22-year-old Shawnee native Fhionna Shaughnessy returns home to help community
After living in New York City for months, Shawnee resident and 22-year-old Fhionna Shaughnessy returned home and found her purpose in serving her community.
According to Shaughnessy, for the last three months she has been the account executive for Shawnee Forward.
"So what that entails is dealing with all of our members, which are local businesses, and kind of connect the dots for them and to bring people together," she said.
In February of 2021, Shaughnessy felt like she needed to return to her hometown from New York City.
"Whenever I came home I had a newfound love for where I'm from so whenever I saw this job opportunity was posted I knew I should apply," she said.
After an extensive interview process, Shaughnessy was hired and has loved every minute of her job.
She was born and raised in Shawnee, graduated from Shawnee High School and had every intention of attending Oklahoma State University.
"Something just came over me. I think (it was) the Lord and I just knew that I wasn't supposed to go there; I was supposed to use the money I had saved up to go and travel," she said.
So, in 2019, Shaughnessy moved to New York City, where she lived for six months before she felt like it was time to return home.
"I knew I needed to get a little more experience under my belt so I came back to Shawnee and I went to Oklahoma City Community College," Shaughnessy said.
She then returned to New York City after receiving her degree, but felt it was best to come home again.
"God was just calling me home. I just knew that I wasn't fulfilling my purpose in (NYC) and everything I wanted to accomplish," Shaughnessy said.
Had she not left, she feels she wouldn't have the appreciation for her hometown that she has or the passion for community involvement.
"What I love about my job is that I can be exactly who I am in my position and I bring people together and I am able to meet new people everyday," she said.
While she loves her job, Shaughnessy said it's not without its hardships.
"A big challenge I face, I think, (is) that a lot of people don't realize they can reach out to the community," she said.
She explained that she wants to spread awareness that people can help their community by utilizing resources, such as Shawnee Forward.
To spread this awareness, Shaughnessy visits with members of Shawnee Forward on how she can help and talks with new businesses about how they can use the organization to their benefit.
Shaughnessy is looking forward to helping more people in her community.
"I hope that more and more people are able to realize that they can get involved or people want to get involved and so I can't wait for the new wave of Shawnee," she said. "I just know that Shawnee is about to be an amazing place to live in and I am just so excited to be a part of it."