Girl Boss 2017: Shannah Hayley

Growing up, Kansas native Shannah Hayley had big dreams. Texas-size big, in fact.

Shannah, the marketing and community engagement director for the City of Plano, recalled a book by fellow Kansan Osa Johnson. Given to Shannah by her grandmother, the book instilled a dream in her that has carried on to adult life.

“Her book opened up that just because you are a girl from a little town, that doesn’t mean you have to dream small,” Shannah recalled. “Osa Johnson and her husband traveled a lot, and they made a film around 1910-1930 about their travels.”

This ignited a fire inside the Missouri State University graduate – the idea that a small town girl can make a statement. Shannah has used this spark to help make Plano what it is becoming today. “My job is to position Plano as the place to live, work and play,” she explained.

Through her efforts, she wants everyone to feel they are at home here in Plano. “We are Plano,” she continued. “It’s a source of identity.”

To help foster this pride, Shannah was the driving force behind a portable blue-and-red metal sculpture in the shape of a heart which reads #lovePlano. The easily recognized piece is moved to various locations across town, prompting photo ops and creating city pride.

“Stephen Tanner (City of Plano senior marketing specialist), started the #lovePlano hashtag that is used on social media,” she added. “It started as a photo contest, but is now used for much more.”

Shannah is also the current license holder and curator of TEDxPlano, the local version of the world-renowned TED Talks speaker series. The idea for the local series was rooted in the Plano Chamber’s Leadership Plano class of 2013-14, but the TED speaker series has been worldwide since 1984. TEDxPlano provides an opportunity for North Texas speakers to present ideas regarding technology, entertainment and design to a public audience and to have their presentations filmed and shared on social media.

In April 2016, as Shannah was on Twitter actively monitoring a major hail storm, she stumbled upon a Tweet connecting the reality TV series “The Real Housewives of Dallas” to Plano. The cast members were squabbling, and one cast member spurted out, “It’s getting a little Plano in here.” Rather than take that as negative toward Plano, Shannah quickly had shirts printed bearing that quote, twisting what could be deemed by some as derogatory into something positive. The shirts were a hit, and residents even used the phrase in their own positive posts on social media.

“I want Plano to be an even more connected town than it is,” she explained. “I want people to see people for who they are. Everyone has a story.”

See all of the 2017 Girl Bosses >
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