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Name: Loris T. Shannon
Age: 27
Occupation: Communications Specialist

 

How I am living Fearlessly:  April 2017 will make it 3 years since I boarded that plane out of Newark, New Jersey and moved to Monrovia, Liberia. It was one of the best decisions that I’ve made to date. I moved to Liberia to pursue a career in International Affairs and because I wanted to be closer to my parents; however, I’ve gained so much more then what I anticipated.

  1. Career advancement
  2.  A deeper relationship with God
  3. Starting my own business with my sister.

Career Advancement. Many people do not have the opportunity to pursue a career in the field that they are passionate about or to utilize the degree(s) that they worked so hard to obtain, because the job market sometimes can be difficult to break into. Once you begin working in an industry other then what your calling is because, naturally, you need money, it is easy to become satisfied and complacent with the bare minimum. You may not have the time to go to interviews that could spearhead your dream career and before you know it, you are 2 years into working a job that you took just to have some money. Shortly after graduating with my Masters of Arts degree in Development Studies, I worked as a babysitter for a painful 8 months while I looked for an entry point to kick-off my career in development. After months of failed phone interviews and rejection letters from organizations in New York, Washington D.C and the African region, I finally received an offer in Liberia to work in the Secretariat of the African Union High Level Committee on Post-2015 (a project geared toward achieving global poverty reduction and sustainable development). That was the beginning of my career. Over the last 3 years, I have created a strong professional network, gained invaluable knowledge of African issues and travelled to countries that I probably would not have gone to in the absence of my position i.e. Ethiopia, South Africa, and Equatorial Guinea etc. My contract eventually ended and I am now the Communications and Public Engagement Advisor for a USAID Tax project in Liberia. Never let small setbacks stop you from chasing that career that you want even if it does not come in the packaging that you anticipated. Never stop applying even after a million “No’s”. Use your “sick days” and “leave” days to go to interviews, schedule interviews on your lunch break or arrange Skype calls with interviewers. Take that night class and strategize while the rest of the “world” is sleeping, because you owe it to yourself.

“Don’t sit back and think, Man, it’s never going to get any better. It is never going to change. Instead, sow the word of God by speaking it every single day”. – Joel Osteen

The Power of Prayer. The demise of the worst relationship I have been in, helped bring me closer to God. When things no longer seemed clear and I started to sacrifice far more than I was receiving in return, I prayed for God to console me and reveal his plan to me. We have all dealt with infidelity and liars, but the way I left this relationship wasn’t like anything I had experienced before. I didn’t have to go looking for messages from other women, no one had to tell me anything, I didn’t catch him in a compromising situation; it came straight from the camel’s mouth and might I add; we were in a long distance relationship so he could have continued living this lie. Jesus protects his children and no matter how far you derail he’ll always bring you back. At a time when I should have been devastated and broken, I felt relieved and empowered. Knowing that God had answered my prayers and had saved me from my own destruction, packing up my life and moving to Atlanta where he had relocated to during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. I entered this “situationship” to have fun and somehow I fell for him and stayed longer than I intended. I knew that this was not the man for me given his track record, but I had convinced myself that I could change him, it felt like I was in a trance. You HAVE to consult God in everything that you do! This lesson thought me the power of prayer. I’m also currently experiencing a magical kind of love with a great {new} man. We’ve been together for a little over a year and although we have our ups and downs we’re moving and growing in the right direction.

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“…because of prayer, I’m better equipped to live fearlessly”.  – Loris T. Shannon

Building a Business. My sister and I will be opening a mini-mart in a few months. Since moving to Liberia and living with my parents, I managed to save a lot. One goal of mine has always been to work, save and investment. Creating a sustainable transition to the entrepreneurial world, because frankly working for someone else all my life just isn’t an option. I tempered with a lot of different ideas like opening a low-budget skating rink, a restaurant, a barbershop etc. (of course with a business partner. My money is not that long); but, I was just too afraid of failure and putting my money into something that would turn out to be unsuccessful. I brainstormed with my oldest sister, who has a professional background in investment banking and we decided to open a mini-mart. I was extremely scared in the beginning. Anything that has to do with spending money is always scary, because you want to make sure that your investment will yield fruitful results. I decided to take a leap of faith and of course consult my big homie Jesus C. Ultimately, people need food and basic necessities; having a cute, dainty, neighborhood mini-mart in a new community will always come in handy. I’m proud to be amongst the young African female business owners. Never be ashamed to live with your parents, a family member or a friend until you feel like you’ve finally acquired your wings. That period doesn’t make you any less of an adult, but rather a wise and a strategic one, setting yourself up for greatness. I remember wanting to be on my own by the age of 24. Living with my parents and being able to properly manage my funds has put me in a better position to realize my aspirations; and I live on my own now.

Words to inspire: Make the conscious decision to replace fear with faith, every time!

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