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Beauty goes hand-in-hand with how I feel about mentorship. I'm all about women’s empowerment and making women feel beautiful. It's about women supporting other women and not tearing them down.
We asked our community to help us find our next Eighteen B Woman, and you certainly delivered. We’re thrilled to introduce you to Shannon Sherrell, entrepreneur, nonprofit founder, overall inspiration, and our newest Eighteen B Woman.
Shannon Sherrell of Tallahassee, Florida runs a growing empire of hair salons, spas, and beauty stores as well as a mentorship nonprofit. While these may sound like disparate ventures, to her they’re intrinsically linked. Only she didn’t know that when she got started.
Shannon began styling hair professionally when she was a student at Florida State University. She saw clients in her home, mostly friends and family friends. Many of them, particularly the younger girls, opened up to Shannon, telling her about their problems with girls at school, relationships, and self confidence. She naturally became an ally, and eventually a mentor to these young girls.
These issues felt familiar to Shannon. “I had a very hard time in high school,” she told us. “I didn’t have that confidante, that mentor that I would have liked to have.” During her last semester at Florida State University, she realized this idea could be turned into something bigger. “I realized that I had gone through what I went through so I could help others.”
She founded LADIES in 2014 with the first chapter at her alma mater. A second chapter at University of Florida was chartered shortly thereafter. An acronym for Leadership, Advancement, Development, Involvement, Encouragement, and Service, LADIES provides mentorship to high school girls. “High school is a very important part of everybody’s lives, especially women. We go through a lot at that time: drama with other girls in school, boyfriends, first loves. These things mold who we are.”
LADIES members tutor high schoolers in academic subjects, help them with college applications, and, perhaps most importantly, offer personal support. Mentors become these confidantes that Shannon wished she had had in high school.
While Shannon isn’t bonding with the women in her chapters, she’s expanding her beauty business. Shannon is the owner of SSBeauty Bar, SSBeauty Spa, and SSBeauty Supply, all of which have opened since March 2018. “Beauty goes hand-in-hand with how I feel about mentorship. I’m all about women’s empowerment and making women feel beautiful. It’s about women supporting other women and not tearing them down.”
Shannon has high hopes for the futures of LADIES. There are two chapters in the works, and hopefully more to come. “We have a lot in store. We’re hoping to raise enough money to give ten mentees at least $1,000 for college scholarships.”
“I’m amazed at the growth that LADIES has had and I’m very blessed to have the team to make LADIES even better than I had imagined.” To this day, Shannon still talks to the mentees she worked with in 2014. “It just goes to show that when you have that substance and you passionately and genuinely love what you’re doing, everything comes full circle.”
Shannon believes that all women can be mentors, even without organizations like LADIES. Her advice? “Always be yourself and never feel like you’re not enough, because the very thing that you have somebody else needs. The things you feel you lack are the things that make you beautiful and unique.”
“When I was doing hair at my house when I was in college, I really bonded with those young ladies. So it doesn’t matter where you are – It doesn’t matter where you are in life, and it doesn’t matter where you are physically. What you have is more than enough to mentor and inspire somebody else.”
A big thanks to Kara Payne for introducing us to Shannon! Do you know our next Eighteen B Woman? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.