After seven years in personal finance, Shannon Parker, a Poole College of Management 2006 alumna, uprooted her life and career to make an impact through her family’s organization in her own community.
Finding Her Career Path
Parker had always been interested in business after seeing her father’s work in telecommunications where he supported hospitals in the southeast region of the United States. She saw the success her father had and mapped out her own career plan as she began her time at NC State.
At NC State, Parker was an Alexander Hamilton and Caldwell Fellows scholar where she majored in business administration with a concentration in finance from Poole College and interdisciplinary and international studies from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She credits Poole College and its career staff with helping her start off on the right foot in her career with an internship with Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment companies.
“I interned in Philadelphia the summer before my senior year where I learned more about the personal finance industry,” said Parker. “Vanguard offered me a position upon graduation in their offices in Charlotte where I would become licensed to trade.”
Later, Parker established a financial advisory practice with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in San Jose, California. She guided her clients in retirement financial planning and developed investment portfolios to support their goals.
Moving Back Home
After seven years in California, Parker made the move back to the east coast with the initial plan to help her then firm open a branch in South Carolina. However, this changed when she accepted the combined position of chief financial officer (CGO) and chief governance officer (CGO) with Raleigh North Christian Center.
The Raleigh ministry was established by Parker’s family over 20 years ago and now has 2,300 members. In her role as CGO and CFO, Parker has a staff of 23 that helps her oversee human resources, legal, finance, organizational development and ministry operations.
“I came home to fill this all-encompassing role to re-establish structure to the back end of this organization,” said Parker. “Though it was not a part of my initial career plan, I love that I am helping build something as a family and serving the people of my community.”
Parker has also helped establish a six-week financial literacy program, the Financial Learning Experience, for Raleigh North Christian Center designed to help members and friends get out of debt, learn money management and establish savings accounts. In the past year, over $620,000 of debt was paid off by class attendees.
The Impact of Poole College
Parker’s most memorable class was with Bill Sloan, a former professor of Finance for Poole, where she realized she wanted to pursue a career in finance. Sloan’s class taught her preparation skills and how to develop strategies in overcoming new obstacles in business.
Parker’s advice for Poole College seniors who will be graduating this May is to make a plan for your career and go after it with humility.
“I would recommend that if you want to work in a certain industry, that you call the office locally where you want to live. Ask them for an opportunity to work there,” said Parker. “Maybe it is the investor in me, but taking the bull by the horns will allow you to grow and mature as a professional.”