Hello all, I'm a Program Director at the Green Burial Council's, a non-profit organization focused on environmental sustainability in the deathcare industry. In addition, I'm the founder and president of a non-profit, consumer advocacy organization (FCA of Southern California). I left my career in the biotech industry 3.5 years ago. I'd love to chat with anyone starting a non-profit.
Shannon Shoup escaped the biotechnology industry to set up a funeral consumer advocacy non-profit and to oversee compliance of green burials.
I would be happy to talk with anyone who has similar interests or backgrounds. The http://fcasocal.org" rel="nofollow">FCA of Southern California and the Green Burial Council can always use volunteers too!
Currently, I am in the process of forming an all-volunteer, non-profit funeral consumer advocacy http://fcasocal.org" rel="nofollow">organization for Southern California. Most of my time is spent organizing individuals to serve in various roles in the organization and conducting research to create a knowledge base that will benefit members. Our mission is to promote and protect a consumer's right to choose meaningful, personalized, and affordable end-of-life arrangements through research, education, and community outreach.
In addition, I am a hospice volunteer and work with patients once a week. This is where my interest in consumer advocacy originated.
I also serve as the burial ground compliance officer for the Green Burial Council (GBC). The GBC is a non-profit eco-certification organization that advocates for eco-friendly end-of-life rituals and uses burial as a way to acquire, restore, and steward natural areas.
Before this I worked at a large biotechnology company, Amgen. Amgen creates and markets medicines. My education is in cellular biology and regulatory science. While at Amgen, I worked in the areas of research, project management and strategic operations, and regulatory affairs, including emerging markets.
I decided I needed a change because the company had grown into a very large corporation (the largest biotech company in the world) and for me had lost its way as the need to create shareholder value became paramount. I began working on medicines that I didn't feel were going to be a huge benefit to patients and I started to question how I was spending my life.
Honestly, I never thought I would be doing what I'm doing. Looking back, I can see I've always had a fascination with death and dying, but because I didn't want to work in the medical field or as a therapist, I didn't really think much about it.
When I left Amgen, I began doing hospice volunteer work. While doing this work I realized that facing our mortality head-on and with courage provides an opportunity to live life more fully and to ultimately have a more peaceful death. Then, I saw how our avoidance of the topic results in a distorted way of dealing with end-of-life issues that neither benefits us individually or our environment.
So, in summary, no one real moment of truth, other than while I was at Amgen I had a nagging sense I wasn't doing what I was meant to be doing and was generally unfulfilled.
While I was working, we saved money which allowed a lot of flexibility.
The best aspects of this adventure have been the rewards that come with trusting yourself and taking risks. I've also discovered the indescribable feelings of fulfilment that come from helping others out of love and compassion. For me, there is nothing like it and I often have a sense that the only true way to help yourself is to help others, and that makes life beautiful and fulfilling for me.
The worst parts have been those times when self-doubt and fear have crept in. Those two feelings will suck the life out of you if you give them any power.
Be fully invested in what you’re doing but detached from the results.
This has kept me in the moment, which I find to be freeing, and allows me to focus on the task at hand. The second I start to worry about the outcome or results I lose focus and energy and can see myself tempted to make decisions based on fear.
Also, to work from a place of compassion and understanding - always try to make life better for others.