20 Questions: Shonette Sullivan
Many might know Shonette Sullivan of Simpsonville through her activism at Bethlehem Baptist Church, but to her four children — Destiny, 14, Michah, 13, Leighton, 6, and Asher, 2 — she’s simply Mom. This busy mother is also a financial analyst for TD Bank and a small-business owner of The Shekinah Group LLC, which offers professional financial services. She is married to Lamont Sullivan, a youth ministry director at Bethlehem Baptist Church and the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate. The couple recently launched the church’s first annual Children’s Weekend, for which Shonette is serving as committee chairperson.
1. What’s the funniest thing one of your kids has ever done?
The funniest thing one of my kids has ever done is hide chicken nuggets in her pocket because she couldn’t finish them at lunch. She put them in her cubby and pulled them out when we picked her up.
2. What qualities do you most admire in others?
I admire determination, integrity, decision-making, persistence and consistency.
3. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Walking miles with my sister and brother during the summers to eat at a summer feeding program. We didn’t care how far it was or how hot it was. We didn’t even know how long it took for us to get there. We just started walking at the same time every day and most often would get there just in time to eat.
4. What’s your favorite food?
I have a few favorites but breakfast, a home-cooked meal and pizza are at the top of the list.
5. What’s your greatest challenge as a working mom?
Finding balance between work, family and making personal time for myself.
6. What advice do you have for other working moms?
Be sure to make time for your children. Leave work in the office and cherish every moment that you have with them. Work can wait but your children will continue grow and change. Do not be hard on yourself because no one has all of the answers to motherhood. Do not compare your children to other children because it diminishes who they are. Do not compare yourself to other mothers because each mother has her own journey.
7. Where’s the best place to take the kids in the Upstate?
My oldest daughter would say downtown Greenville because they can walk through the park and enjoy ice cream from a variety of places. My youngest daughter would say Chuck E. Cheese, of course.
8. What is your favorite TV show?
“It’s A Mann’s World.” It is a clean reality show that the entire family can watch.
9. When you were younger, what did you want to be?
10. What are your hobbies?
I love singing, listening to audio books on personal and professional development, and planning events.
11. What is something important life has taught you?
To live in the present moment. If you are always striving for the next big thing or major achievement, you will miss the joy of the milestones along the way and you will never be satisfied or fulfilled.
12. What is your favorite family ritual?
Every morning when we leave for the day and every night before we go to bed, we all make sure that we tell each other that we love each other. We also make sure to ask each person how their day has been. This opens the door to so many different conversations.
13. What always makes you laugh?
My children always make me laugh. There is never a dull moment in our home.
14. What would surprise people about you?
That I am a humorous person. That is the side of me that my family and close friends know.
15. What has surprised you most about being a parent?
That the seasons of parenting change in each stage of their lives. Each stage requires adjustment for both you and your children. You never have it all figured out and have to pray each step of the way.
16. Whom do you most admire?
My mother. She passed away when I was 14 years old but I will always remember her courage and strength.
17. Early bird or night owl?
I am a combination of both, if that makes sense. I stay up late and rise early. Right now, I am focusing on going to bed earlier so I can be more rested. I’m finding that rest plays an integral part in allowing you to be the best you can be for yourself and your family.
18. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?
If I could have dinner with anyone, I would choose Tyler Perry.
19. What book do you most recommend to others?
“Power Thoughts” by Joyce Meyer.
20. What is the best gift parents can give their child?
Quality time and unconditional love.