Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
It’s a perfect moment to be speaking with Maureen Shannon. The former associate general counsel of intellectual property at Rivian is ready for her next big challenge. Over the course of her in-house legal career, she helped rebrand the entire Rocket Mortgage portfolio from its former Quicken Loans identity.
At Rivian, Shannon helped build a global brand from just a handful of jurisdictions to over 180 around the globe and grew a portfolio of a handful of brand applications to over 5,000.
This past summer, Shannon spent quality time with her eight and eleven-year-olds, examining potential career opportunities, and enjoying the life and family she’s built. She’s written children’s books and sketched the artwork herself. It won’t always be like this, but it was a summer to refresh, energize, and identify the next in-house role that aligns with her personal values of solving problems for consumers while also doing good for the planet.
“Building programs is really my passion,” Shannon explains. “I love to be able to take that ten-thousand-foot view and utilize my ability to recognize patterns and frequencies, to provide guardrails and guidance, and educate and empower business partners.”
Whether it was through soccer, Irish dance, or orchestra in her youth, Shannon has always been attracted to unifying a group to achieve something bigger. It’s the desire for that kind of atmosphere that proved so unfulfilling in law firm life.
“I found life as an associate [to be] lacking the team dynamic or mentorship that I find myself drawn to,” Shannon explains. “I always want to find a way to raise all boats and teach and learn from other people. For me, I found life as an associate a pretty sharp elbows game. That’s just not who I am.”
The attorney already had examples of successful in-house practitioners in her family, people who found ways to successfully enable a broader business and steer an organization to a more profitable path. IP was an obvious choice for Shannon precisely because it’s at the heart of any successful enterprise.
“Being at the center of a company’s assets puts you right in the middle of the action,” Shannon explains. “That’s what excites me, and that’s why the right approach is so critical.”
She says approaching issues with inventors and engineers through the scientific method is vital to moving a company ahead. Shannon says he loves tweaking variables, examining options, and finding ways to get to a desired result. The scientific method allows Shannon and her colleagues to approach issues at a high intellectual level and in a way that extends beyond the theoretical.
“The scientific method allows you to make high-level decisions and do it in a way that makes everyone feel encouraged and excited,” Shannon explains. “It helps you take that Socratic method that you leave law school with and translate it to a team environment where the stakes are high.”
It might be marketing or engineering, but Shannon’s curious mind really seems to be her X-factor. But it’s her integrity that elevates that X-factor into a truly great leader. The lawyer says staying true to her internal compass, one focused on doing good for people and her planet, allows her to do her best and most impactful work. She wants to help companies think about going green, supply chain integrity, and improving and implementing changes that not only make a business stronger, but better.
And while Shannon is always ready to engage in a high-level discussion, she admits that her most lasting memories and moments from her work have come from the relationships she’s cultivated and grown over the years.
“My work has offered me the chance to make friends from colleagues and build a network of amazing people all around the world,” she reflects. “I believe strongly in building a strong community of people you can trust, mentor, and receive support from. Little connections can develop into something incredible. You have the opportunity to create friendship and water that garden anywhere you go.”
So, where is Maureen Shannon going next? She isn’t revealing that quite yet, but one gets the impression she’s got it handled. After basking in the theoretical, she knows how to put it into action.
The Energy Within
Maureen Shannon has already excelled in her career but is on a committed path to learning that her value as a person doesn’t require her to produce or make anything at all. The lawyer loves adventure (skydiving, for instance) and continually seeks out life-affirming adventures both solo and with her family, but it’s the work she’s doing internally that might be the most fulfilling.
Shannon is a Riki master teacher and has engaged in breathwork and energy practices to learn to relax, flow through emotions, and better understand herself and the world around her. “I really believe that happiness is a choice and even when tough circumstances arise, I still find hope in my resiliency and drive to keep moving forward,” Shannon says.