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Speaking, writing, and working with teams and people to reach their potential are a part of my DNA. From triathlons to high mountains, the military cockpit to the boardroom, I thrive on helping people and teams set audacious goals, connect to purpose, and achieve success beyond their wildest dreams!


Hi there, and thanks for visiting!
I’m glad you’re here.

Speaking, writing and building strong teams for extraordinary results have been part of my DNA since leading our high school debate and forensics team and running the literary journal (when we still used scissors and glue!)… then heading to the swimming pool where I was team captain, and then home to practice piano, or head to an after-school job, or participate in the newly formed Youth Court. I thrive on seeing transformation happen and audacious goals set and achieved by high performance teams!

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At graduation I was commissioned as a 2LT in Army Aviation and became one of the first women to fly Apache helicopters, serving on three continents and leading two flight platoons and a line company.

In the midst of school and flying came skydiving, scuba diving, big-mountain climbing and long-course triathlons.



To turn all that into something practical, I earned my MBA at the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and led outstanding teams and worked with excellent people in the medical devices industry and technology.

I started an MDiv (part-time), and decided not to pursue it, returning to my love of words with an MFA in creative writing.


The Grit Factor Book by Shannon Huffman Polson

I take that experience in leadership and courage and devote my work to speaking, research and writing, as well as online and bespoke facilitated leadership journeys for leaders at The Grit Institute. Through keynotes, my books, and leadership journeys I work as a corporate partner to deliver my most important lessons over those years in the cockpit and the board room to organizations across the country.

These stories and lessons connect to the needs of audiences in every industry speaking about courage and transformation, leadership, creativity and grit, and how we can use storytelling with our teams and organizations to succeed in times of change, overcome resistance, and inspire and transform.

My writing wrestles with life by way of words to explore possibility.

After a family tragedy, I left the corporate world to write my first book North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey, and with that return to story, I never looked back.

The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the Most Male Dominated organization in the World, was published by Harvard Business Review Press in September 2020.

Current published and pending work is in non-fiction, both journalistic and creative, but a short story found its way into a veterans' short fiction anthology in 2017 called The Road Ahead and I've just started to submit poetry as well.


Outside of work, I'm passionate about working for the future of our local public library in our small mountain town in the North Cascades.

I sometimes show up to teach at our local schools as an artist-in-residence with Methow Arts. My husband and I are co-founders of Methow Episcopal, and our kids keep us busy, too.

Occasionally I procrastinate by failing to keep up with house cleaning, or giving in to other loves of reading, painting, classical choral performance, playing piano, and heading out in the mountains with the greatest adventure of my life, my husband Peter and two young boys (sometime our dog Bonnie comes, too).

P.S. Details at LinkedIn are here.


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