Shannon McAuliffe

Shannon McAuliffe graduated from Suffolk Law in 1993 and spent the next 15 years as a public defender, practicing in both the state and federal systems. Shannon left law in 2012 to pursue a new career where she could impact change on a larger scale. She attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and obtained a Masters in Public Administration, concentrating her studies in adaptive leadership and public policy. She then joined Roca as the Director of the Chelsea site servicing 11 diverse communities and in 2015, became the Director of Roca’s newest site in Boston servicing 160+ high risk young men in highest crime areas in Boston. Roca’s evidence-based Intervention Model engages proven-risk 17-24 year old young men who are not ready willing or able to change by helping them change destructive behaviors, gain critical skills, stay out of prison and get jobs. Roca intervenes not only in the lives of these young men but also in the systems (police, courts, probation, prosecution) that greatly effect this population. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts selected ROCA as the lead service provider in a $27 million “social impact bond” project to reduce incarceration and increase employment among these court-involved and gang-involved young men. This new funding stream is incredibly innovative in that the government only pays for the services provided if and when better outcomes (reduced recidivism and increased employment) are achieved. Shannon left her organization in January 2018 to run for Suffolk County District Attorney, understanding that true reform must come from the position holding the most power in the criminal justice system. Shannon challenged the incumbent, uncontested for the past 16 years who thereafter announced he would not seek re-election. The open-seat attracted 4 more candidates and the highly-contested race triggered an elevated conversation about progressive criminal justice reform with 17 debates, and many radio and TV interviews. On September 4th, 2018, Shannon lost the Democratic Primary to Rachael Rollins. Thankfully, Shannon's work in adaptive leadership allowed her to get on the balcony, analyze the dynamics at play and understand real leadership is not about winning (nice as that would have been!) but about triggering progress and change. 

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