Each month, NeW is proud to highlight a NeW alumna. Today, we would like to feature Shannon McGuire, a graduate of Florida State University. Read about what Shannon has been up to since her time at NeW:
Where and when were you involved with NeW on Campus?
I was involved with NeW from 2009-2013, during my undergraduate years at Florida State University
What drew you to NeW originally?
I met our founding chapter president and went to a few meetings my freshman year. I was eager to get involved with the gender conversations that weren’t “politically correct” enough for a classroom.
What was your favorite thing about being involved with NeW?
I loved the active dialogue that we engaged on campus by inviting people to our meetings from all different backgrounds and organizations.
What have you done since graduation?
I have been teaching English to middle and high school students in Andalucía, Spain through the Spanish Department of Education and taking advantage of the opportunity to travel in Europe and Africa.
What piece of advice would you give to current NeW Women?
Don’t be passive – not in a classroom setting, not in a NeW meeting, not in life. You have a voice… use it! You have a life… live it! You are experiencing some of the most transformational years of your life in college and the first few years afterwards. It’s scary, thrilling, and difficult at times. Don’t let it pass by. Speak up in class when you disagree with the professor. Apply for that internship you are scared you may not get. Take advantage of all the learning opportunities at your fingertips. Your self confidence is strengthened every time something does not work out in your favor, and I would say self confidence is one of the most important things in the working world.
What was your favorite book on the NeW reading list?
I really enjoyed the Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Venker. I also fondly remember meeting her at a Tallahassee conference. The NeW ladies and myself had breakfast with her the following morning before classes when she spoke to us more about juggling full-time work, traveling, marriage and her family. The current technology that allows for working remotely really gives us so much more flexibility that women could never dream of 30 years ago.
What is one of your favorite memories from being a member of NeW?
Definitely volunteering with the Girl Scouts. This was a special activity that we planned to engage with our local community. Mentoring young minds, instiling confidence, and encouraging inner beauty are all so important for preteen girls. We really connected with our younger audience and shared an enjoyable afternoon.
What have you learned as you started your career that you might want to share with college students?
Career is a subjective definition that may confine you to a cookie-cutter life. Think big. My dad always gave me the best advice that the shortest distance between two points really is not always a straight line. There are twist and turns and surprises between you and your “career.” You are learning more than you think from that part-time campus job or the leadership role you take in your NeW chapter. It really is rewarding to look back over the last few years and see how all the good and bad experiences have shaped you into who you are today… and you still have so much more growing and learning. Living is constantly learning and growing.
Do you have any professional tips for the workplace?
At the 2012 NeW National Conference, there was a presentation on negotiating salaries with potential employers. I have not had experience working in a large business firm, but I know from my own experience teaching private classes abroad, accurately valuing your abilities and confidently discussing numbers is an essential characteristic that has to be developed. An interesting read for both sexes is Deborah Tannen´s article The Power of Talk: who gets listened to and why.Tannen discusses noticeable business phrases and terms used in the workplace by different sexes, especially considering the gender differences in a business meeting setting.