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Nimasheena Burns was born at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina and raised in Tar Heel, North Carolina.  She received her Bachelors in Communications and a minor in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She moved to Durham for graduate school after receiving her Bachelors and has proudly called Durham home ever since. She holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from North Carolina Central University.   She is currently working on her Masters in Cyber Security at Brown University. She is also a graduate of Leadership NC and the North Carolina Defense Contractors Academy. She has worshiped at Southside Church of Christ in Durham for almost 18 years.

Burns has a stellar career in the field of economic development, public affairs and public policy. She has worked as an assistant public affairs specialist with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, as an Outreach and Affairs Officer in the N.C. Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Division and the Office of the Attorney General and as the Director of public affairs and loan marketing for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in North Carolina — all before accepting her current position as Director of Communications and Project Management for the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.


Nimasheena currently serves as the Deputy Chief of External Affairs for the NC Department of Public Safety.  There she Manages External Affairs for ReBuild NC, a $745 million program that established the Homeowner Recovery Program to help homeowners repair, reconstruct or elevate homes damaged by the storms and established the Strategic Buyout Program that liaises with local governments to identify areas with the greatest risk of damage from future hurricanes and flood. Currently supporting the development of the state’s first eviction and utilities assistance program, NC Housing Opportunity and Prevention of Eviction’s (H.O.P.E.) strategic communication plan, equitable application process, program launch, external relations statewide approach and fund disbursement of $164 million. 



Nimasheena previously served as the Director of Communications and Project Management for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs under Secretary Larry Hall. She manages an economic development partnership for the Department of Defense that she co-founded, entitled the North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NC DIDI).  She works with some of North Carolina's most vulnerable small to medium enterprises and companies to support the diversification of their contract and product portfolios by investing funding in them to increase their work in the commercial sector. It is there, that she works with some of NC’s most vulnerable companies to support the diversification of their product/service portfolio by providing them funding to increase their work in the commercial sector. Most recently She has also been tapped by the US Department of Defense to work with Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness to develop best practices for contractors in marketing and cybersecurity.  That work led to her successful acceptance into Brown University’s Master’s in Cybersecurity Class of 2022. She edited and managed the development of North Carolina's first defense supply chain study and the state’s first definitive defense cluster analysis.   That work has led economic developers state wide to work with companies in their counties make their communities for marketable to prime contracting from both the public and commercial sector. She spearheaded the development of the new Universal Production Growth Resiliency and Diversification Extension (UPGRADE) Program: A $5 million program for NC companies moving into the commercial sector.  Worked on a multifunctional to develop  Cyber Security tool kit and curriculum for the NC's Defense contractors to fulfill National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) cyber compliance requirements.


While at the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency of North Carolina she served as the Director of Public Affair, Outreach and Loan Marketing under Former Congressman and FSA State Executive Director Bob Etheridge.  She was responsible for studies of social markets, demographics, and internal and external relationship trends, partnership relations, grassroots outreach and interagency coordination that lead to FSA’s overall $327 million investment into NC's economy.  She detailed as the statewide congressional liaison for Hurricane Recovery during Hurricane Matthew and aided in ushering in the  designation of 39 counties as primary natural disaster areas in the state.  North Carolina had a checkered past when it came to lending in underserved communities.  Underserved or beginning farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for either FSA direct loans or guaranteed loans.  She is proud to say that during her tenure she aided in North Carolina FSA obligating over $68 million in loans to assist almost 500 targeted underserved, veteran and beginning producers. Tapped as the USDA FSA state coordinator for Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI). The DOD program that supports the protection of “buffer land” around military installations. She coordinated the states first Rural Opioid Roundtable with the White House Rural Council in 2016. Those efforts lead to the funding for more beds in medical facilities for those suffering with an opioid addiction.  With those resources now more readily available and a broader definition of what includes addiction, she is hopeful that she can get those same services available to the citizens of Durham. 




Burns has been asked to serve as a guest consumer analyst for various media outlets and has made over 1000 keynote, presenter and consultative appearances, speaking on issues ranging from Cyber Security and Identity Theft to child Internet safety and cyberbullying to financial literacy and security breaches to Medicare Fraud and Human Trafficking.  She has worked as a Consumer Protection Specialist and later a Senior Consumer Protection Officer.

  • Recognized by Partners Against Trafficking Humans in NC for taking steps to produce curriculum material and educate parents about the dangers for youth on the internet.

