DREAM CATCHER: SHANNON KEITH
A trip to India opened International Princess Project Founder Shannon Keith’s eyes to the tragedy of sex trafficking that was occurring daily to women and girls throughout that country. After visiting one of India’s many red light districts, she was forever changed by the modern-day slavery that she witnessed. She learned the stories of young girls sold into the sex trade by their families, orphans picked up off the street by pimps, and even young mothers working out of desperation to feed their children. Many were held against their will, while others were trapped by economic poverty. Some managed to escape the brothels only to later return after facing such social stigma that they had no other viable way to survive. Compelled by the magnitude of the problem, Shannon returned home and founded International Princess Project to create opportunities for these women and empower them to restore their lives and support their families. What started with just six women sewing in a single room has grown to over 150 women and girls employed by one of three sewing centers in India, producing high-quality loungewear and pajamas.
What are three words that best describe your company? Inspiring, Fun, Impact.
Five years from now I see myself and my company… As an influencer in the social business space and an example of what an exciting and innovative social business venture looks like.
I gave up ________ to pursue my dream. The financial security of a corporate job. And I’d do it all over again!
The key to balancing it all is… Knowing that balance is an illusion. I believe in harmony vs. balance. In a harmonious life, you know that some seasons/tasks take more time and effort than others and you roll with it. If you’re always seeking perfect balance, you will surely be disappointed because rarely will you ever find it.
What makes you different from your competition? Our story. We not only produce fantastic products, we have a really beautiful narrative of new life and second chances.
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? “Every job is too big, so learn your priorities.”
My best advice, in one sentence, for launching a venture is… Follow your dreams and get a competent team around you that aligns with your mission and vision.
I knew I wanted to _____ when… I knew I wanted to help abolish the modern-day sex trade the moment I found myself in the middle of a red light district in India.
If I had to do it all over I would… Do it again in an instant!
I always outsource… Web design, graphic art, and public relations – those functions take effective teams, expertise and existing relationships.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… To follow my instincts. Anytime I haven’t, I have gotten myself into trouble.
The best people to work with always… Are very self-aware, know their strengths and limitations, and put a high priority on doing excellent work in the most fun way possible!
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you? Passionate, adventurous, fun-loving.
When you go on vacation you always… Take a few good books, my running shoes and plan on eating well- I’m a foodie at heart!
My favorite TV show is… The Amazing Race- I love seeing different countries and cultures.
My favorite band is… U2! They are epic and have been for 20 years.
My favorite food is… Sushi and homemade pasta and pizza from my hubby’s pizza oven.
I am most proud of… My family- I have an amazing husband and three unbelievable children.
Lately I’m inspired by… The farm to table and slow food movement. Getting back to the origins of food, enjoying the process and appreciating homemade everything.
On my playlist right now… Stevie Nicks, Jack Johnson, U2, Cold Play, Philip Philips
My favorite candy is… English toffee (with nuts, please!)
My favorite scent is… An orange being peeled.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… Unconditional love and their sense of purpose in the world.
Being a mom and an entrepreneur means… That I see the world from a larger paradigm. I view the future as the world my children will inherit.
My office would not be complete without… My iPhone sending off alarms for my next meeting and a bottle of Kombucha on my desk.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… So sad.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… That every human life matters. Freedom for all is wrapped into freedom for any.