Shannah Young

Client and Business Development Specialist

"If you don’t go for what you want you will never have it. If you don’t ask the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward you are always in the same place."

Hi. My Name is Shannah Young and I am a presenter for Productive Learning. I love what I do because I am deeply committed to my own personal development and I believe in the potential of others.

I think I was always destined to do this work and to be involved with an organization like Productive Learning but I had quite the experience getting here.

When I was growing up I saw myself having a career in the environmental field. I grew up in Hawaii and I have a love for nature. I love being in the water with my canoe team feeling the rhythm and momentum of the ocean. I also love exploring the land, learning and educating others on the native species of flora.

As a Pacific Islander, my relationship with the land is considered my lifeline. It is what provides healing, resources, life lessons, and an acceptance of something greater than myself. I dreamt of facilitating workshops where people experienced nature as a means of self reflection, connection, and personal growth as a way to gain new perspectives in their life.

So I went to college pursing environmental studies and anthropology. While in college I worked with an at-risk-youth program. I was instantly struck by the environment in which these children lived. Most of them lived in households where neglect, substance abuse and abuse in general were the norm.

My heart broke. I could see the playful and innocent nature of these kids and I could see their desire to be close to someone but I could also see the fears they had of being close to someone.

Working with them had me realize the impact my childhood had on my life and how it shaped me into being and seeing the world the way I do. I thought about how I may have shut down as a kid or performed in a certain way to get attention because I was watching these kids do it with me. I knew I wanted to be an adult in their life where they could relax and just be a kid but I also knew that I would have to develop compassion for them and how they were trying to get my attention. Ultimately developing compassion for them had me experience compassion for myself and my experiences growing up.

Meanwhile, I started seeing a therapist who specialized in adult children of alcoholics. In our sessions I realized how little language I had for my feelings. I couldn’t describe the emotions I was having and he helped put words to what I was feeling.

I left our meetings feeling awake and alive and I wanted to share it with others.

Working with these kids changed the trajectory of my career. The environment that I became more curious about was our environment at home and how that shapes us into being adults.

So I worked for a recycling program and at a glass company and I even worked as a food inspector. These jobs fulfilled the original dream that I pursued in college but they lacked the connection to community and people that I longed for.

Eventually I quit my job because my heart wasn’t in it and I wanted to find a place where I could marry my passion for personal growth with my desire for community.

That is when I found Productive Learning and it feels like this is the place where I truly belong. I get to work with people to facilitate their connection with their inner landscape. I work with people to explore their potential and influence their environment.

It’s the dream realized that I never knew I always wanted.

If I am not presenting or assisting a workshop you can find me out on the water with my paddling team HE’E NALU. I love being outdoors hiking, learning to surf, you name it! And if you can’t find me there you will absolutely find me in a coffee shop in Petaluma talking story with new friends.