I knew Shannon was a rare breed the minute I met her. I was instantly drawn to this woman, yet at the time couldn’t put my fingertips on why I felt this way. As we spent more time together, I realized she is a perpetual learner—always interested in exploring something new. And she has a varied background to prove it. She was a basketball player in high school, has a marketing degree but is a neuroscience geek at heart, worked various positions in the corporate world, spent time in culinary school and owned a food truck (before it was even cool!), is a certified yoga instructor, and besides all her other volunteer work was a “Flower Fairy”! She took old and abandoned flowers from grocery stores, cleaned them up and delivered them to nursing homes. All this as well as being an extraordinary writer! Sometimes I think she comes from another planet!
Her biggest passion, however, is connecting to people and cultures. She loves to travel and immerse herself, not in museums of new places, but in the people, the lifeblood of a neighborhood or community. I was fortunate enough to accompany Shannon on one of her interviews; I was her translator of sorts. This intimate exchange lasted over four hours, yet during that time, there were (of course) tears shed, but the smiles and laughter are what I remember most.
Shannon immediately puts everyone at ease with her happy expression, her graciousness and her aura, regardless of language barriers. She once told me, “I just walk around with a smile on my face and see what happens.” Hands down, she will leave this world a better place…and maybe that’s what drew me to her.
Her rarity is the essence of who she truly is: a thoughtful, philosophical, edgy, grounded, deep, honest, real, take-her-or-leave-her kind of woman. Regardless of everything Shannon has accomplished in her life so far, empowering women is the core of her purpose. She is a true advocate. She hasn’t always had an easy path, but her journey has brought her to this amazing space in time where she will indelibly leave her mark on this world. I am honored to call her my friend.