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A Student of Philanthropy from the Beginning
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
As a youth, Shannon excelled in mathematics at The Winsor School, one of America’s top academically-promising schools for females, and at the historic Cushing Academy, a co-ed college preparatory boarding school founded in 1865. Both schools are dedicated to educating the mind, shaping individual character, and nurturing the intellectual curiosity and creativity of students. At Winsor, Shannon learned that females can do anything well if they focus and pursue it. At her graduation from Cushing Academy, Shannon received two awards: one in Mathematics and one in Music. It was also noted that Shannon was the first student in the history of the school to win the music award with her instrument, the piano. As a varsity track and field athlete at Cushing Academy, Shannon broke the school records in the womens’ half-mile, one-mile and two-mile events.
Knowing that education was the passport to her future, Shannon attended Bryant University in Providence, RI, where she received her Associates Degree in Business Administration/Accounting. She completed her undergraduate studies at St David’s Eastern University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing.
Career and Entrepreneurship
“Come in strong, or don’t come at all.”
In 1988 Shannon embarked on an entrepreneurial career when she launched Figures & Financials, Inc., a Boston-based bookkeeping and tax service. With a goal of guiding and educating small businesses on the importance of maintaining a healthy financial status, Shannon rapidly built a strong and trusting client base. In a period of five years, Shannon opened three additional offices located in neighboring communities and hired five CPAs plus support staff to handle the influx of clients due to her ethical business practices and marketing campaigns.
“Don’t buy it unless you need it; try not to use your own money to pay for it, but if you have to, then make sure it’s tax deductible.” -Shannon Johnson’s mother
Shannon sold her bookkeeping and tax practice in late 1993, and was offered a unique opportunity to purchase a struggling Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Reading, PA with two financial partners. She chose to move forward with this opportunity utilizing her mother’s financial wisdom and her own innate business acuity. Shannon acquired the franchise with less than $5,000 of her personal money and a negotiation skillset which motivated the owner to lower his settlement price so that she would own a 49% share. She quickly turned the franchise into a profitable business and out of 80 district stores, won the franchisee “Fastest Growth Award.” Over the next two years, Shannon opened two other Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the city before exiting the partnership in 1997. She had proven herself to be a turn-around professional capable of strategic goal setting and a keen abililty to surpass expectations.
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution.” -Tina Fey
Moving from franchisee into marketing and advertising, Shannon accepted a position in 1997 as an account executive for The Philadelphia Inquirer, then a subsidiary of the publishing magnate Knight Ridder. Shannon’s five-year tenure at the Inquirer allowed her the opportunity to gain valuable experience and knowledge in marketing concepts and strategy – a specialty which she has been cultivating and refining throughout her career. During her employment with The Inquirer, Shannon identified a strong need for a networking alliance among CEOs and senior executives in the Philadelphia Metro and Southern New Jersey area. In 2001 she created Breakfast with the Boss, a monthly event which allowed dozens of businesses ranging from Fortune 500 to smaller recognized fast-growth companies to connect and build strategic alliances with others in the group. This 2-1/2 year program helped generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for several participating companies. In fact one of the strategic alliances she made through Breakfast with the Boss boosted their reported cashflow by $1.2 million dollars.
Shannon was recruited by International Profit Associates in 2003. In this position, she was able to pull from her vast knowledge of tax and accounting, and to utilize her professional acumen in assisting clients with growing and monetizing their businesses. In 2005, Shannon accepted a position as Regional Vice President for Strategic Business Partners, where she promoted profit engineering consulting and partnerships throughout the tri-state metro area.
In 2007 Shannon was recruited by Super Media LLC, where as a media consultant she collaborated with business owners to help improve margins during a period which is now recognized as the country’s Great Recession. Through attentive guidance, she assisted her clients in reinventing and molding their marketing messages via strategic print and digital advertising as well as other direct marketing products.
A Philanthropic Spirit in Action
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” -1 Peter 4:10
With a deep spirit of volunteerism and a strong commitment to giving back, Shannon supports numerous philanthropic causes including animal welfare, children’s causes, health and wellness, poverty alleviation, senior citizens’ rights, and environmental preservation. As a passionate supporter of Sponsor Seniors, Inc., HOPE worldwide, ASPCA, Jerry’s Kids, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shannon Johnson doesn’t simply “talk the talk” – she “walks the talk.”
Cultivating a deep-rooted commitment to volunteerism, Shannon served in the 1990s as Vice President of the West Roxbury, MA. Rotary Club. Her infectious enthusiasm and love for kids and sports continued as a volunteer coach and sponsor for one of the little league teams of the Hellenic Soccer Club of West Roxbury.
