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.
Education: 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.
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.
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.