Loyola University Chicago

Loyola Business Leadership Hub

Housed in the Quinlan School of Business

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Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith

Why did you join NGLI?

I joined because I felt as though I needed to gain additional competencies in order to be considered for any leadership opportunities – whether they be at our business or in other aspects of my life.  It was a choice I made to better myself, gain new perspective, and hopefully share my learnings within my own family and with future generations.  I believe that learning never stops and NGLI was an avenue for me to broaden my business background.

What did you expect going in and how did those expectations change by the time you graduated?

I did not have defined expectations aside from looking to gain knowledge and different perspectives from people who could relate to what it is like working at a family business.  By the time I graduated, I had gone through a significant transformation.  NGLI opened my eyes on many levels and made me realize that outside opinions and expertise were vital to my individual development and skill-sets.  The 360 feedback was the most impactful for me, and it ignited a fire of new confidence in my business and leadership abilities.

What advice would you give to someone interested in joining NGLI?

My advice would be to pick the right age and time in your career / personal life to do it.  I think had I done it too early in my career, I would not have had the same experience since my knowledge of our company was not what it is now.  Additionally, a decade ago, I was busy raising toddlers and I had far too many distractions in my personal life to be fully committed.  The right timing was absolutely critical for me and the success I had with NGLI.

How has NGLI impacted you (personally and as a leader)?

On a personal level, I know that I have developed a newfound confidence in nearly everything I do.   As a leader, that confidence has prompted me to step out of my comfort zone and test some new waters and practice new behaviors.  Working with my coach was so instrumental in identifying which new behaviors for me to practice.  He and I developed an action plan; I found clarity in the next phase of my career path but more importantly, clarity in how to get there.  This program changed me and how I think of myself as a leader and influencer.  I value what I have to offer and learned that others do, too.

What was your favorite part?

I have a few favorites:

  1. The opening retreat was fabulous.  I cannot adequately describe the bonding experience that took place there with my NGLI group.  I know that my NGLI peers will be lifelong friends, confidants, and support systems to me.
  2. LVI 360 Feedback:  It was very powerful to get feedback from my superiors, peers, family members, and others whom I respect.  This highlighted to me areas that people perceive as my strengths, and also areas of opportunity for growth and development.  This feedback is something I will continue to look back on often as a reminder of how I can continually improve.
  3. The coaching sessions:  I had never worked with a career coach and initially felt as though it would not be something I would enjoy.  I was wrong, and this proved to be one of the most beneficial aspects of the program to me.  It was an opportunity to get direct, honest, and objective feedback from someone whose goal was to help me excel.

Have any other family members participated?

No, I was the first in my family to go through NGLI.  I happen to be the youngest of eleven children and I envision future generations from our company greatly benefiting from this program.