A Connecticut transplant, Shannon Jost considers Wilmington her true home. Because of her work with Leadership Delaware and Urban Bike Project, she is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read more about her story below.
“I am a native of Stamford, Connecticut but consider Delaware my home. I started as an Admissions Counselor at Ferrum College in Virginia which is also my Alma Mater. There I obtained my B.S. Degree in Recreation Leadership (the underwater basket weaver course was one of my favorites.) I was an all-conference, all-state, and all-regional softball player, and in 2016 was inducted into Ferrum College’s Sports Hall of Fame. After my time at Ferrum, I dedicated myself to being a stay-at-home mother for six years with my two children (Connor and Madeline). Upon my return to the workforce, I accepted a position at MacIntosh Engineering (in downtown Wilmington) as an Administrative Assistant, where my love for the city began.
I currently work at Wilmington University as a Work-Integrated Learning Specialist, where I work directly with the Co-Operative Education and Internship program.
I love living in the city for the access to restaurants, parks, bike trails, events, and exploring different parts of the city. Being able to walk out my door and having any one of these options within walking/biking distance is exciting. There are weeks that my car never moves!
From the green spaces to the cultural events, the city really does have a lot of offer. I often find myself in places in the city and think, “Wow this is where I live, go Wilmington!” We all just need to make a little effort to be a part of it. The Riverfront is probably one of my favorite places in the city, it has everything. The riverwalk is amazing with food, putt-putt golf, and the views! I love riding my bike on the Jack A. Markell Trail it’s the JAM! The trail extends all the way into old New Castle and it’s a beautiful ride. It’s sometimes hard to believe that it’s in my own backyard.
One of my favorite events is the Wilmington Grand Prix. It’s a professional bicycle race that is part of the USA Cycling National Race calendar. By far my favorite part of this event is the time trials on Monkey Hill with it’s family friendly, festival-like atmosphere. Events like this generate a huge economic impact on our local economy and a great way to introduce people to our city.
Living in the city has been able to help strengthen my love of community and has given me experiences that have helped me to grow as a human, mother and friend. I love the ease of connecting with complete strangers and finding our common ground, which is usually something or someone in the state (think Kevin Bacon and six degrees of separation, only in Delaware it’s three degrees!)
I was a big sister in the Big Brother, Big Sister Program for two years and created and still host ‘Dewey Dunks’, a fundraiser at the Starboard Restaurant in Dewey Beach every August to help raise money to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. I also had the honor to be a 2013 Fellow of Leadership Delaware. During the ten month program I really learned the things that make Delaware so unique (besides the people). The personal pride and love I had for Delaware only grew stronger along with the personal and professional connects that I made.
I served for six years on the board for Urban Bike Project, which is a community bike shop in the city. Watching the Urban Bike Project flourish was one of my proudest moments of being in the city. It was an honor to be involved to watch this grass roots organization work so hard to grow and develop to where they are today.
It was exciting to partner with the city and the Mayor’s office. They have always been so supportive of the organization (as they are with many nonprofits in the city) and watching that partnership grow was so encouraging and made me proud to be a Wilmingtonian. Side note: Want to get to know the city, explore it on a bicycle!
I am currently concerned about employment opportunities in the city. We need to attract and keep business here from, big to small, so our community members can live and work in the city.
I am hopeful that our city will continue to strive to grow, create and innovate. I’m excited to see what is next. It makes me think about the movie Field of Dreams: ‘If you build it and they will come.’
To those who live in Wilmington or are looking to visit: explore the city, get involved. Take yourself out of your comfort zone you never know what it may lead to. I try to attend a new event/experience each month in the city. The Art Loop is one of my favorite events and it’s free! Volunteering is also a great way to get involved! There are so many organizations that would love the help. Align it with a passion you have. Don’t have a passion? Well, what better way to find one then by getting yourself out there!”