Meet Shannon Salentine! Shannon is a world wanderer, wife, momma, and life-long learner. Shannon and her family returned to Durham, North Carolina five years ago after living in Nairobi, Kenya where she worked with health leaders and managers to improve and use data to inform health programs and policy. Now back in the US, she helps lead a large team working on similar projects all over the world. Shannon enjoys embracing time with her family, hanging out with neighbors in their forested hood, and exploring local makers, yoga, and meditation communities.
What rocks your bliss?
Sitting in my kitchen floor and looking straight into my children's eyes, exploring new experiences with my husband (and muddling through those that are challenging), making new friends, connecting people, finding different ways to foster creativity and peace in my home, work, and community, and getting enough sleep. .
Describe your perfect day.
I have many versions of a perfect day- so I’ll share what I would like to call my “everyday” perfect day— Watching the sunrise and drinking an entire cup of coffee without interruption followed by a spin or strength training class, breakfast banter with my kiddos, brainstorming session with my project team, conversations with junior team mates about their goals and work/life balance, taking the opportunity to make someone's work easier, a quiet homemade dinner outside by a fire with my husband where we share our day, plan our next family vacation, and envision new home and parenting projects, bedtime reading and snuggling with my kids, and some time alone to read or write.
When do you feel most creative and alive?
When I'm on the road, either by myself, with my husband, or with my kids locked and loaded in the backseat of the car. For some reason, a good road trip always helps me to escape my self-imposed boundaries, see the big picture, and dream.
Share a huge goal you are rocking.
Showing the complete and integrated me in everything I do. I'm learning how to bring my vulnerability into my work life, to my husband and kids, and with my family, friends and neighbors. This is definitely a process but I feel incredibly less stressed and anxious- and it is saving me a crap load of time from all the worrying and obsessing I used to do! In doing this, I’m also finding space in my work life to both be more creative and share my strengths as a leader. When I start to get all wafflely about this and I feel myself turning into the “work” me and the “mom” me and the “sister” me, I remind myself to trust my intentions and my experience in putting my intentions into practice.
If you could get on a plane right now, where are you going?
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin- my hometown to see my Mom, Dad, siblings + partners, and Nephew. I would go to my Nephew's high school basketball game, eat fried cheese curds with my sisters at our neighborhood bar, and sit at my mom's kitchen table drinking tea and telling stories about my Nana.
How do you handle setbacks?
I hit the reset, in a moment this means taking a deep breath, noticing my feelings, and finding a view of the horizon or some point far outside myself to clear the space of static, self-judgement, and questioning so that I can see my values, recall my intentions, and proceed with self-reliance and trust. On paper, this looks so simple and linear, in reality, it's a practice and it usually involves delayed realization or denied feelings, tears, and mis-steps in communication with those close to me. I'm learning and the more I practice, the faster I am able to move myself towards this approach. Instead of reacting, I can respond in a way that reflects what I want and need.
How do you come home to yourself?
I literally come home. As much as I excel on the road and enjoy new experiences, sitting in my front yard with my family, playing in the leaves with my kids, and having a conversation with my husband and visiting neighbors is my most prominent anchor right now...all that- and sleep.
What are 3 ways you rock the self LOVE?
1. Prioritizing having a strong body and a clear mind and remembering that sweating, meditating, yoga, and rest need to be on my calendar if I want to show up as my best self
2. Making time to learn something new, whether that be something for my family (elderberry tincture) or myself (chin-ups)
3. Giving myself time (and then more time) when I am struggling with something (see #7)