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When she was five years old, Shannon announced to her family that she would be “the first woman President of the United States.”

While it seemed quaint all those decades ago – “everyone thought that surely a woman would reach the White House before I was old enough to run” – it remains a fact that no woman has ever been elected to the highest political office in America.

Shannon is a nationally recognized trainer, strategies, civic engagement consultant, and leadership coach. Her commitment to helping others – both women and men – embrace their political ambitions and plot their paths to office has brought her to communities throughout the United States, where she has trained thousands of individuals and worked alongside hundreds of candidates and elected officials. And her dedication to creating a more active and diverse democracy has led her to work with numerous organizations on a national level. Much of her 20-year career was spent in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, MN, before returning home to West Michigan in 2007.

Whether as candidates or voters, social service providers or social change agents, Shannon’s passion is partnering with underrepresented populations to help amplify their civic voices and build their political power. Through her work with nonpartisan groups, such as The White House Project and Alliance for Justice, Shannon has spearheaded and advised electoral and legislative efforts at the municipal, county, state, and national levels.

Shannon started SMG Strategies in 2011 where she combines her political, legislative, and legal skills with deep on-the-ground experience. SMG Strategies’ trainings and coaching are known for breaking down fears about running for office and helping people to “own” their political ambitions. Shannon’s energetic style and her down-to-earth insight helps cut through unproductive political drama and focus on getting things done. She is also a co-founder and a board member of VoteRunlead and a founder partners of Civicize.Me. Through SMG Strategies, VoteRunLead, and Civicize.Me, Shannon intentionally and directly addresses the impact of intersectionality on political leadership in order to welcome more individuals into the civic space and strengthen our democracy and civic institutions.

Shannon is a 1994 graduate of Alma College (Alma, MI), and a 2004 graduate of University of Minnesota Law School. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. In 2009, she received the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids’ “Edison Award” for extraordinary leadership in nonprofit innovation. In 2010, she was the Michigan Second Congregational District’s “Precinct Delegate Honoree” for her personal leadership as a locally elected precinct delegate for her county political party. In 2011, Shannon received a mayoral appointment to the City of Holland’s Human Relations Commission.