DeAnna McLeary Sherman

True Star Media & Foundation Co-Founder


DeAnna McLeary-Sherman is the co-founder and executive director of True Star Media, a non-profit media company and digital agency that empowers disadvantaged youth to forge their own paths by providing jobs, training, and real-world work experience that teaches them how to develop, create, and market digital content on platforms that celebrate their identity and perspective while making a positive impact on their peers, families, and communities.

McLeary-Sherman is a purpose driven leader whose business acumen has had a significant impact on True Star and its ability to transform the lives of Chicago youth. Since the program’s inception in 2004, True Star has provided on-the-job training to over 15,000 youth ages 14-24 living primarily in underserved communities on the south and west sides of Chicago. Her vision led to the organization’s transformation from a print publication to a digital platform. But not only do young people produce for True Star, students also create digital content and provide digital marketing for external clients as part of the True Star digital agency.

Under McLeary-Sherman’s leadership, True Star launched a digital agency that provides its clients with unparalleled access to the culture creators, influencers, and origins of new trends. True Star provides content and marketing solutions to clients backed by youth insights they can’t get anywhere else. Some clients include: McDonald’s, Warner Bros., the US Census, the Chicago Football Classic, and State Farm, to name a few. This social enterprise helps youth gain job skills for the digital age, build a resume and portfolio that prove their potential, and expose them to professional leaders and experts through actual client work.

McLeary-Sherman is a 2019 Google Impact Grant Challenge Winner. McLeary-
Sherman is a native Chicagoan, holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and an MBA from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). In her spare time, McLeary-Sherman is a wife and mother of three girls, ages 7, 8 and 11.


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