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 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 67 million views.
Shirley is the founder of the media company Willie B. Productions which puts the power of the human spirit at the heart of everything they create. In April 2021, Shirley started production of what will be her directorial debut of her first documentary feature film A Break in Belonging which reveals the untold story of Martin Thomas, a formerly incarcerated pastor determined to rebuild family bonds and the lives of returning citizens being released from prison. The film is currently in production and Shirley plans to wrap the film by summer of 2022.
Shirley is passionate about directing and producing content with an emphasis on content that inspires a better, transformed world. Most recently, Shirley was Showrunner for the OneX series More Than That and Director of a four part series for AT&T titled She's Connected. She also post produced a feature length documentary entitled Intent to Destroy that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, and a documentary for Annenberg Space For Photography about the rich history of walls. While her directing and producing credits include projects with brands like Toyota, Paypal, Porsche and Roc Nation, Shirley is currently expanding into directing feature films and scripted series.
In conjunction with her directing and producing work, 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 18,000 members, dedicated to empowerment, employment and equity within the entertainment industry. Within the organization, she creates key relationships with reputable community organizations and media conglomerates that have an emphasis on inclusion in entertainment. In addition, Shirley is a board member of the Post New York Alliance, Foresight For-Givers Foundation and 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 new leaders and content creators across film, digital and television programming.