Shannon Cohen '00 & '11 in the lobby of the Seidman College of Business.

Shannon Cohen '00 & '11

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Shannon Cohen is a self-described “hope dealer.” Her passion for investing in the aspirations, ambition, and wellness of people comes through in all of her work: as a business owner, author, motivational speaker, podcaster, and more.

Cohen, a first-generation college student, graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, and in 2011 with a master’s degree in public administration. As the founder and CEO of Shannon Cohen Inc., she develops customized emotional intelligence, equity and wellness trainings for organizations such as The Procter & Gamble Company and Steelcase, Inc.

Her inspirational product line, Tough Skin, Soft Heart, features greeting cards that are available at retailers nationwide, including Target and Meijer. This year she partnered with GVSU’s Alumni Supplier Diversity Program to bring her “Hope-on-the-go” products to the GVSU Laker Store. Cohen is also the founder of the global Rockstar Woman Brunch Experience, serving thousands of women annually.

Shannon Cohen '00 & '11
Shannon Cohen laughs outside the Seidman College of Business

In 2023, Cohen received the “Woman of Courage” award from Michigan Women Forward. In 2022, she was named “Brilliant Woman of the Year” by West Michigan Woman Magazine.

Cohen serves on the board of directors for the Corewell Health Foundation, Grand Rapids Economic Club, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at GVSU, and GROW. She also is a member of the Small Business Advisory Committee for U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten.

Shannon Cohen Spotlight Video

Shannon Cohen Spotlight Video

For more information about the GVSU Alumni Awards, visit

Page last modified November 3, 2023