Meet Shannon Keith
MEET THE MUSE: Shannon Keith ~ founder of Sudara and a true warrior for change in the fight against sex slavery in India.
In 2005, Sudara* founder Shannon Keith took a trip to India that opened her eyes to a tragedy occurring daily to women and girls throughout the country. She could hardly believe what she witnessed in India’s Red Light Districts—modern day slavery. Shannon listened to story after story of young girls being sold into the sex trade by their families, orphans picked up off the street by pimps, and even young mothers just trying to get enough money to feed their children. Many were held against their will. Others were trapped by economic poverty. Worst of all were the stories of those who managed to escape the brothels only to return due to social stigma and having no other means to survive.
Shannon returned home and gathered friends to help do something about it. The team knew that without safe, steady employment, these women stood little chance of surviving outside of the brothels. They identified a group of like-minded partners in India who were compelled to work together with any women looking for a way out of the Red Light Districts. Together, the team created a simple pattern that could be used to teach anyone wanting to learn how to sew.
In 2006, Sudara hired the first 6 employees in their first-ever sewing center partnership and began teaching each woman the skills needed to become seamstresses and our first pair of PUNJAMMIES™ loungewear was produced. Stitch by stitch, the women gained confidence not only in their newfound trade, but also in their newfound hope and freedom. Since that time, their relationships have grown into multiple sewing center partnerships and hundreds of women gaining a new community and safe place to work and heal.
Sundara founder Shannon Keith took a few moments to muse with us.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I love this question. To me perfect happiness is living the life I was created for. To be fully alive and engaged in my family, community and world makes me so happy. There is also an element of harmony that is necessary for my happiness. Though there are many competing priorities, as long as there is harmony the different roles I wear can coexist rather than compete.
What is your greatest fear?
Not having purpose.
What has been your greatest life lesson?
To be who I am, not trying to be greater or less but resting in the reality that I am enough and the world can benefit from a fully integrated and engaged me.
What talent would you most like to have?
A beautiful voice. I love music and will relentlessly sing along, but it sure would be fantastic to have a voice that matched my enthusiasm. My family is constantly turning up the radio to tune out mom’s singing…
What is the trait you are most grateful for in yourself?
What is the trait you most cherish in others?
Authenticity. I like real people who are self aware and comfortable in their own skin.
What breaks your heart?
Injustice in any form. Particularly human slavery and sexual violence against women and children.
What is your most treasured possession?
My wedding ring and my Bible. They are both symbols of unconditional love shown toward me.
What is your current state of mind?
Expectant. There are lots of changes abreast with my company and this year I am turning 40… so I am just expecting really good things to come.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Hmmmm. Probably my smile- it’s big like Marie Osmond and people tend to comment more on that than any other trait.
In nature on a run, on my mountain bike or snowboard, with my closest family and friends laughing and sucking the marrow out of life!
If you could inspire one change in yourself, what would it be?
To be more patient. As a doer, sometimes I get impatient with myself (and unfortunately others…)
If you could inspire one change in the world, what would it be?
For people to look out for one another over themselves. This would solve many of the worlds issues from violence to food distribution, etc. When we all seek the best for others, someone has my back and hoarding is no longer on the table.
Which historical figures have inspired you?
Jesus, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln
Who are your living muses?
My mother and grandmother & my daughters
Where do you look for inspiration in your daily life?
My family, nature, my team at work, the women and children we partner with in India, Jesus.
What is your motto?
Give the best version of yourself to yourself and the world and laugh at yourself and life along the journey
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a good wife the mother of my 3 children, also starting Sudara
What do you want to be remembered for?
Starting IPP and quitting my secure corporate job