Staff Spotlight: Shannon

Cape Town Supervisor
Shannon is a local South African with a passion for people. Not only does she love spending time at the projects whenever she gets the chance, but she also enjoys meeting new people from around the world and facilitating their volunteering.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory would be a toss-up between seeing Piccadilly Circus and arriving in London.

After my flight from Cape Town, I had to catch an overland train into the city. We were running late for the train and made it just as the doors were closing. Once I was on board, I turned to see my friend still on the platform and the train pulling away. She had both our tickets and neither of us had working phones. Needless to say, it was a very stressful half-hour waiting on the next platform to see if she had boarded the next train with my ticket. I can laugh about it now, and I'm very proud of dealing with that situation as a 19-year-old first-time traveler.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for SAVE has definitely improved my self-confidence. It's taught me to be comfortable speaking to large groups of people and a lot about different cultures and languages. I love that I can now work with people from all over the world and know how their culture will affect their work and adaptation to South African life.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I don't really have a best story, but I do have favourite moments. Many of these include making life long friendships that are still as strong even from halfway across the world. Even better are the memories of those friends coming back to the work and family they have here in South Africa some of them as many as 4 or 5 times returning.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I could go to any of the programs we offer, it would probably be one of the programs outside of South Africa.

I have always wanted to see more of this beautiful continent and meet more of the amazing people that dedicate their lives to uplifting and improving their communities. I know how blessed we are here in SA, and I also know African's are so resourceful, I would love to see how their cultures and communities work without the resources most of us in South Africa take for granted.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think the proudest I have ever been of our team has been in a time of dire crisis. Sadly, our company (staff and volunteers) were exposed to the ugliness of drinking and driving - a huge problem in this country - but the way our team pulled together and took care of each other, the victims and volunteers were incredible. A true testimony to what a family we really are.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think being a successful company is all about communication, observation, and teamwork. Communication, to me, is not only conveying information but HOW you convey information and listen to information conveyed to you.

Communication goes hand in hand with observation - observing the way people deal with and react to situations is vital to knowing your team and navigating roles and responsibilities.

Lastly, teamwork - teamwork is obviously working together, but also helping each other, stepping out of your role and filling in a gap.