The SHIBA Program Supervisor | 40 Under 40 Class of 2020
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Women who empower other women.
Croissant and coffee
GET TO KNOW SHANNON
Alaska-born Shannon Hohl was taught early in life to get involved with her community. Today, she works for the Idaho Department of Insurance and oversees their Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program. Learn more about her admirable career in public service by reading her extended interview.
What inspired you to go into this line of work?
I love public service. My parents taught me and my siblings to be part of our community, to participate and to contribute. They continue to model this with their civic engagement and volunteerism.
What challenge did you overcome to get where you are today?
During my senior year of undergraduate studies, I took a public administration class and realized I wanted to change career paths. I was one semester away from graduating and starting student teaching to become a high school teacher. Instead, I decided to go to graduate school to study public administration. The decision led me to where I am today.
Did someone help you get to where you are today, like a mentor?
My parents. They are 100% supportive of my choices and my goals. They have always encouraged me and my siblings to do what we enjoy, and to do it well.
What do you love most about your job?
I love sharing about the services and assistance we provide, and that we are a mostly volunteer program. It’s rewarding to be able to tell people they can call us and meet with a local volunteer in their community who can answer their questions. Our volunteers are incredible – they are dedicated and so capable.
Early Bird or Night Owl
Physical Book or Audiobook
Apple or Android
Left Brain or Right Brain
Staycation or Vacation
Describe yourself in three words.
Driven, positive and kind.
Your life philosophy is…
Do good in the world. Get involved.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
Saying “yes, and…” instead of “yes, but…” It completely changes the conversation into a positive discussion of ideas and respectful dialog.
If someone handed you an airline ticket to a place of your choosing, where would you go and why?
I would go to Heidelberg, Germany. It’s my favorite place. I was an exchange student there in high school and college, and I am very close with my host families. I haven’t seen them in a few years, and I’d love to visit them.
What’s something you cannot live without?
Family and friends. I look forward to spending time with them more than anything else. I’m most joyful when I’m with them.
Name a book you read that positively shaped you.
“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
If you weren’t working in the industry that you are, what would you be doing instead?
I might be working at my favorite store, Anthropologie. I worked there for a few years during graduate school. I love the style. It’s a beautiful work environment.
How do you unwind or relax after a long day?
Make dinner and watch whatever show I’m binging at that time.
The most rewarding aspect of your job is…
Working with dedicated people who want to help others.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?
“You are amazing and I’m here for you!” I know someone who was going through some difficult things recently, and she didn’t think she was deserving of happiness or even respect. I think we need to remind each other, especially our friends and family, that they matter, and they are amazing.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Acceptance. Let others be who they are and love them for it.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
I take a deep breath and focus on the one thing I can do in the next few minutes. It could be a walk, making a meal, completing an easy chore or task. Just something small that isn’t stressful.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be money, time, energy, etc.)
Name a confident woman of character who you look up to? Why her?
Idaho State Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb. She is proud of who she is and has the confidence to stand up for her beliefs and for the people of her district and the state. She does what’s right even when it’s hard. Senator Buckner-Webb is always respectful and professional, even during difficult debates and hearings. I aspire to be as strong as she is.