Whether you’re a native Detroiter, a transplant or a boomerang, you can’t deny that what’s happening in the city is history in the (re)making. From the work ethic to the entrepreneurial spirit, Detroiters are rolling up their sleeves and rebuilding the city with the same determination as Henry Ford and Berry Gordy before them. And in the end, those visionaries, similar to the ones you’ll meet this season, not only shaped Detroit, they shaped the world. Once the fastest growing city in the world; the place that created America’s middle class. Detroit is still a city that breeds innovation.
Just like the city of Detroit, our guests have stories of perseverance and creativity. Why should you care? You’ll find motivation and inspiration to apply to your own life from listening to the dreamers, future leaders and risk-takers who are making a direct impact on the community. We talk about lessons learned the hard way, what it took to reach success, business advice and what makes Detroit special.
This season we’re partnering with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit whose mission is co-creating independence and dignity through the power of personal and workforce development. Goodwill Detroit works to ensure that every neighborhood of Detroit experiences the kind of renaissance that we’re seeing in downtown and Midtown. We welcome Jessica McCall, the vice president of marketing and external affairs at Goodwill Detroit, as our special co-host. We’re asking listeners to use “#WhatsGoodDetroit“ when you come across something inspiring, notable or just plain good in the city.
We’re recording in the Foundation Studio at Detroit Foundation Hotel. Our official podcast studio is located within the beautiful boutique hotel which is the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and Pontchartrain Wine Cellars.
In the season premiere of Season 2 of “A Drink With – Detroit” we’re getting a drink with Shannon Washburn, the president of Shinola. In 2011 Shinola decided to make Detroit home and has been a job-creation vehicle ever since. Shinola is known for their watches, bicycles, leather goods and will be opening its first hotel in Detroit this fall. Shannon joined the team in 2012 as the vice president of watch development and in February of 2018 was named president. What’s so great about Detroit is that while it’s a big city, it very quickly can feel like small town, which is why we were able to grab a drink with Shannon. Listen in as we do happy hour and get the scoop on how she worked her way to president and what it’s really like running the Detroit-based company that champions American-made goods.
Listen to the full conversation on Apple Podcasts or SimpleCast.
Just a taste…
Do you still stand by your statement that moving to Detroit was the best decision you’ve ever made?
Absolutely. It’s been amazing.
What prepared you most for your role as president of Shinola?
Oh, man. Let me think. I would say diversity in managing a lot of different things. Throughout my career I’ve been a buyer, I’ve been in sales, I’ve been in product development, I’ve lived overseas and did some international sales, so I think being able to manage a lot of different things. Not even so much managing the products but the ability to work with a diverse group of people. I think that helped me a lot in what I’m doing now.
“I can think of moments in time— even before my professional career— and things that I really wanted that I thought were so important … Just keep persevering and try to get beyond that moment of disappointment. Keep going and keep trying.”
What makes the culture at Shinola unique?
It’s very open. I hope that everybody feels like they have a voice. It’s an open environment, not only from how we sit but just in the dialogue and being able to speak your voice. We’ve gone through the last few months examining ourselves and our culture and everything. We really pride ourselves in quality products. It’s not only an external thing about quality products, it’s an internal thing, too. We want the environment in our stores and office to be quality. Every meeting and every engagement you have with someone, you have a quality time with them. We’ve been using that word a lot over the last three or four months. It’s how we work, it’s how we live… to make it a quality moment. We recently started a campaign in the office where we talk about someone who’s shown those things that we believe in: optimism, humility, tenacity or humor. If we see someone go above and beyond that, we drop their name and tell everyone what we thought about that. We’re just going to try to celebrate those moments and celebrate people who really bring those qualities and make it a focus for us this year.
Photography by Derrick Busman
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