“Do your research, know what you want and go for it. Just do it!” – Shannon Garrett
Last year our country saw its first ever female nominated by a majority party as a presidential candidate of the United States. To many it was great progress for women and the roles we play in business throughout the country. We’re not here to start any debates on the outcomes, but to celebrate our friend and GROW client, Shannon Garrett, Founder and President of SMG Strategies, because she saw the opportunity to help more women get involved in politics and in the community, here in West Michigan.
Shannon Garrett is the Founder and President of SMG Strategies. Her dedication to creating a more active and diverse democracy has led her to work with numerous organizations locally, and on a national level.
Much of her 20+ year career was spent in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, MN, before returning home to West Michigan in 2007 where she was the Regional Director of the White House Project (WHP). Shannon has a tremendous background in politics and community action. “I saw firsthand the gender gap in business and politics, within the State of Michigan. As WHP wrapped up in 2013, I wanted to make it easier for more people, especially women, to get involved in office.”
One of the challenges in starting a consulting firm like SMG Strategies compared to another business was the niche of the market. Shannon shared that it was not that easy to do market research as she began her business. Politics and community leadership don’t necessarily follow other industries with traditional market research and available data for opportunity, projections and things like that. Consulting by nature requires businesses to be more nimble and flexible, not quite as process or product oriented as other business types.
“Working with people is not like creating widgets to sell. My work involves contracts to help get a number of people to vote a certain way, to get them motivated to take action and to get them involved in politics,” Said Garrett.
Through her work with the White House Project Shannon worked with many different organizations in Michigan, like GROW, that helped women in business and leadership positions. Shannon shared, “When the organization I worked with was shutting down, I took a GROW class myself. It was there that I learned other ways to go about marketing myself, and my work. I found support, insights and encouragement to launch SMG Strategies.”
Her work has included nonprofit and for profit sectors, efforts to encourage voter registration, lobbying and civic engagement. Because of her expertise, SMG Strategies, includes two sides to the business: Political Consulting and nonprofit efforts based on Civic Engagement.
“I get to help people explore their leadership potential at work, for political office and for the community. It’s especially important that my company helps women take their ambition and make it happen. Too often women don’t let others know our goals or where we want to be. I tell them, do your research, know what you want and go for it. Just do it.”
If you’re considering getting more involved in community action, mobilizing others through your organization or taking your leadership skills to political office, Shannon Garrett and her team at SMG Strategies are an incredible first step.
Connect with GROW to learn more about starting your own business, or for resources to help your business succeed. We look forward to sharing your story soon, too!