Shannon A. Bearinger, senior business information analyst with Nationwide Insurance Companies, has been selected as the Council’s 2009 Volunteer of the Year.
“Shannon understands that helping the Council helps the public affairs profession,” said Doug Pinkham, Council president, when announcing the award. “She is always willing to share her political involvement expertise with others. Shannon also has served on advisory committees and has even helped recruit colleagues to attend our training programs. She embodies the spirit of volunteerism that you can see throughout the Council.”
Shannon joined Nationwide in its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters as a communications coordinator in its Office of Government Relations in May 2004. In September of that year, she became a program coordinator in the same office, working with the company’s 18 political action committees. In November 2005, she assumed her current position and began managing Nationwide’s PACs. She earned her undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio.
“I first became involved with the Council about the same time I first began to work with Nationwide’s PACs,” Shannon tells Impact. “I attended my first PAC conference back then, and I have found the networking incredibly useful ever since. It’s great to talk to people who face the same issues I do in my work. Here in Columbus, there are not a lot of people I can to turn to as resources, but I can always call someone I met at a conference or who I heard speak at one.”
Shannon is always impressed with how ready other members are to share insights and information with her. “It’s great that you can talk with people who represent companies that under different circumstances might be seen as business competitors, but in the public affairs area are working toward the same goals,” she says.
Nationwide is “very supportive of my involvement with the Council,” she says. “We have good leadership that recognizes that we don’t always have the resources we need, and they have always been great about our professional development.”
Shannon was “completely surprised” when Caryn Seligman, the Council’s senior director, called to tell her she had won. “Caryn left a message that she had ‘good news,’” she says, “but I had no idea what she might have been referring to. Needless to say, I was thrilled.”
This is the second year the Council’s executive committee has conferred the award, which recognizes recipients’ contributions not only to the Council but also to the public affairs profession as a whole. Last year’s winner was Ellie A. Shaw of American Express Company.
For more information about the award, visit pac.org/volunteer.