marine ecologist, a saltwater sailor, a fledgling artist and a life-long learner.


Trenia Parham is an Executive & Leadership Coach for mission-driven women leaders. She’s dedicated to supporting leaders who feel depleted and exhausted transition to leading, working and having impact in a way that’s sustainable for them and the organizations they lead.

Trenia has diverse experience as a Social Worker, Relationship Coach, leader and strategist in the nonprofit and public sectors. Her background and knowledge give her empathy, understanding, and strategies that make her an exceptional coach.

During the first part of her career, she served as a domestic violence Court Advocate and Consultant for New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services providing child welfare case consultations and training to Child Protective Workers and Supervisors. Ms. Parham later served as a leader in NYC’s Department of Education brokering and managing multiple partnerships, stakeholders and multimillion-dollar grants in 3 school districts, as well as providing strategy, coaching and training to principals and other school-based support staff.

While working full-time, Trenia started Love, Trenia LLC in 2008. She helped high-achieving women find love, create better boundaries and improve relationships through one-on-one coaching, group coaching programs, books, videos and her signature Love Out Loud events. After a decade, she pivoted her focus to Executive and Leadership Coaching and helping leaders and companies have clear conversations and improve relationships in the workplace.

Ms. Parham graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, and minors in Anthropology and Africana Studies. She earned a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and was an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College. Trenia served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica and loves to travel in her free time.


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