Faces of AWNY: Chairperson – Shannon Marshall

AWNY’s Chairperson Shannon Marshall will be presenting a Financial Empowerment workshop on February 26. Here’s some background about Shannon’s life in NYC.

Why you moved to NYC? Where are you from? How long have you been here? 

I grew up in a small farming community called Hyden, about four hours inland of Perth. At twelve I began attending boarding school and went onto Uni in Perth. I backpacked around the world in my early 20’s and relocated to Melbourne on my return, only to get a great career opportunity in the USA shortly thereafter. That was 10 years ago this May and I’m in complete disbelief how quickly the time has flown by!

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

I live in the Upper West side, right near Central Park. The access to subways is key (I’m always out exploring), but I cherish how quiet it is, its proximity to Lincoln Center, supermarkets and convenience for getting in/out of the city. Central Park is my sanity; I walk, bike, or run in it at least once a day.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?

I love the diversity of people, cultures, experiences and having everything at my fingertips. Every neighborhood has its own story. People bring their A-game to succeed here and the resulting experience (from the quality of businesses, restaurants, specialists, products, etc) is something I try not to take for granted. I walk a lot and it never ceases to amaze me how many people are doing the same. There’s a real aliveness to New York, any time of day or night.

With that being said, you definitely pay a premium to live on an island. And by mid-winter, I find myself especially homesick for Australia’s warmth. Of course, being 19,000km from my family and friends is one part of living here that I dislike.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment(s)?

Like many parts of NYC, our neighborhood is an ongoing movie scene, so I’ve had an insane number of “movie-star moments” over the years. Sometimes it’s the less obvious moments that really get you though: walking the streets after a snowstorm when a total hush has fallen over the city, sailing in a friend’s boat around Manhattan and suddenly looking straight up at the Statue of Liberty, or the moment I met my (now) husband outside of a restaurant in Little Italy, of all places…!

Any advice for people moving to NY?

– Say ‘yes’ to everything (within reason!). You will be rewarded.

– Join AAA/AWNY, follow us on our blog/FB/Twitter and come meet everyone at an event! New York City is full of unlimited possibilities and challenges and community is a great source of strength in both.

– If you’re not already, get on LinkedIn.

– Make friends with locals. The American kind 🙂

– Go exploring out of the city as often as possible. It’s amazing what you can find even 30-40 mins away.

What do you do?

Private banker and wealth advisor at JP Morgan Private Bank. Essentially I help clients solve for financial concerns, like complex mortgages and lines of credit, planning and investments. I’m passionate about the planning work (and corresponding financial empowerment) that I get to do. There’s a lot of B.S. in my industry and I work really hard to humanize the process while helping people make the best choices.

As a Professional working in NYC what are the differences to working in Australia?

It seems you have to work much harder to maintain harmony between your work and personal lives here. I’m not saying that you don’t work your butt off back home, but I think the culture of NYC demands “more”; almost as though burnout is a badge of honor! There’s also a very different culture around networking here, in that it’s both encouraged and supported. It feels like only a small group of people do it back home. Everyone does it here, in some form or another… sometimes competitively!

Any advice for other Professionals working in NYC?

– If you like to work hard and play hard, you’re in the right place.

– Be prepared to network a lot; many New Yorkers consider it a sport, so don’t be afraid of it.

– People talk about themselves differently in NY. I’m still getting used to it. Don’t be bashful about putting your best foot forward. If you’re looking for work and meeting someone (even if just over coffee), you’ll often times have 5 mins max. to make a good impression. And if the opportunity presents itself, which it often will, you had better know exactly what you want to ask them for.

– That said, ask for help; people really want you to succeed and will often jump through hoops for near-strangers.

What’s your favorite New York spot?

Central Park: Sheep meadow, the Great Lawn, the Mall, running the bridle path, the ramble, the reservoir, Central Park Zoo, the secret garden…

Anything you miss about Australia?

Lots! My family and friends. Being so far away from the farm, wine country, and the beaches. All the unique interpretations of food and wine. Local music, music festivals, and Triple J. Fish & chips at the beach. Blue skies, hot sun, endless space…

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?

Years ago I put together a guide with pages and pages of suggestions. I think my Top 3 still holds true:

  1. The 48-hour hop-on, hop-off bus tour. It might sound cliche, but its the best way to see/experience/explore the city in a short period of time.
  2. Explore Central Park. People are constantly surprised by how beautiful, interesting and zen it can be in an otherwise full-on city.
  3. Depending on what you’re into, either go see an American sporting event (baseball, hockey, football), eat the hot dogs and drink their “light beer” OR go see a performance at Lincoln Center (Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic). Quintessential New York.

What made you join the AWNY Committee? What value do you get out of the AWNY committee?? Would you recommend joining the committee to other Aussie Women??

To be fair, when I first moved to the US I was helping set up a company, travelling a tonne and determined to make the most of the adventure, which led me to meet mostly Americans. It wasn’t until around the time that my husband proposed, that I realised I wasn’t going home straight away and suddenly looked at my life here very differently.  I missed home and “my people” terribly, so when someone introduced me to AWNY I really felt like I’d found my place. Once my travel schedule slowed, I started showing up at events and soon thereafter joined the committee. It’s an inspiring collection of motivated and accomplished women that come together to create once-in-a-lifetime events, charitable work and social media initiatives for everyone to get involved with. There’s something for everyone in New York, and the same can be said for AWNY. If you’re looking to make a valuable contribution to an amazing community, the AWNY committee is the group for you!