It is a privilege to have Shannon as part of our BPWNC family. At 42, she is a lesson and a role model for us but is particularly inspiring to young women who are struggling to overcome challenges in working toward professional and personal success.
Shannon always knew she wanted a college degree, but life choices and circumstances caused her to put that dream on hold for a long time. As she puts it:
“I always say I did everything backwards in terms of having children at a young age, completing school later in life, and beginning a ‘career’ at 30”. She is certainly not alone in that!!
As a child, she grew up on welfare and wanted to break that cycle and many other negative ones modeled for her. She tried to go back to school in 1995 while pregnant with her first child. When that first attempt didn’t work out, she returned to Sierra College in 2004 and completed an Associate’s Degree in Accounting by 2008. At that time Shannon began working for the Union, ultimately leaving in 2013 to return to school full-time. In January 2014, she began the first of five semesters at Chico State, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelors degree in Accounting and minors in Management and Ethics in May 2016. As Shannon says, it was a challenging time balancing the commute, children, finances and, because she is an over-achiever, Teaching Assistant, student Office Assistant, and VP of Beta Alpha Psi. And, during much of this time, she was a faithful and hard-working BPW member. Where did she find the time!
Through all this, Shannon and her husband have raised six children in their blended family—three boys and three girls, ages 12-24. The four oldest are now grown and independent, the youngest two Shannon describes as bright, challenging, funny, kind, thoughtful and artistic. Shannon has lived many places, concluding that she has probably lived in 30-35 different homes and towns, not only in California but in Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts. She and her husband bought their second home together in 2017 in what she describes as an “oldie” built in 1881 and located on Mill Street in Grass Valley. They love it!
Shannon is, as ever, modest, giving others credit for the inspiration to achieve her dreams. When asked what inspired her to become a member of BPW, she mentioned Jennifer Wilkerson’s encouragement, Lindy’s help with her scholarship applications and interview process, the “dynamic duo of Lynn & Judy as co-presidents,” the programs, the women, and the support; she says she misses the energy that was present in the meetings which she feels has changed for various reasons. Shannon says: “If I could say anything about the changes I’ve seen and felt, don’t let the current administration harden your hearts and make you forget who you are and what you’ve fought for in the past.”
In her spare time [hah!] Shannon particularly enjoys reading biographies, autobiographies, science-fiction and books about spirituality and recovery. She enjoys exercise (weightlifting, spin and PiYo especially), visiting family, playing Rummikub and eating good food, although she is way too busy to do much cooking or baking right now.
Shannon is most proud of attaining her college degree and getting clean. Her advice to young women now is to go to college, avoid debt, save for retirement, exercise, eat well, find their passion and don’t take themselves so seriously. “That’s the exact advice I’d have given my younger self,” says Shannon. She hopes to someday work less and travel more. Those of us who have worked with Shannon on the board know how dedicated a colleague and friend she is. BPW is lucky to have her as an officer, a member and a shining example of humanity.