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Woman of the Week - Shannon Rollins

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In this installment, we're sharing the story of our Global Marketing Manager, Shannon Rollins. During the interview, she told us a little about her academic career and how it brought her to Loyaltek, as well as her love for life-long learning and her passion for art.

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Shannon Rollins

Introduce yourself! Who are you, and what's your role at the Loyaltek Group?

"My name is Shannon. I’m the Global Marketing Manager for all of the brand activities that fall under the Loyaltek Group. So that means that I’m responsible for their reputation, for building up their identities, and for helping increase awareness and sales."

How did you end up at Loyaltek?


"I had recently come to the end of my previous role, and was on the hunt for a new challenge. I saw a listing on LinkedIn from Loyaltek for a Marketing and Community Manager. I’d never heard of the company before, but that didn’t stop me from applying. I sent my resume, and within 2 hours I was called by HR. By the end of the week I was the freshly-minted Marketing Manager for Giftify, which rapidly turned into covering all of the brands (Loyaltek Group, Paynovate, Giftify, LoyalPay, and Fintronik). It’s been a really exciting process for me because when I started with Loyaltek, not much had been done to help develop the new brand identities beyond the start-up phase, so I really had the honor and privilege to help develop the forward motion for all of these brands as they grow into scale-ups. That’s been really rewarding. I’m very grateful that Jade (Jade Hazard, Global Director of Product, Innovation, and Design) and Robert (Robert Masse, Founder and CEO) have entrusted me with bringing this all together, it’s been a delight."


What do you want to achieve in your career?

“It’s a tricky question for me. When I was in university, I would never have guessed I’d end up doing something like this; I was working my way through a visual and material cultures PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh and training to be a university lecturer. So, it’s been a recent development, and by “recent” I mean in the last 5 years, that I’ve moved into marketing. I use the way I’ve been taught to look (thanks John Berger!) and to think critically in a corporate setting rather than in education. But then again, Marketing includes a significant amount of education: it’s product education, it’s client education, it’s potential customer education. So, it’s really not that different if you think about it.

In terms of career growth, I want to keep learning. I want to keep developing my skills. I started as a Content Marketer and a copywriter, and I am becoming quite interested in website creation and digital presence, so I’m excited about the opportunity to grow my career in those directions. But in terms of “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”, I’ve just got so very much to do here at Loyaltek that I’ll have to worry about that later.”


If you could have dinner with 3 inspiring women, dead or alive: who would they be and why?

"Judy Chicago. She’s a feminist artist who had her peak during second wave feminism in the 1970s. During her time at CalArts. In 1972, she and Miriam Shapiro collaborated with their students on an installation called Womanhouse. Learning about that piece at 19 really helped define my understanding gender roles, and it was one of the first touchpoints to help situate who I am as an feminist. So, she would definitely be there. And would be appropriate because one of her most famous pieces of art is called The Dinner Party! And it’s literally an artistic installation with plates featuring important women throughout history, and the idea of them coming together.

My grandmother, Mary. She died when I was three and my mother tells me all the time how much she would have loved me and how much fun we would have had together. We both are devoted to fashion, love designer clothing, and making every occasion into a party. So, she would certainly be invited. And I’m sure that she and Judy Chicago would get into several heated discussions about their perspective on women in gender in the 1970s, so that would be very entertaining to watch.

I suppose picking a third person is a bit tricky. I’d have to go with another artist and I think that I’m gonna say Kara Walker. I first saw one of her silhouette installations at around the same time I was exposed to Womanhouse, so she is another formative artist for me. To watch two artists whose work informed my viewpoint in a casual environment would be such a treat. Particularly as I would have a front-row-seat watching a contemporary artist whose postcolonial work engages with historical conceptions of race and the fall out of post-feminism (the era of feminism following Sex and The City’s release in the 90s) respond to a 70s feminist who’s come under fire since the 80s for her use of artisans and specialists in creating her sculptural installations without providing credit.

So yeah, I guess my fantasy dinner is really informed by my first love: arts education." 


Tell us about a professional experience that made you who you are today.

"When I began to realize that being a professor wasn’t my path, I was a bit at a loss as to what I could do. That coincided with me moving from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Antwerp: knowing nobody, waiting on a visa, not being able to work yet. And I needed to fill my time. So, I took up an internship at MoMu (Mode Museum Antwerp) and working there helped organize my thoughts. There was a particular project that I’ve done with Google. It was digitizing art collections and creating digital exhibits from museums across the world. I was the lead person on that internally, so, I was developing all those digital exhibits, doing data ingestion, cross referencing with the catalogs for content. Working with the person I did at Google, Justine, she was really lovely, it helped me realize that there were things that I could do with my education that weren’t directly linked. And it was because of that internship that I got my first job in Belgium which was as a copywriter for an accessible accessory brand. So, without that experience, I would not be where I am right now because everything has built on that decision, and that internship. I’m extremely grateful. I dedicated my PhD to the people I work with at MoMu, that’s how important they are to me."


If you could share just one piece of career advice with women in our community, what would it be?

If they are calling you “bossy” it means you are doing it right. […] Know your opinion, know your self-worth, and be prepared to respectfully back it up. If the feedback you get is that you’re bossy, well that just means that you’ve got a structure and you have a plan and, potentially, you’re in the wrong spot because you need to be somewhere where that’s seen as an asset, but you know your own mind." 


Thanks for sharing your story with us, Shannon!

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