Elisa Shannon

This entry is part 33 of 33 in the series

EShannonElisa Shannon

Greater Boston Food Bank

Years with company: Three years with the company, 28 in the industry.

Current position and your immediate supervisor:

I have spent my entire career in the food industry and now hold the position of director of food acquisition at The Greater Boston Food Bank. I report to the chief operating officer.


Education degrees and professional/volunteer affiliates:

Education: Master’s in Business (MBA)

Professional affiliates: Frozen and Refrigerated Assn. of the Northeast (board member); National Restaurant Assn./Mass. Restaurant Assn.; New England Produce Council; Network of Executive Women; Food  Beverage Assn Thailand; American Chamber of Commerce Thailand (former board member); co-founder, Professional Women Assn. of Thailand.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
First and foremost would be my family, especially my father. His dream was to solve world hunger and he was recognized by the United Nations for his efforts. Sadly, he passed away without seeing his dream come to fruition. Growing up in the food industry (turkey business) provided me with many mentor opportunities. My family taught me the value system I live by today; combined with the extended family business members who surrounded me, I experienced many teaching moments throughout my youth. I was and continue to be fortunate to have mentoring relationships with each position throughout my career. Integrity is the word that resonates mentor to mentor. Additionally, my husband provides continued support and encouragement.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements or a defining moment of your career to date?
My work increasing food safety awareness on the local, national and international level. As owner of a food safety management company based in Southeast Asia, I had the opportunity to influence food safety legislation overseas as well as educate leaders in the U.S. Congress on the global implications of food safety. In addition to my passion for food safety, I continue to be extremely passionate about hunger relief. My work overseas included food sourcing for Bangkok inner city slum schools and an AIDS hospice operated by the Human Development Foundation. Additionally I worked with the UNDP on Mekong River Delta sustainability projects. Both endeavors helped lead me to my work with the Greater Boston Food Bank, the leading hunger relief organization in New England and a member of the Feeding America network, which is very exciting and rewarding.

Most challenging part of your job:
Building awareness of hunger in eastern Mass., among individuals and businesses while working to meet a need that continues to grow in this economy as the food industry increases operating efficiencies, resulting in fewer and more time-sensitive donations.

Thoughts or advice for upcoming younger executives:
The food industry is a vibrant industry with so many avenues of opportunity. Always be professional in your approach and remember that integrity is the key to success. Your reputation is yours and yours alone to develop. Always conduct yourself with dignity and honesty in ever aspect of your life.

Cooking, boating, fly fishing, and traveling.