Shirley is a graduate of Western Washington University and Seattle University Law School and, after graduation, served on the Washington State Supreme Court legal staff. She was a partner in an Olympia law firm, and served in both attorney positions and in key administrative positions at the executive level of the Attorney General’s Office. She retired from the Attorney General’s Office in 2014 after 35 years and since then has been a consultant for other government entities on strategic planning and transition management. She served on the Member Advisory Committee for Organizational Infrastructure at Twin Star Credit Union and was appointed by the Governor to the state Executive Ethics Board in 2017, where she continues to serve.

Shirley is an Olympia native who grew up in the Bigelow neighborhood and has a keen interest in preserving the history of the city, its neighborhoods and the Bigelow House. She served as OHS&BHM Board Secretary from 2014-2017 and as President from 2017-2020.