Shannon Keith Provides Skills Training And Jobs For At-Risk Women
What you’ll learn in this interview:
- 5 tools her team uses to keep themselves on track.
- 2 apps she uses to plan her Instagram feed and Instagram stories.
- 3 books that helped her start and maintain her social enterprise.
- How everything you do in your life matters in the long run… if you let it.
- How to ensure to schedule fitness into your busy schedule.
- 1 social enterprise pioneer she looks up to and admires.
1. What do you do? Who do you help?
I am the CEO + founder of Sudara, an apparel company and certified B-corp.
The single best thing we do is create jobs for women in India who are at a high risk or survivors of sex trafficking so they can support themselves and their children with dignity and in freedom.
With a job, the women no longer have to sell their bodies to stay alive and feed their kids. We deeply believe that job creation, not handouts, transforms lives.
2. List your favorite business tools.
I am in a lot of meetings during the day, but my favorite business tool is the alarm on my phone. I have it synced with my calendar and it will ring 5 minutes before the start of my next meeting.
It’s so simple, but knowing that alarm is set allows me to be fully present in a meeting without looking at the clock and to respect the person’s time at the following meeting by starting it on time.
Here are a few of our team’s favorite business tools, too:
- Accompany — This app is my go-to reading before every meeting. It gives me an overview of who I am meeting with — where they work, what they do, and a brief bio — and any recent news or PR coverage about them or their company.
- Slack — We use this for quick, informal communication and it has helped cut down on the number of emails and long, confusing email threads. We also use it to communicate with the entire team, whether to share a link to an article or customer feedback or a photo from weekend adventures.
- Adobe Creative Suite — From editing the brightness of a photo in Photoshop to creating our lookbooks in InDesign, we use an Adobe product every day. We also love the ease of using Canva and Adobe Spark for creating quick social posts.
- Unum — We use this a lot to plan our Instagram feed. We’re very visual people and it helps us to see what the images will look like together rather than how a single image looks on its own.
- Unfold — This is great for Instagram stories. In between all the behind the scenes videos and conversations with our team, Unfold allows us to design a layout that helps us tell better stories and is true to our brand.
3. What is a good course, website or book you would recommend and why?
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller is essential reading for entrepreneurs and anyone working in a startup; it will help you better communicate the value your products provide to your customers.
- Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta will remind you that your unique talents and gifts are needed in this world and “not fitting in” with others expectations could be the difference in what helps you succeed.
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman provides concepts and specific tools that can help any entrepreneur and team increase productivity and efficiency in every aspect of the business.
4. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
- Follow your instincts.
- Every job is too big, so learn your priorities.
Anytime I haven’t taken this advice, I’ve gotten myself into trouble!
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
There will be a lot of people who question every idea you have and every decision you make. The opportunity to hear another perspective can be helpful. Sometimes, though, it can be a distraction and cause you to doubt yourself or want to quit. When you are thinking about quitting, remember that the world needs you!
Your unique talents, passions, and perspectives are exactly what will change the world. I worked in sales and as a sales trainer for nearly 10 years (though I was not necessarily passionate about the work!) prior to founding Sudara.
However, I have always been extremely passionate about helping people and serving marginalized populations. I often volunteered in high school, then in college I went on various service projects in the developing world.
It has been incredible to see how my skills as a sales trainer [public speaking, communication, team building, working with people, etc.] have been utilized and leveraged for carrying out and leading our mission at Sudara. It has all come full circle in a really beautiful sort of way.
I truly believe that nothing in our life has to be wasted time; all of our experiences can somehow be used for the greater good… if we allow it.
6. What is your beauty and/or fitness routine?
If I could snowboard every day, I would! Due to my work and family priorities, though, I don’t get to go as often as I would like! I love yoga classes because they keep me centered and focused, and I try to attend a strength training class or two each week.
We also have a treadmill at the office that I will run on a couple times a week – usually while catching up on a favorite TV show. I plan fitness into my weekly schedule so I can hold that time and to keep me accountable!
7. List the products or items that are indispensable in your life.
- My Sudara loungewear, of course :)! I love wearing the Dhana print to work with a pair of flats and a chunky black sweater.
- My wedding ring and my Bible because they are both symbols of unconditional love shown toward me.
8. Which female entrepreneur(s) do you look up to and why?
Safia Minney – she is a social enterprise pioneer. I admire her leadership and vision in creating beautiful fair-trade products and sustainable and transparent supply chains.
9. List your social media platforms.
- Instagram @sudaragoods
- Twitter @sudaragoods
- Pinterest @sudaragoods
- Facebook @sudaragoods
- Website www.sudara.org
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hashtags #sudaragoods #punjammies