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Shannon Schuyler

LISTENING IN: The women who inspired this PwC exec | Interview By: Susan Rocco

What impressed me about Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose Officer and Corporate Responsibility for PricewaterhouseCoopers, was her relentless optimism. Even when speaking about the loss of four female family members in her life, her perspective was one of gratitude. When you’re the leader in a company whose job is to design and implement programs that give back, it helps to have a perspective that seems to always focus on “how can we make the world a better place.”

Here are a few key takeaways from my interview with Shannon…

Women are powerful.“I needed to find that power and spirit that I saw in those women and find a way to make that a part of who I was.” Growing up, Shannon was blessed to have a mother, grandmothers and aunts in her life that were great examples of what women could do. Though they each individually faced adversity in their lives, they became champions by not letting these challenges bring them down. They used them as examples for Shannon and her sister on how to fight back. The spirit of this matriarchal family stays with her as she maneuvers her way through life trying at every turn to make decisions that will ultimately make the world a better place.

Watching someone who has great passion for their job inspires others to find that same passion. For Shannon, watching her father give everything he had to his job as the superintendant of schools was a lesson in the importance of having a strong work ethic. As Shannon says, “if you’re not going to give it your all, don’t bother.” Even if you are in a job that may not be your dream job, it’s an opportunity to learn and do the best you can.

“Having passion for a cause in your life can lead to purpose.” For Shannon, equality is a topic of great concern and interest. Her husband is African American and her son is bi-racial. Her son, the only mixed-race student in his school, was experiencing issues that stood out from other students. It made Shannon aware of the disenfranchisement that some people face in life, and as a leader in an organization, she felt the need to call out these injustices. It became important to Shannon to figure out how to help veterans, minorities and immigrants be able to have access to the same opportunities. “We need to do more than change a program or group; we need to fundamentally change the entire system.”

To listen to the complete interview, go to www.women2watch.net and click on podcast.

Originally posted on Bizwomen.com. Philly Femfessional Susan Rocco is a weekly columnist for Bizwomen.com, The Business Journals. Sue Rocco is the founder, producer and host of Women to Watch, a live radio program and weekly podcast with a mission to inspire and encourage more women to pursue leadership roles worldwide.

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