“I like hearing stories,” said Shannon Denny, Executive Committee member of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce Lakefront Career Network (LCN). “Pretty much wherever I go, I start talking to somebody.”
Whether it’s networking at an LCN event, representing her employer MonoSol Inc. at a packaging trade show, grabbing a bite at Panini, Panini, or waiting for an oil change, Denny is always ready to strike up conversation.
“I just like meeting people,” she said.
It’s what first brought her to Michigan City three years ago. A friend knew she was looking to connect with more vendors and invited her out to an LCN event. Since then, Denny has become an avid advocate for the city and everything it has to offer.
“People that are from [Michigan City] are really passionate about the area,” Denny said, explaining what eventually drew her and her daughter to move there a year ago.
“I like the people here,” Denny said. “It always seems like wherever you go, you see a familiar face.”
As part of her work on the LCN committee, she designs the flyers and creates social media campaigns that draw professionals out to their events. Once they arrive, she’s often the one making the rounds, facilitating introductions, and helping strong skill sets find a home.
She also helps to organize LCN’s annual Day of Giving, highlighting local service organizations. Each year they select a new group to emphasize, bringing in volunteers and resources from Comcast Cares to make needed improvements. This year they partnered with Reins of Life, a therapeutic horseback riding outfit in St. Joseph County.
“It makes me feel good that I’m helping get the word out about the area and letting people see the great things that are here,” Denny said.
LCN events have grown to become nexus points, weaving together different parts of her life. It was at one such event that she met Janet Bloch, Executive Director at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. Denny explained how she had entered and won a design contest sponsored by the Center years earlier, as part of her digital media production masters program at Valparaiso University.
She began volunteering more digital design work to help the Lubeznik board, and soon was invited to join them as a member. Shortly after she started recruiting others-- an accounting colleague from MonoSol Inc., where she works as Media and Communications Specialist, and her former art teacher from Chesterton High School.
When not serving on boards or creating new marketing opportunities for MonoSol Inc.’s innovative water-soluble film products, Denny enjoys hunting for beach glass along Lake Michigan with her daughter and girlfriend.
Inspired by the art of Michigan City’s Beach Bum Jewels, some of their findings have become jewelry, like the silver and teal ring gifted to her by her girlfriend. Other pieces become starting points for her mixed-medium found art paintings.
“It’s fun looking at the pieces you find to see what you can make it in to,” Denny said.
Denny calls her girlfriend Megan “the ambassador of Michigan City,” and credits her as a source of passion for the people and places of La Porte County. Megan grew up in the area and encouraged Denny to make the move there from Chesterton.
“She gets so excited about stuff,” Denny said. “She’s inspired me. She loves connecting people.” And she helps Denny see how important those connections can be.