In our 2022 issue, we’re shining the light on some outstanding leading ladies for all their accomplishments and contributions to society.
Chief Administrator, Arkansas Children’s Northwest
Shannon is originally from Stuttgart, small town south Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, both in food and nutrition. Shannon and her family relocated from Little Rock to NWA in January 2021. She and her husband have an adult daughter (who resides in Little Rock) and a 10-year-old son.
B.S. Food and Nutrition, University of Central Arkansas
M.S. Food and Nutrition, University of Central Arkansas
Did you always know what you wanted to do?
Health care has always been a passion for me. For most of my career, I worked in the adult setting, but when I transitioned to pediatrics, my entire perspective of health care changed. I transitioned into leadership early on and fell in love with leading and inspiring teams.
When did you know what you wanted to do?
While in college, my aunt encouraged me to consider dietetics, which I did ultimately pursue. Once I started working clinically and on teams, I quickly realized how much I love helping others succeed and problem solve. That spurred my transition to health care leadership. I never imagined leading a children’s hospital, but this is by far the most meaningful work I have ever been involved in.
Best part of your job:
I would say the best part of my job is knowing we are making a difference in the lives of the patients and families we serve every day. Getting behind the mission of improving child health is easy and the work is hard, but extremely rewarding.
First big break:
My transition into leadership. I was in my early 30s and walked into an interview for a consultant role at a health care organization and walked out with a job offer for a key leadership position. At this point, I didn’t have any leadership experience, but it was a game changer for my career as it prepared me to climb the leadership ladder and lends well to my role as chief administrator today.
One thing you’d love to master in business? In your personal life?
Business: I’m looking forward to successfully leading ACNW through our next phase of expansion as we increase our footprint in NWA.
Personal: My husband is an avid golfer. I would love to improve my skills enough so we can play together.
Qualities you admire most in women:
Authentic, independent, confident, supportive, compassionate, trustworthy and driven
What changes have you seen within your workplace in regard to empowering women?
I am so grateful to work for an organization that celebrates women and the significant contributions we bring to the table. Arkansas Children’s has many women in senior leadership positions who help set wonderful examples for young women through mentorship, both formal and informal.
In what ways have you professionally had to pivot during the pandemic?
COVID-19 rocked our worlds in health care. As a pediatric health care institution, we were not hit as hard as our adult counterparts, but still navigated significant challenges with staffing, frequent policy changes, and doing everything possible to make sure our patients, families and team members were safe.
What nonprofits are you involved with and why?
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Alpha Rho Omega Chapter – As a charter member of this chapter, we invest our time, money, and resources into strengthening the Saline County community.
The Brooklyn Foundation – This organization is dedicated to raising funds to support pediatric cancer research in Arkansas.
Little Rock Zoo – Excited to be part of an effort to enhance the zoo experience for families in Arkansas.
Little Rock Angels – As a founding member of the LR chapter, this is a nonprofit group that supports foster care families. This is a cause near and dear to me. As a health care provider, we see firsthand the impact foster care has on a family unit. Any way that we can provide structure and support is important to me.
What do you do for fun?
Most weekends you can find me at the ballfields watching my son play the sports he loves. I also enjoy playing tennis, traveling and having dinner with friends.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Best advice you’ve ever received:
As you start your career journey, keep an open mind. You never know when, where or how the next opportunity will appear.
Advice you’d give to other working women/moms:
Mom guilt is real. There will be hard days. There will be long days. But showing up for your child every day, however that looks for YOU, is what it’s all about. You have to imagine the best version of yourself and show up every day as her. Life is a balancing act, and as a mom, you have to find that balance that works best for your family, but most importantly is to not lose sight of YOU in the process.
Best part of your day:
Late evening when I’m able to sit outside on my deck with glass of wine or relax in the hot tub.
How are practicing self-care?
Making time for a massage on a regular basis, scheduling dinner dates with friends/family, and finding time to check out the local shops in NWA!
Do you still seek out mentors or mentees?
Absolutely! Mentors are vital to your continued growth as a leader. Also, I find inspiration in developing others.
How do you stay motivated?
Stay grounded in the work I’m doing. Continuously reflect on the “why.” Consistently looking for opportunities to fill my cup. Taking time to slow down and BE in the moment, especially when life gets crazy.
Thing you’re most proud of:
The important and impactful work I have the privilege of leading every day.
My incredibly determined, smart, witty, sports enthusiastic 10-year-old son!