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Employee Spotlight: Shannon McDonough

Where are you from, and where did you go to college? 

I am from northern Michigan, specifically I live on Beaver Island. I went to college at Central Michigan University and hold a bachelor’s degree in human environmental studies. 

What drew you to StJFS? What made you want to join their team and work to further Catholic education? 

I have been associated with Catholic organizations in some capacity since Kindergarten, so Catholic education is definitely a priority to me. Attending and graduating from a Catholic school, my roots run deep in the faith and I knew that once I finished college, I wanted to continue my relationship with the church in some way professionally. I worked for various Catholic organizations before finding St. Josephs, (Catholic Charities and Rise Up in Jacksonville, FL, the Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation, St. Mary Cathedral Parish & School in Gaylord, MI, and finally St. Joseph Financial Services). I was immediately drawn to StJFS for their mission as well as the ability to work remotely.

When I was younger, the thought of working for the church seemed so far-fetched, but I soon found out that there were many different ways to participate in “God’s work” and I knew that I wanted to find a way to do that. The fact that I am able to pray and openly share my faith while also helping others in schools and parishes all throughout the U.S. advance their missions is truly a gift from God that I consider one of my biggest blessings.

Having most recently worked for a Catholic school and parish as development and marketing coordinator, I witnessed first hand how important accurate accounting, budgeting, and cash flow really is for an organization and I love being able to assist not just one, but countless clients all over the nation in these important aspects of their work.

What’s a big “win” you’ve been involved with that has had an impact on a parish, Diocese, or Catholic school? 

Working here for about a year and a half, I have had the pleasure of working with a dozen schools. I would say a big win I have had is cleaning up the processes and procedures related to tuition management. I feel that I am able to take an important job off the plate of school administration so that they can better focus on teaching and spreading the good rather than worrying about a family’s tuition balance or if an athletic fee was added to an account.

What is it like being part of the StJFS team? How would you describe the culture and people you work with? 

I love being a part of the StJFS team. The flexibility to work remotely has been huge for me and my family. After getting married in 2021, I moved to a remote island that my husband is from, with very little opportunity for work. It was incredible that I was able to keep my job and am able to continue the good work for our clients, no matter where I am.

Our culture is great! With quarterly virtual happy hours, daily check in calls, Wordle Wednesday and fun holiday celebrations, I would describe our culture as flexible, hard working and fun. Our team knows how to get the job done and works really well together, while also staying in our own lanes and just really digging into the great work that we do. We are becoming a very well oiled machine and it’s been exciting to see the growth not only in our clients but in teammates as well. We like to joke that our faces keep getting smaller and smaller each time we add another co-worker to our daily group check-ins because our video squares need to make room for one more!

What are your goals for your time at StJFS? 

It is my hope that I can continue to offer our clients the best experience possible. I love helping our clients learn to navigate the systems we use and provide exceptional service to our schools and families. I hope to also grow in my position and hopefully add more talented individuals to our team! 

What do you do in your time away from the office? 

When not “in the office” (AKA my standup desk in my living room where I can get up to get snacks and coffee whenever I want), I spend a lot of time with my husband and my dog. We live 30 miles out in the middle of Lake Michigan, so we are surrounded by water, and enjoy all four seasons boating, skiing, hiking, climbing sand dunes, and going on gator rides, all with our dog Lilly in tow. I love to play the piano, watch a good sunset and spend time with my nieces and nephews.