About Shannon


Shannon Cohen has been an active member of regional and national philanthropic and community development efforts for the past sixteen years. Shannon has created, managed, and scaled several movements, initiatives, and incubator efforts designed to foster community renewal and stem public health ills with a special focus on youth.

Seeking to expand on expertise in strategic planning, project management, community mobilization, and service delivery to vulnerable populations, Shannon launched her own business, Community Ventures (CV) in 2009. Community Ventures was birthed out of a vision and passion to empower youth and families to thrive despite circumstances of birth and situational challenges. In 2011, the scope of Community Ventures expanded. Shannon realized that addressing root causes impacting the success and health of communities required intentional engagement of the institutions, systems, and power structures that undergird local conditions and policies. Operating from a shared destiny paradigm, Shannon began providing contractual services at a systems-level to build collaborative movements that engaged multiple sectors in order to improve the quality of life for all. Shannon is an award-winning industry leader and sought-after strategist, innovator, and inspirational leader. Through Community Ventures, Shannon has served several entities including The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy-Above the Influence, the Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency, Network180, The Grand Valley State University School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Wyoming Public Schools, The Genesis Corporation, TRIO Upward Bound, Junior Achievement, Project GREEN, Foursquare International, and ITT Technical Institute.

Strategist – Shannon has a niche for helping people, organizations and institutions move initiatives from inception to implementation and good to GREAT! When asked about what she does, Shannon often says, “My job is to make the client look good. I am gifted to help entities launch, build, scale, model, and replicate initiatives. I love partnering with visionaries and leaders to help them cast a vision, build a plan, and execute strategies that move a vision from promise to reality”.

Innovator – Shannon empowers ordinary people to achieve the extraordinary. “In a knowledge-based economy, being able to generate new ideas or pioneer new methodology is critical. I help clients monitor and set trends by harnessing the power of creativity.”

Inspirational Leader – Shannon blends her years of service as an ordained minister with humor and life lessons forged in the fire of civic and professional service to ignite and inspire the dreams of others. Shannon has a gift for encouragement combined with a desire to see people realize and embrace their value. Shannon is an orator that skillfully wields humor, story telling, and love to compel and empower others to live their best lives and pursue their dreams. As a public speaker and facilitator, Shannon travels speaking to thousands annually using her unique ability to merge ‘people care’ with the power of visioning. In 2013, Shannon was invited by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to speak before U.S. Senate leaders about her work and improving health outcomes for children.

Shannon graduated magna cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from Grand Valley State University. She is a recipient of the Grand Rapids Business Journal ’40 Under Forty’ Award and was recently selected as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow, a cadre of 120 prestigious leaders from around the nation working in tandem to improve the quality of life for vulnerable children and families. Shannon serves in several nonprofit board capacities within West Michigan. Shannon married her college sweetheart Duriel Cohen, Sr., and the couple have a beautiful son, Duriel Cohen II who they affectionately call ‘Deuce’. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys writing and sending hand-written letters, home decorating, gardening, and making her own essential oil fragrances.