The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) is pleased to announce the arrival of Shanell Petersen as WAPA’s new director of corporate communications.
Petersen is a native Virgin Islander, born and raised on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. A full-time resident of St. Croix since 2022, Petersen recently accepted the director, of corporate communications position at the Authority.
Previously, Shanell Petersen served as the managing director, of marketing and vision 2040 for the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA). In her capacity, she supervised a team tasked with internal and external marketing, communications and public relations efforts for VIEDA and its five units. Additionally, Petersen oversaw business attraction efforts for the diversification of the V.I. economy through the promotion of the V.I. Economic Development Commission tax incentive program.
In 2019, her role expanded to include disaster recovery, and she secured $1.59 million in grant funding for the development of the 20-year economic development plan for the territory under the leadership of the VIEDA.
Prior to returning to the USVI, Petersen owned her own business that served as a haven for marginalized groups in a commonly viewed exclusive industry in Kansas City, Missouri. Petersen’s business was featured in local publications, including The Kansas City Star (an 8th-time Pulitzer Prize recipient); Kansas City Business Journal; The Pitch, and she was named a top upcoming business by Southtown Council and Foundation.
It is within her entrepreneurial role that Petersen found her love for service and commitment to improving the quality of life for all members of her community. With 14 years of marketing, communications, public speaking and tactical expertise in the private sector, including management within a Fortune 400 company in Houston, Texas, she returned to the territory and joined the VIEDA in June of 2018.
Petersen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of the Virgin Islands and a minor in history with extensive courses in business management. She received her Advanced Marketing Strategy Certification from Tulane University in 2011 and most recently became certified in business marketing and attraction from the International Economic Development Council in May of 2020.