Shirley Vernae Williams is an accomplished director and Emmy-nominated executive producer from New Haven, Connecticut. With over 10 years of experience, Shirley has contributed to several television, film, podcast and digital projects including the New York Times People Matter, History Channel’s Alone, and several Vice, Refinery29 and Bleacher Report series which collectively have generated over 70 million views.


Shirley is passionate about directing and producing content with an emphasis on empowerment and education. She is the founder of Willie B. Productions, a production company that puts the power of the human spirit at the heart of everything they create. Developing stories big and small, featuring dynamic characters inside content that inspires a better, transformed world.


Most recently, Shirley directed a four part docu-series for AT&T  focused on females that are breaking barriers in their industry to pave the way for the next generation of women and girls. This year she won Adweek’s 2022 best podcast of the year for diversity, equity and inclusion for More Than That With Gia Peppers which she was showrunner.  While her directing and producing credits include projects with brands like Toyota, Paypal, Porsche and Roc Nation, Shirley’s production company has a scripted series in development, a docu-series headed into production as they continue to partner with brands to create digital content.


Shirley is actively involved in mentorship and DEI work. She is the Head of Strategic Planning and Partnerships for HUE You Know, a non-profit organization with over 20,000 members, dedicated to empowerment, employment and equity within the entertainment industry for BIPOC professionals. Within the organization, she creates key relationships with reputable community organizations and media conglomerates that have an emphasis on inclusion in entertainment.  She is also host and showrunner of HUE’s podcast, Lessons For The Culture where she talks with key industry leaders to discuss how they gained their success.  In addition, Shirley is a board member of the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator Program, Post New York Alliance, Foresight For-Givers Foundation and a council delegate for the Producers Guild of America, where she is also an active member along with New York Women in Film and Television. Shirley loves building safe spaces for creatives of color in and around the production world and is focused on creating opportunities for content creators across film, digital and television programming. 


When Shirley is not setting up shots or sitting on panels, she is traveling the world, learning and growing.