Shannon Cohen, '00 & '11

Shannon Cohen, Fall 2023 Commencement Speaker

Shannon Cohen is the founder and CEO of Shannon Cohen, Inc. -- a boutique firm with a mighty imprint and reputation for excellence. Shannon specializes in developing customized emotional intelligence, equity, and wellness colloqui for organizations across diverse sectors and industries. Her clients include: Electronic Arts [EA], Procter & Gamble, Meijer, Steelcase, Henry Ford Health System, United Way, The American Heart Association, Steelcase, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Gentex Corporation, Grace Hopper --; The Urban Core Collective, and Bissell. Using a head+heart approach, Shannon excels in engaging change agents in transparent conversations about the unspoken truths of leadership and self-care to nurture longevity in leadership. Shannon doesn’t just ‘speak’ to leaders; she speaks ‘into’ the lives of leaders.

Shannon is an author, podcaster, and owner of an inspirational product line called Tough Skin, Soft Heart. Her Tough Skin, Soft Heart products are available at retailers across the country. Her #ToughSkinSoftHeart podcast is in its 3rd season and reaches subscribers in 12 countries with weekly grab-and-go inspiration + strategy for difference makers. In February 2021, Shannon’s signature brand of greeting cards debuted at 1750+ Target stores nationwide via a partnership with American Greetings. In June 2021, Shannon’s products expanded into 200+ Meijer stores nationwide.

Shannon is respected and renowned for empowering organizations to integrate innovation, research, emerging trends, and creativity to cultivate continuous improvement and spur ongoing learning. Shannon is the Founder of the global Rockstar Woman Brunch Experience, serving thousands of women annually. Shannon was recently honored with the prestigious 2023 “Woman of Courage” award from Michigan Women Forward, 2023 Distinguished Alumni award from Grand Valley State University, and named 2022 “Brilliant Woman of the Year” by West Michigan Woman Magazine. In 2021 and 2020, Shannon was named one of the 200 Most Powerful Business Leaders in West Michigan. Shannon is the 2020 YWCA Tribute Award recipient and was named one of the 2022, 2020, and 2018 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Shannon is an alumnus of the prestigious W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship and past adjunct professor in the Grand Valley State University College of Community and Public Service. Shannon has authored two books, “It’s Normal to Shake as You Soar” and “Tough Skin, Soft Heart: A Leadership Guide to Growing Stronger, Better, and Wiser”.

Shannon serves on the board of directors for the Corewell Health Foundation, Grand Rapids Economic Club, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley State University, GROW, a regional CDFI with a passion for elevating entrepreneurs, and the Small Business Advisory Committee for Congresswoman Hillary Scholten. Shannon is also a member of the Greater Grand Rapids Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Learn more about Shannon at:

Shannon Cohen photo and list of clients

Page last modified October 16, 2023