Shonna is a fashion lover living in New York, and currently working at Liberty Fairs. She believes power is connected to respect for both yourself and others. This story was submitted in collaboration with ENVSN.

What did you study in school and why? 

I studied Fashion Merchandising. I went to community college for 2 years, got my associates degree in fashion merchandising and then transferred to LIM to receive my bachelors in fashion merchandising as well. I had no idea what in fashion I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to do SOMETHING … I figured I would learn the business aspect of the industry and see where it would lead me.

What is your job/career? 

I currently work in Soho, New York at Liberty Fairs, a fashion trade show company that produces fashion events throughout the year. I mainly work on Cabana Show and assist Janet Wong, the founder, with all things leading up to the show such as contracting brands, coming up with activation ideas for the show floor, and pretty much anything else she needs a hand with. I’ve worked at many different places within the fashion industry, but really enjoy helping put these trade shows together. Nothing beats the feeling of when its all complete, plus I make new friends 

 What is a challenge you have faced or currently face and how are you overcoming it?

A challenge I currently face is being too hard on myself. I always want things to be perfect. I over come this challenge by using a productivity planner that my mentor Jizelle Staana, the executive director of ENVSN,  bought me as a gift once I was hired by Liberty Fairs. I met Jizelle about 6 years ago while I was interning at another company and she took me under her wing and has always been there for me when ever I needed her, She’s actually the reason I have my current job now. I find myself in deep thought every once and a while and when I feel like I need someone to talk to about work I usually go to Jizelle. Even though she is my mentor I look at her as a big sister since she has been in the industry longer than me, so she always gives the best advice to me as to how I can handle challenges that come my way.

What does it mean for you to be powerful?

Powerful is a strong word and to me, to be powerful you must respect yourself, or else others won’t. Most importantly, I believe you should respect others no matter what age, race, or sex they are. I feel as though there are many people in powerful positions that aren’t the respectful to other people. A rightful leader does not only have power, but guidance and compassion for others.

Do you have a favorite product or item you love that makes you feel great?

This is a tough one hmmm, actually candles make me feel good. To be exact I currently am obsessed with my Mahogany Teak wood High Intensity  candle that a good friend of mine , Brielle “Can” Mauro got it for me. Its very comforting for the fall time and helps me feel relaxed.

What are your passions, hobbies, interests?

When I’m not at work  I really enjoy taking barre classes at The Bar Method, cooking/baking, watching documentaries ,spending time with my family, annoying my parents especially, going out to eat or cleaning. Never in a million years did I think I would start working out, even though I was a cheerleader for half of my life. I enjoy taking an hour out of my day to focus on myself, its really relaxing. When I’m not working out you can most likely also find me in my house cooking. Cooking is another stress relief for me and takes my mind away from a lot of things. There would be times I found my self stressed out about something going on in my life and I would just take a walk to my kitchen and start baking cookies. When I’m cooking I’m only focused on making sure my recipe is correct and my food isn’t going to burn. I also enjoy cooking to the point that I host an annual brunch party at my house and invite all my friends. I take care of all the cooking and just tell my friends to bring a bottle of what ever they would like to drink. My family plays a huge part of my life, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are an amazing support system and I really look up to my parents especially in many ways, they are the true definition of real love.

What advise would you give to current students? 

  1. High school doesn’t last forever so don’t let people get you down for being unique.
  2. It’s okay to not have a lot of friends.
  3. Intern as soon as you can during your start of college so you can figure out what you like and don’t like.
  4. FUN FACT : I cried during my first ever interview for an internship at Self magazine, because of how bad I wanted it! Luckily I still got the internship and learned SOOOO much about the fashion industry (good times- miss  you Lindsay).
  5. Remember you don’t know everything so always make room for people to lend a hand and teach you something.
  6. Your mentor plays big role in molding you into who you will become one day, choose wisely.
  7. Treat yourself to lunch every once and a while, meal prepping is life!
  8. Wear clothing that fits & don’t let boys be mean to you.