Connect Series: Meet Shannan Howe

Shannan is from Ireland and moved to Vancouver in February of 2020. She started working at the young age of 15 and has a lot of experience in customer service, complaints and leadership. Her compassion and caring attitude are her strongest assets.

Shannan completed a one-year course in social care and later studied social studies and psychology. Sadly, she had to leave college to take care of her ill grandfather full-time. After that, she became a care manager for elderly people. After a few tumultuous years, Shannan decided to travel the world and ended up in Vancouver. She fell in love with the area and all it had to offer, and thankfully for us, she has not left yet.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Team and community. I think these are the core values that resonate mostly with me in my daily life and work life together. Working as part of a team is something I have always felt strongly about. Everything and anything can be done better and more efficiently with a team of people that are honest and open and willing to work hard together.

Throughout my life I have been part of so many teams, such as dancing, folk storytelling, music groups and volunteering back home — which leads me to the “community” aspect. The “support local” movement has become a huge part of the lives of those who give back to the community, especially because of the pandemic.

Helping people and supporting people around me has always been something I have tried to do, hence studying social studies and becoming a full-time caregiver. I come from a very small community with about two shops, four pubs (of course), a church, a football team, a primary and secondary school and one overcrowded care home for all the elderly in the community and surrounding area. I volunteered in the care home to give a helping hand where it was needed, and I was soon offered a full-time position as a caregiver and ended up managing my own team. It was an amazing experience to meet all of the locals that had known my own grandfather (and family too), and I also enjoyed making their days a little better. I’ve also worked closely with children and youth, teaching Irish sean‑nós dancing and mentoring dancers in the community because we were too far out of the closest town for other teachers to travel. There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Tell us more about SsketchyArts? Does artistic talent run in the family?

SsketchyArts is my accidental pride and joy, thanks to living in Vancouver. When I moved here, it was quite hard to get a job as most places wanted a Canadian reference, which I clearly did not have, so I had a lot of spare time. I bought canvases and art supplies and just started painting like I have always done when I was bored. Then random people started sharing my paintings online and asking for commissions. I set up an art page after my family and friends forced me to because I was too scared, and it just blew up. I now have paintings that are displayed all over the world in online art galleries in places like Sweden, Dubai, Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Australia and all over Canada. Luckily (and also unfortunately), most of my dad’s side of the family has an artistic hand, so they think nothing of the fact that I am selling paintings. But at least we all share the love of art!

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge? And does it include you still practising Irish dance?

Unfortunately, I haven’t done much dancing since I moved to Canada, more so because of the pandemic of course, and it’s just not as fun or enjoyable without a crowd clapping and joining in. It’s the atmosphere that dancing brings that is the best part. So recharging for me right now is stepping back each day to practise gratitude, make affirmations and set intentions:

  • Gratitude: think about what you are grateful for today.  
  • Affirmations: first analyze the thoughts or behaviours that you would like to change in your own daily life and career that day. Say “I am confident” out loud — it does help.
  • Intentions: this can be as simple as planning to drink enough water today or accepting yourself as just enough. 

Try it — you will love it!

We want to thank Shannan for leaping into the deep end with such enthusiasm for her new role at HQ.  We could not have gotten through the renovations and the move without her can-do attitude.  Thanks Shannan!