Financial Leader for minority representation
An heir to the advocacy of minority representation, the dynamic Nicovanna Shannon is a globally renowned financial leader, especially in the African American community.
Her grandfather, Pastor Henry W. Shannon, was one of the ‘Courageous Eight’ – a group of leaders in the 50s and 60s that focused on fighting for black and brown people to have the right to vote in the United States. He walked in the same circles as Dr. Martin Luther King!
Through the positive civic influence of her grandfather, and with her mother enforcing the importance of community building as a child, Nicovanna grew up naturally empathetic. “My mother’s service to our family and community by being a great example of making wise financial choices, setting goals, and achieving them, allows her to develop strategies that have brought many of our family members and friends out of debt and put them on the path to financial security.”
After major stints in sales, accounting, management, and recruitment, Nicovanna established Shannon, Shannon & Associates, Inc. in 2006 along with her mother. SSA is a family-owned and operated financial planning firm based in Montgomery, Alabama, with global operations. They coach individuals through financial setbacks and implement strategies for a strong comeback.
One of their most popular programs is Super Saturdays – which consists of two sessions lasting two hours a piece that focuses on 5 key money matters topics. Their other services include a power packed six week Personal Finance Boot Camp and a six week Entrepreneurship Finance Boot Camp. The training they offer focuses on breaking bad spending habits and creating new habits through mentoring.
“My mother is the brainchild behind the concept and I am continuing the work to provide better options for my people. And, putting individuals on the path to financial security is our secret sauce. My inspiration is to see people that look like me overcome barriers of entry in finance and quality of life.”
Having better representation is what truly drives Nicovanna. Explaining how representation creates opportunities, especially in the case of African American women, she tells us: “Being a minority and a woman presents a unique challenge. When I see other women like myself being represented in a positive light and at the top of their game, I am fueled to be a better version of myself. But it is important for me to show up as my true authentic self, no matter what setting. I learned early on that I only have one life to live. So I chose to make it a winning one.”
And win, she definitely has. As an international financial consultant, Nicovanna holds over 10 years of executive level leadership experience. She received her undergraduate Business Degree from Auburn University and MBA in Business Administration from Troy University. Her accomplishments include being inducted into the National Honor Society on the graduate level. While she was in corporate, she was selected twice to be a part of the executive training programs for Belk and CarMax.
More importantly, she is a Speaker, Author, Mentor and Woman’s Leader for thousands in the African American community today. “I am a compassionate leader that rightly divides the truth. I definitely know that if you set the expectations early with your team, then there will be less confusion later on. I am not the best at conflict resolution, but I have a heart to see that every voice is heard and we can come up with a solution that is a win for everyone. I inspect what I expect. I do not cut corners with training and developing my team to be masters at what they do. I also push my team to reach their potential. As a leader, the sun does not rise and set on me. In order to build a sustaining brand and business, focus on the process, standards, and system that makes your organization work. Once you do that, then your team will buy into your vision and your brand.”
While it is fulfilling to work for one’s community, it is not always easy. How does Nicovanna overcome such challenges? “The main two challenges we face in our business journey are – breaking unhealthy habits surrounding money management, and overcoming the mindset of lack. We pride ourselves on having faith that we have been called to this lane. We also put in the work – We research trends in the financial climate; we take a deep dive into behavioral finance to better understand our clients; and we provide a safe and consistent environment that stimulates growth for all our customers.”
A veritable tiger in the rat race, Nicovanna embodies all the skills and strategies required to lead. “I identify more closely with how a tiger moves throughout life. I have to study my situation and opportunities to know how best to conquer them. I have to move silently through situations in order to hear how best to bring solutions. I need my tribe to give me wise counsel and protect me as I push into new territories of business. I need to be committed to the cause I have been called to and be willing to die for it.”
Nicovanna’s zeal for giving back to society is contagious. Leaving a message for the youth, she sums up: “Do whatever you are called to even if you are afraid. Do not make an excuse to not live out your purpose here on this Earth. Discover your path, and journey on it.”