Emmy-winning producer. Internationally acclaimed speaker. Award-winning author. Fearless humanitarian. UN liaison. Honduran Goodwill Ambassador.
Shannon has always known her highest sacred purpose: to travel the world, chronicling the innermost thoughts of indigenous wisdom keepers, heads of state, spiritual luminaries, contemporary thought leaders, and unsung heroes. She has dedicated her life to preserving the knowledge with which she’s been entrusted.
Shannon was born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, in November 1973. She spent the first 18 years of her life in Brantwood, a so-called impoverished community of 299 in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.
At the age of two, Shannon approached her mother with a pencil. “Teach me how to write,” she said. Within three months, Shannon was “making books”, and was shortly thereafter watching 60 MINUTES to learn how to “do the interviews”. She never left home without her little red suitcase with white stitching, and filled it with found objects she knew she’d need on her journey: lint-laced pocket change. Wilted dandelions. Avon products snatched from her grandmother’s trailer. Thankfully, Shannon was born to young Kerry “Butch” Kring, a lumberjack musician, and Sandra Kring, a future bestselling novelist. They didn’t question this, or her insistence that she had to practice traveling by airplane to Europe, the United Nations, and the tribes. Shannon didn’t know what these things were, only that going there was her job.
At five, Shannon wrote that if she ever abused her “power” as an adult, she’d “pull the plug” on herself. By now, Shannon was questioning whether her job was a blessing or a curse. She won her first national writing award three years later.
By 14, Shannon was snapping photos of and interviewing strangers that she sensed were nearing the end of their lives. At 16, she was taken under the wing of her first indigenous teacher. By 18, she had amassed an impressive library of audio interviews with people of all walks of life. Even in personal conversations, she scribbled notes she felt would one day be important.
Shannon attended Lakeland College, a liberal arts school in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. At the time, it was one of the most culturally diverse college per capita in the United States. Shannon financed her education through writing scholarships and awards. Working as the writing department’s lead tutor and teaching assistant. Serving as assistant editor of SEEMS literary magazine. Tutoring foreign students and executives at The English Language Institute.
Throughout her education, Shannon held 18 leadership positions, as well as off-campus community leadership roles. She was also editor-in-chief of THE LAKELAND MIRROR. This earned Shannon her first real airplane ride, to Philadelphia to collect an Associated Collegiate Press Award. Shannon graduated Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors, with BAs in Writing and Psychology.
By her early 30s, Shannon was at the helm of a culinary empire consisting of a national, Emmy-winning PBS series, award-winning cookbooks, acclaimed restaurants and culinary schools, a cookware line sold on QVC and at Macy’s, a culinary tour company, an international hospitality and PR consultancy, and lucrative sponsor and endorsement deals. And then life—or some would say Shannon herself—pulled the plug.
Ten years ago, Shannon embarked on a journey into the forbidden and the forgotten. She accepted invitations into ceremonies blessing the land. Rites immortalizing the living. Feasts summoning the dead.
Shannon’s unprecedented access to typically fiercely guarded groups and information enabled her to lift the veil on never-before-seen practices long shrouded in mystery and intrigue. During this time, she conducted and archived more than 3,500 interviews with luminaries in nearly 50 countries.
Shannon is especially grateful for having been welcomed into indigenous groups the world over. She is a trusted ally in giving voice to people who have none, and in preserving and promoting their heritage. Shannon is sometimes asked to conduct the last interviews of great tribal leaders. Especially as someone who looks like the people who have for generations marginalized and even demonized these groups, Shannon takes this as a great honor.
Shannon’s work as a documentary filmmaker and television producer has been presented by dozens of governments, and by leading institutions including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian, NASA, MIT, the British Museum, UNESCO, the National Museum of Finland, and many others. She has been featured on television and radio the world over, and in more than 300 print publications including THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, TIME, BON APPÉTIT, and VARIETY. She keynotes internationally, and is the award-winning author of five nonfiction books.
Today, Shannon knows on every level that she will never abuse any influence with which she is bestowed. She also knows that her calling is an honor, one that she will now fulfill to the highest level.
Shannon is a United Nations World Tourism Organization liaison and serves as Honduras’ Goodwill Ambassador. She works with the United Nations, US Department of State, USAID, United Nations Environment Programme, and many other global bodies on issues concerning marginalized members of society, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and cultural preservation. She has just finished the pilot for SACRED FOODS, her return to being in front of the camera. The forthcoming television documentary series is like its creator: a bridge between ancient teachings and modern life. It unlocks the secrets of temples and tombs, of lands and kitchens untouched by time. Shannon is in post-production on END OF THE LINE: THE WOMEN OF STANDING ROCK, a feature documentary about the indigenous women who have united to stop the oil pipeline construction that threatens their land, water, and very existence.