Faces In The Crowd: Shannon Schmidt

December 6, 2018

By Aaron Michell
Correspondent

Shannon Schmidt is a bit of an entrepreneur.
Along with her husband, Eric, her daughters Olyvia, Taylor, and Ayla, her mother, Donna, and her team of hardworking employees, Shannon helps run a handful of businesses at the corner of Jefferson and Main in downtown Evart.
The family businesses include: Unit Assistant, Text Blast Customer, Pink Delivery, Affordable Prints, and Talk of the Town. In spring of 2019, the Schmidt’s will be adding a 75 child daycare to their list of enterprises.
So the first question, naturally, is how on Earth does Shannon find time for all of these companies?
For her, the answer is simple: She’s surrounded each day by a great team.
That team includes her husband, Eric; her daughters, Olyvia and Taylor; and her mom, Donna Robinson.
And it includes Heather Pattee, Jody Clark, Cheryl Taylor, Tami Dellar, Kay Albright, Jody Hardy, Julie Bancroft, Eric Woods, Flint Weinberg, and many others working diligently to keep things running smoothly.
We were fortunate enough to meet Shannon and the team recently, where we learned a lot about their companies and their goals. We learned about Shannon’s story: the ups, the downs, and the lessons learned in between. We learned that Shannon Schmidt is more than just another face in the crowd.

Eric, Shannon and Finley.

Eric, Shannon and Finley.

MP: Okay, so you have a lot of businesses here. Can you give us a rundown?
Shannon: We have Unit Assistant, Text Blast Customer, Pink Delivery, Affordable Prints, and Talk of the Town. And we’ll soon be adding a daycare.

MP: What is Unit Assistant?
Shannon: We’re virtual assistants for over 600 Mary Kay directors. So [directors] have their own businesses that they run, but we will do all their mailings, their paperwork – we’re basically their marketing department so that they can stay in communication with their downline.
We assist Mary Kay independent sales directors and consultants – what assists those sales directors is Unit Assistant, and Text Blast Customer assists the consultants.

MP: And what is Text Blast Customer? And Pink Delivery?
Shannon: Text Blast Customer – it’s kind of cool; it’s a mass-texting program. So if you want to send a text to all of your customers or clients through one database, you can. It’s customizable and can be used in many different ways. Pink Delivery is just a retail store for mostly Mary Kay independent sales directors and consultants.

MP:
What is your favorite part of the job? Or should I say jobs?
Shannon: Helping people. There’s a couple things: we’re very lenient here, almost too lenient – these girls can come and go; there’s only a few days they cannot take off. But if they need to go pick their kids up from school, they can just go. And I love that they don’t need to punch a clock, 8 to 10, just to work here.
And I work with a lot of family: My two daughters work here; my sister in-laws work here; my aunt, Tammi, works here; Jodi’s always been my mom’s best friend. Julie’s been with me since 1996, and she knows me better than I know myself sometimes.
So it’s very family oriented. Everyone has each other’s back. My favorite part would be that it helps them and that we’re helping our clients. I love to see the emails that come in and say: ‘You’ve made such a difference in my unit production.’
I love to see those [Mary Kay production] stats. Watching the statistics and watching the girls grow – that’s probably my favorite part. It’s not fun when I see [stats] go the other way, but I love to see growth. I get real excited about that.

MP: And you probably get excited to see growth within your companies as well?
Shannon: Yes, every day. Every day is different. And I like to problem solve – I think I’ve figured that out about me. It’s funny because the older you get, the less you know. It’s so true! When you were 20 you probably knew everything!

MP: When I was 16 I knew everything! It’s funny how that works.
Shannon: And I like to praise my people a lot, and what a great job they do. Even when we have bad times or if things go wrong here, I’m always trying to keep it in perspective. It’s like a John Maxwell quote: ‘If there’s only 15% wrong, your team’s doing awesome.” I’m a little bit of a perfectionist – especially for our clients – I like everything to be perfect.
And I love that I get to see my girls. I love that we get to work together and right now Taylor – she brings Finley in, and same with Olyvia – she just had a baby boy.

