This month, we are turning the spotlight on to Powerhouse Planning’s Shannon Toft, one of our freelance graphic designers, who is celebrating her first anniversary with us in June. She’s been an absolutely amazing addition to our team ever since another one of our stellar employees, Meghan Traynor, first encouraged her to apply for a position. Shannon says, “I knew I wanted to be a part of this company based on all [Meghan’s] positive discussions about it. So glad she referred me!” (We are, too, Shannon!)

In the short time she’s been with Powerhouse, Shannon has designed social media ads for The Children’s Hunger Project, Kova Covers, and Powerhouse. She’s also worked with other clients, but it’s her first job with Powerhouse that she remembers most fondly: “My very first project was to design the new Powerhouse t-shirt. I learned so much. It pushed me creatively, and I love that I was able to design a product that would be worn throughout the team.” Currently, Shannon is pushing herself out of her comfort zone by taking a Software Engineering Immersive program, which she hopes will result in her being able to transition into a web developer role. It’s something Powerhouse President Jessica Bertsch fully supports: “I always encourage our team members to expand their knowledge and follow their passions.”

That attitude is one of Shannon’s favorite things about Powerhouse. It inspires the kind of atmosphere that fosters creativity and growth through professional support and motivation. “I love working for a company that appreciates their employees’ work and values their time,” she says. It’s one reason Shannon is positive she’ll be around to witness the constant growth Powerhouse experiences. “I can’t wait to see where we are in five years,” she says.

When not working at expanding her professional horizons, Shannon loves to learn new things and stay busy, especially creatively. Anything involving arts and crafts catches her fancy, and she’s addicted to trying all kinds of creative outlets. She describes herself as the type of person who works hard and plays harder. Family-oriented, with three siblings and ten cousins who might as well be siblings, Shannon believes her dad and her aunts and uncles are the ones who instilled such a strong work ethic in her. “They were all hard workers. My dad was a single parent, and every day I saw his hustle and how he managed to stay positive through any situation,” she states. His philosophy and example are still what Shannon strives to imitate daily.

Shannon and her Coast Guard husband have been married for ten years. They met on a blind date, organized by one of those aforementioned cousins, and have been together ever since. They love to travel (though these days they find themselves mostly working on their home) and have been to Japan three times. “It’s amazing there,” she says. “We even went to Tokyo Disney and drove go-karts dressed as Mario characters.” Disney is a staple of Shannon’s personal life. “I grew up in LA before being a pass holder was super popular,” Shannon says. “I would go to Disneyland before my night shift, ride however many rides I could before I had to leave, and head to work.” It’s all part of her desire to find a good work/life balance . . .

. . . Which is another thing Shannon appreciates about Powerhouse. Being able to balance work, home life, and me-time are essential to Shannon’s well-being, and she loves working with a team that prioritizes finding that balance. “I schedule all my tasks for the week in my planner, and that includes personal time. I find it helps me to know what needs to be accomplished even if my plan doesn’t always work out perfectly,” she says. Being realistic about how much time each task will take is essential, as is putting your well-being first. “Even just a five-minute mental break here and there throughout the day can make a difference,” Shannon comments.

Shannon says her favorite Powerhouse service/resource is our Share the Goodness program. “It shows how generous Powerhouse is and makes me feel lucky to be a part of a company that displays such a moral virtue,” she says. For those who may not know, Share the Goodness is Powerhouse’s charitable giving program. Founder Jessica Bertsch made giving back a priority from the inception of Powerhouse Planning, and 10% of our gross profit goes back to the communities that our team members call, or have called, home. For Shannon, seeing the impact that Powerhouse has made in helping others is inspirational and motivational.

As always, we asked Shannon to tell us something not many people know about her. She shared that growing up, she never listened to music from the radio. “My dad was a musician. He would play jazz, funk, and soul music. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I should’ve been born in a different time period because I’m so out of touch with music from my generation.” Well, Shannon is certainly not out of touch with achieving a work/life balance and creating dynamic graphic design collateral for our clients. And she may have given us an idea for our next virtual team meeting . . . music trivia, anyone?