Each week, #SpanningtheNeed will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is Shon Christy from Shon Christy Social Media.
Name: Shon Christy
Organization Shon Christy Social Media
Shon also boasts over 20 years of marketing experience and is the Founder of Shon Christy Social Media and Fractional Social Pro (Ohio’s First Niche Fractional Social Media Company). In 2010 he opened Christy Creative, Ohio’s first niche social media marketing firm, and has founded and sold two firms since. Shon has worked with over 800 companies internally over the last 13 years. His work has been featured in Inside Business, Smart Business, the Akron Beacon Journal, Spirit of Philanthropy and The Young Professional Roadmap, as well as in the book Under the Rustbelt – Revealing Innovation in Northeast Ohio. Ever the entrepreneur, Christy has even launched Beckett’s Buddies, a fundraising group to support those with Down syndrome, in honor of his 13 year-old son Beckett. The organization has raised more than $100,000 for local causes since inception.
As mentioned above, Shon has a rich history steeped in philanthropy. He regularly donates a portion of his company revenues to the Up Side of Downs, a nonprofit advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome in NE Ohio. He is a past president of The Rotary Club of Akron, and has served as the Chili Open co-chairman, PR chairman and President-Elect. Additionally, Shon has served on the Board of United Disability Services, The Stow-Munroe Falls Library Foundation, The LuMind Foundation (Down syndrome cognition research), The Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, The Greater Akron Chamber as an Executive Board Member (Small Business Council Chairman), Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Summit County, where he was also the past Young Leaders Society Chairman. Shon is a member and Vice President of the 31st class of Leadership Akron and serves on the boards of the Leadership Ohio where he has been Vice President and is the current President, Jobs For Ohio’s Graduates, The University of Akron College of Business Marketing Advisory Board, and a second term Vice Regent on the National Board of Directors of Sigma Nu Fraternity. He is also a 5 term and current president of The Stow Schools Foundation.
Shon has been bestowed with the Greater Akron Small Business Councils Excellence in Business – Emerging Business Award, the Distinguished Sales and Marketing Executive Award from SMEI, and the Summit County Pinnacle Awards – Andrea R. Teodosio Rising Star Award. In 2012, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network recognized Shon with the 30 For the Future Award for his community service and business leadership. Additionally, Shon has been honored with the 2015 Young Philanthropist Award by the United Way of Summit County, the 2016 Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities Community Impact Award, the 2017 JOG Community Leader of the Year Award, and the 2022 Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber Elite Awards Business Leader of the Year.
What made you want to go into this field?
I saw an opportunity when the technology came out while I was doing my Masters degree at The University of Akron. There was some usage by companies but no niche agencies that were doing solely social media work so I decided to go all in and be the first.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Curiosity! There was no roadmap when we got started so I just kept trying new things and sharing the successes and failing forward when things didn’t work out as planned.
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
I wish that I would have searched out a business mentor when I launched my first business. I think I would have been able to ramp up faster and could have eliminated other mistakes during my growth phase.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
The hardest decision that I had to make was to start. I quit my job to and pulled out my 401k and my savings to start in a field that had no track record or promise of success. Leaving the comfort of a salary with small children to take a big risk was one of the hardest I have made, but also the very best decision.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
I wouldn’t do anything differently. I believe everything that I did put me exactly where I needed to be. I absolutely love where I am today as a result of those steps!
What inspires you to do good in our community?
I draw inspiration from the people that have given so much to the community before me. For those of us that are able, I think we have an obligation to do the same for the next generation since we have already benefited from the generosity of others.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
I love the opportunity to leave things better than I found them. I also think its important for us to model the way. My 6 children have participated in service with me and now my older girls have been very involved in volunteerism at their schools.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
Started from the bottom – Drake
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
I would say my best accomplishment is being an entrepreneur and raising a large family at the same time. You can really have it all!
Who is your role model and Why?
My dad was a great role model. I learned work ethic, family first attitude, and loved his outgoing personality helping anyone he could. He would literally give the shirt off his back. He has inspired me to work hard for the things I want, to do whatever I can to help my family and to help others.
If there was one person that you would like to meet, past or present and why?
As a social media professional I would love to meet Mark Zuckerberg and learn more about the history of Meta (Facebook) and talk about the future in the Metaverse!
A favorite quote that you live by?
Be the Change You Wish To See In The World – Ghandi