Shannon Bermudez develops leadership skills and community focus at GGC.
Personal connections and a sense of purpose illuminated Shannon Bermudez’s educational experience at Georgia Gwinnett College, preparing her for post-college life.
“GGC taught me the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community,” said Bermudez, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in business. “If a community is thriving, everyone's quality of life is elevated. There is such beauty in a strong community.”
Bermudez has taken her passion for community and translated it into a full-time job with the Gwinnett Citizen, a local newspaper. After completing an internship at the paper, she is now an account executive and assistant to the publisher.
An honor student and Zell Miller Scholarship recipient, Bermudez initially chose GGC for its affordability and small class size. But she soon realized the myriad of opportunities available to her for student engagement and leadership development.
“I was an uninvolved high school student, but being on campus inspired me to try new things, like being an officer of a club or auditioning for a musical,” she said. “With a nudge from some of the faculty members, I decided to get out of my comfort zone.”
During her freshman year, Susan Arant, internal development consultant, invited her on a Four Pillar Society field trip to the Georgia State Capitol even though she was not a member.
The society provides opportunities for outstanding and motivated students to serve as official goodwill ambassadors for the college.
Bermudez applied for and was accepted into the Four Pillar Society her sophomore year and served as its president her senior year.
“Joining the Four Pillar Society truly changed my life,” Bermudez said. “I led meetings alongside Susan, and when she had to be out for a few months, I stepped up during her absence with Chrissy Rosen, executive director of individual engagement. We coordinated the society’s annual trip to the Capitol, led meetings and helped carry out the vision of the organization for the year.”
“Shannon is a natural leader and well-respected by Four Pillar Society members,” said Rosen. “We will continue to call on her as an alumna to help prepare future members of the society.”
Bermudez found other ways to expand on her leadership skills. She held leadership positions with the Honors Program as part of its Retreats/Event Committee and as head of its Professional Development Committee.
She was involved in five Honors Program theatrical productions in collaboration with the Aurora Theatre: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “The Addams Family,” “Twelfth Night” and two Grizzly Bearly Actors One-Act Series performances.
She also was a member of the GGC chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success and a member of Sigma Beta Delta.
Bermudez draws inspiration from many sources, but notes that her parents especially inspire her by how hard they have worked to fund education for her and her brother.
“They have sacrificed so much for us, and I am forever indebted and grateful to them,” she said.
Bermudez describes her leadership style as collaborative and is partial to a quote from Andrew Carnegie that reads, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”
“To me, leadership is helping others reach their fullest potential while simultaneously upholding the values of the organization,” Bermudez said. “To be a good leader, you must sometimes follow and be in tune with the hearts and minds of others.”
Read more about the college, its student and alumni in GGC's Engage Magazine.