Growing to Give Co-founder, Siobhan Shaw, talks Crop Circles, Sustainable Agriculture, and her Goal of Feeding 1 Billion People.
Siobhan Shaw is unlike any other that we've met. Wit, charm and a big heart are the first few thoughts that come to mind when we think of our interactions with Siobhan these past few weeks. And what an honor it has been. Siobhan is pushing the conversation around sustainable agriculture and is doing simply amazing work through her organization, Growing to Give. We thoroughly enjoyed stepping into Siobhan's world for a moment in time, and we know you will too. Please, enjoy.
"I TURNED TO MY FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK FOR THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ME...THREE STOOD OUT. THESE THREE DESCRIPTORS ARE...THE FOUNDATION TO MY PERSONALITY. COMPASSIONATE, TENACIOUS, ENTERPRISING."
1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
When I asked for help with this from my partner in life, John, he immediately said, “On. Your. Side.” My first thought was that I’m fearless. But not when it comes to driving in a snowstorm or fog, walking down a dark street in any neighborhood, or the thought of parachuting out of a plane. Then I thought I’ll write down that I’m fierce. I can be when pushed to my limit, but mostly I’m the one to back down or find a way to calm the situation. To keep the alliteration going, fun could be a good descriptor but, although I’m often fun-loving, I have my momentary bursts of being mind-numbing boring! I turned to my friends on Facebook for three words. Out of all the words they used to describe me, three stood out. These three descriptors are woven into my psyche and stand as the foundation to my personality. Compassionate, tenacious, enterprising.
2. Tell us a bit about the work you do and why you chose that field.
Field? Do you already know me? I’ve been known to be outstanding in my field. At this point in my life, I’m a farmer, which encompasses being a farm and food security promoter. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. I was raised on a farm. Went on to college and had a varied career that encompassed my natural ability to make friends and my natural tendency to nurture and support others. Then I fell for an inventor. He invents sustainable agricultural products. Crop Circles aren’t just for aliens anymore. They grow food in less space using less of our world’s precious resources. Together, we recently founded a social impact enterprise called Growing to Give.
"OUR GOAL IS TO FEED 1 BILLION PEOPLE AND SAVE 1 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER...WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT BEING A FORCE FOR SOCIAL GOOD."
3. Any big plans or projects for 2020?
As 2020 has arrived, yes I have BIG plans. This year we build on the foundation we put into place over the past few years. This year we turn our philanthropic project, Growing to Give, into a non profit organization. In it’s infancy stage, it is making an incredible impact on food security. We are bringing together an incredible team of people, organizations and corporations. Our view for this organization is global and with collaborative partners around the world, our goal is to feed 1 Billion people and save 1 Billion gallons of water. We join other socially conscious people and organizations in abating the devastating effects of a changing climate. We are passionate about being a force for social good.
4. What advice would you give to your 15-year old self?
That hot pink mini dress with hot pink high heel pumps was a brave fashion move in a farming community, but girl you looked Sweet 16 for sure!
5. Best advice you ever received?
I had a phenomenal manager when I was in the life insurance business straight out of college. He had been from the same university and had been on the football team. Turns out he was my biggest cheerleader as I fumbled through the corporate world. I was initially successful, but quickly discovered the small town had never left me and I was never comfortable living in the big city. The only advice I have never forgotten was from him. One day, I was feeling beaten down by the negativity that came with selling life insurance and my sales numbers were on a downswing. He said, ‘Come on, let’s go for a walk around the block.” Happy to get out of the high-rise concrete building that was crushing my soul, I grabbed my jacket. As we walked, he was sharing stories and advice trying to motivate me to shake off the bad vibes and live up to my potential. It was hard to have hit your first brick wall and not be the office sales leader anymore. I’d come out of the gate running and like everyone else who tries anything, I got tripped up and it caught me off guard. As we rounded the corner and the Eaton’s department store came into view, he said to me, “ Just remember Siobhan, Eaton’s wasn’t built in a day.” To this day, I remember that moment and those attitude-shifting words. (Eaton’s was a huge department store in Canada that was a fashion hub. It’s where you went if you wanted good quality, fashionable clothes.)
6. Happiness is …?
Taking photos of nature, in particular, bees. I’ll be even happier when my Christmas present arrives. A microscope camera for my iPhone! Can you say a whole new perspective on the world?!
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Politics. Plain and simple, politics creates an atmosphere of hypocrisy and negativity. It draws people in and their worst traits are amplified. Sane people seemingly lose their minds and can’t think straight. It used to be a spectator sport, but it has inserted itself into the culture in a way that isn’t about advocating for a better life based on freedom of thought, but dividing our world based upon what one person thinks is a better way of life.
"MY MUM MAY HAVE FARMED ALL DAY, BUT SHE WOULD DRESS FOR DINNER. WE'D DINE AT A MAHOGANY DINING TABLE WITH SILVER AND CRYSTAL ADORNING IT. A HOLD OVER FROM A DIFFERENT ERA."
8. Describe your go-to style.
For comfort, it’s leggings and a long t-shirt with Skechers or flip flops. There’s no style involved, but it works with my lifestyle. On the farm, comfort reigns. Where I get to play with style is my head gear. I love hats, always have. Most look great on me. My collection of hats is growing much like our social mission is. What I wear when we travel, going to meet corporate types or attend an event, are tailored, stylish clothes that frame my tall, athletic silhouette. I love swing dresses and straight dresses with a belt slung low on my hips. I always feel well dressed with a great coat or jacket. I got a good sense of style from my parents. My mum may have farmed all day, but she would dress for dinner. We’d dine at a mahogany dining table with silver and crystal adorning it. A hold over from a different era. My dad had a great fashion sense and sense of color. He often went clothes shopping with me. He loved to dress well. I have childhood memories of watching him be measured for a new suit at his tailors. I think his coolest look came when he had a green velvet jacket made for Christmas one year!
9. You feel most beautiful when …?
John gives me the look reserved only for me. I feel beautiful inside and out.
"FASHION TO ME IS...A CONFIDENCE IN WHAT YOU WEAR THAT ONLY COMES WITH MATURITY...NOT BASED ON THE NUMBER OF YEARS YOU'VE LIVED, BUT THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU'VE SPENT GETTING TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE."
10. What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is an indication of where you are in life. A confidence in what you wear that only comes with maturity. A maturity not based on the number of years you’ve lived, but the amount of time you’ve spent getting to know who you are. That comes as a result of practicing awareness. Not based in ego, but in eagerness to become a part of creating a better world for each and every living being on this planet, from people to plants and everything in between. I used to have to walk out of the house with everything perfect from my toes to the tip of my head. Today, even makeup is an option, clothes not so much! No matter what you are wearing, if you believe in who you are, you can carry off any style and look beautiful doing it.
~ THE END ~
A little message to Siobhan from the Style Sonata team:
Siobhan –– It has been our distinct pleasure getting to know you and the important work you are doing through Growing to Give. You are an inspiration to us all, and we wish you the very best as you crush your goals for 2020 and beyond!