From 2009-2015, Shannon had volunteered as treasurer for the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ. She had also organized local fundraising events for Sponsor Seniors, Inc., an organization designed to help alleviate poverty amongst the increasingly aging population of the US. Continuing her commitment to philanthropy, Shannon chose HOPE for Kids Inc., a faith-fueled camp that empowers youth through mentoring and service ,for her MBA program at Eastern University.
When Life Gives You Lemons, Travel!
“Travel is still the most intense mode of learning.” -Kevin Kelly
In 2011, Shannon was forced to interrupt the MBA program she was attending at Eastern University after being involved in a serious automobile accident. She suffered multiple herniated disc fractures in her neck and back, which ultimately forced her into early retirement. Yet she persevered. One of Shannon’s favorite slogans, “Winners never quit and quitters never win,” (Vince Lombardi) stems back to her high school track and field days, when she would repeat the quote in her head while racing long distance. Never one to quit, Shannon faced this turning point in her life by exploring her ancillary interests in travel writing and photography, and investing in real estate.
She travelled to Santa Fe, NM to study photography and while there, approached the management of the Eldorado Hotel where she was staying and the Hilton Hotel. Her photos were some of the first to be included on Hooked on Travelling, a website concept she was in the initial stages of building. Shannon later travelled to Costa Rica, where she studied the fundamentals of blogging and web writing. She then traveled to San Diego to visit her brother Maynard Johnson and while there, attended several writing, photography and blogging seminars. Pictured is a photo taken of Shannon in NYC with her two brothers, Maynard on the left and Lou Johnson, the entertainer of her family on the right.
Combining her passions for travel and volunteering, Shannon then traveled to Panama to volunteer with the Word of Life Organization’s preparations for their annual summer camp. Through social media, Shannon became friends with the organization’s directors and a few orphans who attended the camp. One of the orphans had recently experienced a miraculous recovery from an advanced form of cancer, and attributes his recovery to an outpouring of prayers. In so participating in Word of Life Fellowship, it was inevitable Shannon would become Hooked on Kids.
Shannon also travelled to Peru and to Highlands, NC for writing and photo inspirations. While visiting Machu Picchu, she had an incredibly spiritual awakening to the vast depths and heights she experienced. This empowering journey to Peru gave her an environment to reflect on the enormous problems facing the world today. A solutions-based thinker, Shannon transformed her mindset to the power of unity and to solutions which have yet to be discovered, but which she deeply believes are out there waiting to be realized. Shannon returned from her travels and launched Hooked on Everything as a solutions-based resource for all to explore.
Personally Speaking …
“All lasting business is built on friendship.” -Alfred A. Montapert
On a personal level, Shannon loves spending quality time with family and friends. She is caretaker for her father, who was debilitated after suffering a heart attack 20 years ago. Shannon also studied with Philadelphia-based Mom’s House, and is a Certified Transition Specialist.
As a lifelong devotee of music, Shannon enjoyed competing in ballroom dance contests and is accomplished pianist. The video above shares moments from a successful fundraiser that she produced in 2012.
Shannon has focused on helping others throughout her life. Whether it’s orphans, seniors, friends, entertainers, venue owners, realtors, or networking with other like-minded people, this concept of affinity for community has continually produced fruits of the positive spirit. Shannon’s mission is to use benevolence and positivity to help make an enduring difference of hope and prosperity in the lives of as many people as she possibly can.
Reinvention is the Purest Form of Hope
“The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.” -Bob Black
Shannon was forced into long-term disability in 2011 after a devastating automobile accident. Among numerous other life changes, this meant she would need to reinvent her income streams. Inspired by mentor Tony Robbins, Shannon identified people succeeding at what she wanted to do, then trained under them and found new ways to flourish. This strategy bolstered her decision to leverage and restructure a portion of her portfolio assets and then utilize those funds to purchase and rehab distressed properties to generate rental property income. As a savvy investor and financial expert, Shannon has acquired several real estate properties in the Philadelphia area and is often sought after for investment advice.
During the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, Shannon chose to focus deeply on her website design while tapping into creative visions and projects that are now in process and moving forward. Her most recent is listed below; other projects are in the initial stages that will be rolled out in the coming months — and years.
The Dash – Here She Grows Again!
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln
Looking forward to 2023, Shannon was selected as one of only a few new clients chosen to work with John Assaraf, a leading behavioral and mindset expert who is coaching her to successfully launch her visionary plans and projects. John’s innercising techniques and his “Winning the Game of…” series has helped Shannon overcome procrastination and reinstall her creativity. Assaraf’s coaching has also taught her to return to the big WHY, which for Shannon, is to make a difference.
Shannon is also inspired “The Dash”, a poem by Linda Ellis. The common punctuation on every grave stone is a dash, located between a person’s date of birth and date of death. A properly executed dash between any two numbers in math and science has always represented the word “to”, a continuation of the equation. Shannon is committed to continuing the equation and the narrative in pursuance of making a profound difference on a global level.
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