Shannon McCracken

Cues and Views

The Nonprofit Alliance CEO Shannon McCracken, in brief.

March 4, 2022
2 Minutes
Shannon McCracken

Home: Maryland suburbs.  Birthplace: Baltimore, MD.  Organization: The Nonprofit Alliance. Title: CEO.  Preferred pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Significant other: My husband, Scott.

Recent professional development: Joined Chief, the private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders.  Also, passed my Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam.  What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? Serving as the founding CEO of a new association.  Last book read: The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. I like to read what my teenagers are reading.

Moral compass: Would I want this in a news headline?  What is your greatest fear? Harm to my children.  My constant prayer is that they will be happy, healthy, and safe.  What natural talent have you neglected? Writing.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Buying a lake house. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Sunshine.  What is your go-to workout? Daily date with my treadmill, running shoes and podcast library.

What’s featured prominently on your office bookshelf? The sneakers my boss hurriedly bought when we were evacuated from our DC office on 9/11 and had to leave the city on foot.  She left them to me when she retired.  What is the best advice you received in your career? “Go to the fire.” Meaning, do the hard things.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Teleportation.  I wish.  What is your favorite app? Amazon.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Sleep.  Frustrating walls turn into windows with a good night’s rest.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

Building a talent pipeline for careers in nonprofit sector operations, with particular emphasis on pathways for minority and under-represented groups.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Start by assuming good intent.  What widely held belief do you reject? “It can’t be done.”  What mega-trend most concerns you? Nonprofits’ increasing reliance on fewer, wealthier donors to guide our philanthropic priorities.

As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A marine biologist.  What object would you first save from your burning home? The journals I keep about each of my children, including all the funny things they say.  What advice would you give your younger self? Trust the journey.

Personal motto: Leave it better than I found it.  Favorite quote: "Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end" (John Lennon).  Desired epitaph: (Same as my favorite quote.)

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