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When born and bred Marylander Shannon Sneed was faced with the choice of staying in the communications field or running for public office, she chose...both. Now, as a Baltimore councilwoman, she's a testament to how taking chances can pay off in the long run and how doing work you love doesn't feel like work at all.

Fairygodboss of the Week: Shannon Sneed

Councilwoman of Baltimore City

Baltimore, MD

Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?

I am currently a Councilwoman in Baltimore City. I represent the 13th District in East Baltimore. My background is in broadcast, but in 2011, when I decided to run for office, the general manager said that I had to choose one or the other. I made the decision to leave the broadcast after 12 years, but I stayed in the communications field. I worked for a utility organization (BG&E) and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. In my spare time, I would volunteer in the community and that lead me to run for political office. I am a product of Maryland's higher education system, with a Masters degree from Morgan State University and Bachelors degree from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?

I have a lot to be proud of, but most recently I introduced the Displaced Workers Protection Act bill that passed in Baltimore City. Now, thousands of employees are protected if a company’s contract changes between different owners.

What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?

Since I decided to take my daughter to work with me, I feared that I would not be able to juggle both duties at the same time and that people would not take me seriously when I showed up to meetings with a baby. I overcame those challenges by showing up to meetings a few minutes early, so I could get my daughter settled. And the extra time allows me time to get comfortable before I have to speak.

Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?

My mother is my Fairygodboss. My mother was a single parent that worked full-time and never made a lot of money, but she always managed to get my sister and me whatever we needed.

What do you do when you're not working?

When I am not working, I travel to go spend time with my nieces and nephews.

If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?

I would want to have dinner with Shirley Chisholm, because she was the first black woman to run for president of the United States.

What is your karaoke song?

I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston

What is your favorite movie?

This Christmas, written by Preston A. Whitmore II

What book would you bring with you to a desert island?

Singing in the Comeback Choir by Bebe Moore Campbell

What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?

Shoes would be my shopping vice, but if I hit the lottery, I would buy a bigger home to adopt a child to grow my family.

What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?

To be successful sometimes we have to take chances, and sometimes that means moving to another state or walking away from a comfortable job. We should all have careers we love and that way it will never feel like work.

Why do you love where you work?

I love where I work because of the people I am working for. I working to make my community a better place and I am changing policy that will help families for years to come.

Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women—so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.

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