About Shannon Lucas
I have over twenty years’ experience working with startups, launching my own ventures, and driving innovation and culture change into the world’s largest companies. I was most recently Executive Vice President of Emerging Business at Ericsson. I’ve worked at Microsoft, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Cisco. I’m passionate about making the world’s largest organizations more sustainable in every sense of the word; for people, planet and profit. I’m an adrenaline and new experience junkie. Together with my husband we have 6 wonderful boys – one in Australia, one in Massachusetts, and the rest of us live with our two cats in Colorado.
You can find me online at Catalyst Constellations or you can join our galaxy of Catalysts at galaxy.catalystconstellations.com
Why Did You Become an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, Etc. in the First Place?
Like many Catalysts, I have moved in and out of corporate roles, startups, starting my own companies. I’ve gone wherever the next most interesting challenge or opportunity arose.
I feel so fortunate to be able to start this global Catalyst movement with my amazing Co-CEO Tracey. Turns out the best way we could do that was by starting our own business.
I never had an ambition to be an author, but our Advisory Board pointed out if you’re creating a movement, you need the tome that helps create a shared identity, language, framework, which then allows for others to help evangelize and others to lean in. I also was excited to write the personal operating manual I wished I had had 20 years ago.
How Do You Deal With Fear?
I am an adrenaline junkie. I didn’t really understand how deep that physical wiring is for me in terms of neurologically connecting fear with endorphins until my son and I were taking a road trip. We were on a remote desert road, going around a blind bend when a huge tractor trailer came barreling around the corner and almost drove us off the road over a cliff. As soon as both of our brains realized that we were ok, my son burst out crying at the exact same minute I burst out laughing. I get a flood of endorphins from overcoming fear (skydiving, rock climbing, riding my motorcycle, you name it). There is a problem with that line though, because you have to keep constantly upping the ante.
How Do You Deal With Rejection?
Rejection is tough for me. I am a born people pleaser. I also have an incredibly strong inner critic. So most times when people reject or criticize me, it’s not something that I haven’t thought or told myself.
Over the years I have come to learn that the overactive inner critic isn’t helpful and not all rejection is bad. I have been actively developing self-compassion and mindfulness over the decades, rejection has gotten easier. It’s ok that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s so much more fun to spend time with the people who get me, what I’m about, and support me.
What’s the Name of Your Company? What Exactly Does Your Company Do, How Do You Help People?
Catalyst Constellations helps Catalyst changemakers sustain their energy so they can make meaningful impact. We offer 360 support: reference materials, coaching, team support, classes and a global network. Let us know what will support you best.
We also work with large organizations to help executives understand the value of Catalysts and create programs to identify, train and empower Catalysts. We work with leaders to give them the tools and skills to provide the best support for Catalysts. This is the Time of the Catalyst and if organizations aren’t actively looking to find their Catalysts…it’s going to be hard for them to survive.
Name One of the Biggest Challenges You Have Faced and How Did You Overcome It?
This may sound tongue in cheek but I really believe this is true: being a Catalyst and not knowing it has been the biggest challenge I have overcome.
Being a Catalyst means that I operate differently. It means that I was criticized for all sorts of things (especially being a woman Catalyst in the technology field). I was too loud. Too bold. Too…you name it. And it meant that while I was the originator of so many transformational ideas, solutions, products, because I didn’t stay through to the impact of those things I catalyzed, it was hard to articulate my value. It caused a lot of unnecessary self-doubt, long-hours of work to prove myself, and self-abuse. I started overcoming it by hiring Tracey as my coach. It will be a lifelong journey to be the most self-compassionate Catalyst I can be. It might take a life of healing to overcome so much of the trauma.
What Piece of Advice Do You Wish Someone Had Given You at the Start of Your Career?
Be kind to yourself. Seek feedback from those who inspire you, those who want to build you up and those you trust, but choose wisely whose feedback you let in. Why would you listen to the negative feedback from someone you wouldn’t go to for advice? And get a coach ASAP!
Who Are Your Biggest Influences and People You Admire and Why?
I have been following Beth Comstock’s career and contributions for over a decade. Her bold and fearless approach started driving new, sustainable and impact-focused business model thinking into a 120 year old company. She launched programs like Healthymagination and Ecomagination. She realized that culture change was crucial to helping a huge, legacy company become more future-ready. So she brought in Eric Reis and Lean Startup approaches across the business. She recognized the importance of digital transformation and moved fast and hard into that space. She shattered the class ceiling by becoming the first female Vice Chair at GE. Despite all those amazing achievements, she has always been generous with her time. She vulnerably and authentically shared about her experience in her fantastic book, Imagine it Forward. I loved it so much I bought copies for everyone in top leadership positions at Ericsson including signed copies for the entire C-Suite. Throughout my career, I have often found myself wondering “What would Beth do?”
Name a Person Who Helped You Along the Way?
There are so many to thank but for sure my biggest supporters and cheerleaders have been my moms Brynna and Rosemary, who also happen to be Catalysts themselves. I’ve learned so much from them about organizational development. They always lean into new systems approaches (Theory U, Open Space, Future Search, Appreciative Inquiry, etc.) to try and understand the best new ways of creating positive change. But I’ve also learned from them the importance of leading a full, intentional life. I still go to them on a regular basis to think through business problems and life choices.
What Do You See as Your Greatest Success in Life, So Far?
Living a full, intentional life is something that I am incredibly proud of and thankful for. My son is definitely my biggest success. It wasn’t always easy as a single mom with a profoundly gifted and sensitive son. As much as I am a workaholic, I made really smart choices that allowed me to spend a lot of time with him during the pivotal years that he really needed me. I found great ways to take him around the world with me when I was on business trips. I was able to extend the limited vacation time the corporate world gives you by choosing jobs where I had a lot of remote work flexibility. I am so glad that I don’t have regret about having prioritized work over him. I knew the time would fly fast and I cherished every moment I could with him.
What Book Would You Recommend and Why?
There are so many to choose from, I have a book addiction problem. So like Tracey, this is always a tough question. One of the most profound books that I have gone back to several times is Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies, by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kauefer. It brings Theory U to life, and talks about the importance of shifting from leveraging our ego for problem solving and business creation to thinking more from a systems approach about the entire eco-system. It encourages leaders to focus on creating more inclusive and regenerative products, solutions and economies.
What’s a Personal Self-Talk, Mantra, Affirmation or Self-Belief That Contributes to Your Success?
The two mottos of my life are to “Live life without regrets” and “If you have to choose, I’d rather regret having done something than not.” I’ve been pretty successful in sucking the marrow out of life.