MP:
And you’ve seen your share of ups and downs along the way.
Shannon: I think I had the [Taylor and Olyvia] by 18, and I was divorced by 22. That was certainly a tough time with two babies, one year apart. I’m just very grateful. I don’t ever forget. I’m always grateful to God that he handled it.
My mom Donna, she’s originally from Marion. We ended up moving back into Marion after her and my dad split up. I think it was 7th grade when we moved to Marion. And then I quit school in 9th grade. So it was really ‘against all odds’. Really, when you think about it, I quit school – so I had no big-time education; I could read and write – that kind of stuff. I had two kids under 20, divorced. Now I look back and think: ‘How the heck did I do it?’
We’re so blessed. I’m able to take care of my family, and that’s my thing. I have three girls: Olyvia, Taylor, and Ayla.

Shannon with Olyvia’s newborn, Ashtyn.

Shannon with Olyvia’s newborn, Ashtyn.

MP: And grandkids?
Shannon: Three grandkids: Ayden,4, Finley, 3 months old, and Ashtyn – Olyvia’s youngest, who was just born last week.
It’s a fun time. It’s one of those things – you never get enough of grandbabies!

MP:
And you’re the co-chair of the DDA, and a member of the Osceola County Community Foundation. What is it about the Evart community that makes you want to get involved?
Shannon: The people. The people of this community. There’s politics anywhere you go, but ultimately, the people here really care. The bottom line is that if they can do something for you, they’ll do it. They’ll pitch in; they’ll do it. I feel like there’s a real good sense of community, and that hasn’t always been.
Eric, when he was Mayor, he made a big difference here. He would communicate. He’d get this group talking to that group. So we’ve seen that; I’ve experienced that all coming together. And guys like Al Weinburg, he was in charge of the DDA, and he was phenomenal. If someone would say: ‘Well, you’ve gotta…’ He would say: ‘No, WE have to…’ So he’d get them thinking we’re all part of the same team – he must’ve said that thousands of times. Evart, ultimately, when the community needs to come together – if someone’s ill, or needs help – the community will come together to help them out.

MP:
Looking back, what kind of advice would you give to your younger self?
Shannon: I don’t think I’d change a whole lot. I might give myself a break. It’s okay to enjoy the moment; the kids are fine. I have a tendency, when people come over and the house is a mess, that I’ll be picking things up… There’s a story in the bible that talks about two women, and Jesus came to visit them: The one was too busy cleaning to enjoy the visit. And so I think that, now that I’m older, when I see myself starting to straighten up I think: It is what it is, just enjoy the moment.

The Schmidt Family at Olyvia and Dakota’s wedding. L-R: Ayla, Eric, Dakota and Olivia Campbell, Shannon, Tayler and Alec McKay, Lea – their German exchange student, and grandson Ayden in the front row.

The Schmidt Family at Olyvia and Dakota’s wedding. L-R: Ayla, Eric, Dakota and Olivia Campbell, Shannon, Tayler and Alec McKay, Lea – their German exchange student, and grandson Ayden in the front row.

MP: Who have been your role models through the years?
Shannon: My mom and my dad. My outside influencers were Mary Kay – the company really grew me. They taught me so much. I didn’t even know that you could miss things at a conference – I was so young that I just did what I was told. I didn’t question it. I remember going to a conference with a girlfriend, and she was still in bed, and she said she wasn’t going to a class, and I said: ‘You can do that?!’ In my brain that wasn’t even an option.
Any time I can get knowledge, I go for it. Right now I’m on a podcast kick!
Another mentor, Judy Kawiecki, she was my national sales director, and she had a huge influence on my life. I’m indebted to her. She probably saved my life, when I think about it. Having Mary Kay and having her coaching made such a big difference for me.

MP: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Shannon: When something goes bad, go to work. Go help somebody else and it will help you. And it always has. That’s what I do now, and it’s a good outlet for craziness. Don’t go sit down; don’t go sulk; don’t go to bed; go get something done.



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