  • Tapped by then Attorney General Cooper to develop and manage the first “College Cash and Credit Tour”. She traveled with AG Cooper to our state’s public and private institutes of higher Education presenting on the most recent correlations between identity theft and cybersecurity for individuals between the age of 18-34. 

  • Editor and Writer for the North Carolina Domestic Homicide Report 2010 through 2015

  • For eight years she served as member of the Governor’s Multi-Discipline Grant Review Team for the state of North Carolina.

  • Reviewed or managed  approximately $12 million external/ internal grant applications overall.

  • Highly sought out by financial management firms, chambers of commerce and banking institutions for work in financial literacy, credit scoring review and mortgage fraud. 


While at the NC Department of Transportation she Monitored and managed weekly grant submissions from 350 NC law enforcement agencies to aid them in securing grant funding for traffic equipment.  She also directed the State's First Kid's Governors Highway Safety Conference.   She successfully advocated for the ban on Teenage Drivers Cell Phone use (Senate Bill 1289) and the new Motorcycle Helmet Laws as well as Ushered in Grant Funding for BATmobile's, Seat Belt Convincers and Safe Driving Simulators to be used as educational tools for NC's Law Enforcement Community.

Her dynamic speaking ability has landed her the opportunity to guest lecture at over 20 of the state’s public and private universities, including a guest lecturer at NCCU Law and UNC Law on Child Internet Safety; and served as a lecturer at Kenan Flagler School of Business on mortgage fraud.


She has served on boards for the NC Women’s Empowerment Conference, State Employees Combined Campaign, Health Fraud Prevention Re-victimization Project, USDA Strikeforce Taskforce, Rural Economic Development Loan Enterprise Taskforce, the NC Recidivism Taskforce, Green Rural Development, and H.A.P.E. (Helping All People Excel).  She also served on the national coordinating team for USDA/White House Rural Council on Opioid Epidemic during the Obama Administration.

While not a public health professional, after years of watching her sister thrive, not suffer, with Lupus and kidney disease, she took note of the how broadly kidney failure was prominent in the black community.  Nimasheena took a chance and applied for an Albert Schweitzer Public Health Fellowship in 2013, which she received.  She used the funding to start the Don’t Kid Yourself Foundation, for the early detection of kidney failure.  She partnered with UNC Hospital’s Kidney Bus to travel to distressed areas in the African American community.

Ms. Burns Also Previously worked as a Spanish Instructor for the Upward Bound Program, Community Outreach Liaison for the Carolina Women's Center and Public Policy Associate with Brad Thompson and Associates Government Relations. 



2019  UNC Chapel Hill Harvey Beech Outstanding Young Alumni Award Winner,  

2017 40 under 40 Awardee for the Triangle Business Journal,

2016 Triangle Business Journal Woman in Public Policy Award,

2016 Wells Fargo/Blue Cross and Blue Shield Young Executive of the Year Award,

2016 Spectacular Magazine Emerging Leader of the Year

2013 Albert Schweitzer Public Health Fellowship


Durham Board of County Commissioner (Elected in 2020) 
North Carolina Community College Foundation Board (2019- Present)  
Farmland Preservation Board (2019 – Present)
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Board (Elected 2021)
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science Board (2020 – Present) 
Go Triangle Special Tax Board – Secretary (2020 – Present) 
Durham Public Library Board of Trustees (2020 – Present) 
Carolina Theatre Board of Directors (2020 – Present) 
Durham Workforce Development Board (2019 – Present) 
NC Defense Industry Diversification Initiative Advisory Board (2017- Present)  
Triangle H.A.P.E (Helping All People Excel) -Board Chair (2017- Present)  
NC State Employees Combined Campaign (Agency Exec Dir 2008 to 2015) 
North Carolina Chapter Public Relations Society of America (2015 to Present)  
North Carolina Association of Public Information Officers (2012-Present)  
Triangle Women in Stem (2018 – Present)  
Financial Literacy Council (2012-2014)  
NC Senior Fraud Taskforce (2008-2012)  
Governors Human Trafficking Commission (2011-2015)  
Governor’s Street Safe Taskforce on Recidivism (2008 – 2012)  


Habitat For Humanity 

Girls Code

Dress For Success

Lupus Foundation of North Carolina


In Short NIMASHEENA BURNS CHECKS ALL THE BOXES. Check the Box for Burns on March 3rd, 2020. 


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