Meet the ReadyForZero Team: Shannon

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At ReadyForZero we strive to always be available and accountable to our users. That’s why we personally respond to every e-mail that’s sent to our support inbox and why we have our pictures on the About page. Now we’re sharing our stories here so you can get to know the fun and diverse people that are working hard everyday to make ReadyForZero better. We hope you enjoy these interviews – and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Our next interview is with Shannon McNay, our community leader and support manager. Shannon is a passionate Bengals fan, coffee fanatic, and organizational wizard. An innovator in personalized inspiration and motivation, she’s always at the ready to help and support our readers. Read on to learn more about Shannon!

What were you doing before ReadyForZero and what brought you here? I was working in New York and writing on the side. Matt, my now-husband then-boyfriend, informally interviewed with Nacho at a coffee shop in New York, but he didn’t know the right programming language. He then mentioned, “By the way, my girlfriend used to be a banker and she’s also a writer so you guys should talk to her.” I started freelance writing for RFZ and six months later we moved to San Francisco. Once I got here I spent a month working for another start up and then found out that ReadyForZero was hiring for an intern. So, I decided to give it a try!

Was there anything in particular that inspired you to leave what you were doing besides your interest in ReadyForZero?
Mainly I wanted to get away from the craziness of New York. I moved to New York to become a writer but life got so busy there and it’s so easy to get swept up in the madness that I wasn’t able to focus on my writing as much as I wanted to. I thought it would be a good idea to move somewhere that’s a little bit slower paced so that I could focus more on that. I also always said growing up that I wanted to live in New York but that I had to live on both coasts before I ultimately settled down, so I needed to give California a try.

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Shannon’s always looking for ways to connect with our users… including hand-written thank you cards!

What has been your most gratifying moment here at ReadyForZero? I have a lot because of my role in community building and customer service. Every time somebody says we’ve been helpful to them or every time we do a success profile I get re-energized about our work. Even when people have a complaint, they still often end the email with something like, “You guys are changing my life,” which is pretty awesome! Then, as a personal plus, one of my blog posts ran in Huffington Post, which was pretty exciting.

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What are you excited about for the future of ReadyForZero?
Just getting in front of more people and helping more people. I think right now we’ve done a good job of getting in front of people who are very tech savvy and early adopters. But we’re becoming more mainstream and I would like for us to be a household name so that anyone struggling with debt knows that we’re an option. The tool we provide is directly relevant to most people’s lives!

Has ReadyForZero impacted any other part of your life?
Besides helping people organize and payoff their debt, working for this company has changed my life completely. I was a very task-driven person working on Wall Street and all I heard all day was credentials. “This person went to Harvard then they got their masters in London in economics,” and this and that. Everything came down to what was behind your name or what was on your resume. It put me into a really insecure place where I thought, “Who am I? I’ll never amount to anything unless I can get published or get these credentials.”

Whereas once I was given the reins to try new things at ReadyForZero my creativity just exploded. I didn’t even know that I had that much creativity until given the opportunity! I was scared, but it forced me to grow really fast and made me realize I could do a lot more than I ever realized. Now I can’t even believe it when I think of who I was two years ago. Not only is our company really great for other people, but working with Rod and Nacho and everybody here has just allowed me to grow and become somebody I never knew I could be.

If you could have anything or extra luxury at the ReadyForZero office what would it be? Our own barista/coffee shop and a yoga studio!

That makes sense since you’re such a coffee expert! Did you always love coffee? Oh yes. In fact, the person who introduced me and my husband was a barista at our favorite coffee shop in New York. He kind of schooled us on all the coffee details, like what the temperature has to be, when you pour, and how you pour. It’s an art that I’d love to learn!

What’s your favorite coffee place in New York City?
Ost Cafe. It’s the place where I used to do all my writing. It’s where I met Matt. Matt and I even had a cup of coffee there right before we got married. It’s so special because New York is a huge, crazy city and it’s in the East Village which is its own sort of small town environment.

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Oh, just meeting up at Ost before the big wedding day….it’s also where Matt proposed!

And now that you live in the Bay Area, your favorite place in San Francisco? I’m still trying to find my Ost here, actually. Right now I’m really liking Workshop Coffee a lot. I think it’s a great place. It’s cool because they’re welcoming to entrepreneurs and people to sit and work and I think that’s a nice environment.

So you’re definitely a coffee fan but are you a die-hard fan of sports or a specific sports team?
I love football. I’m a die-hard Cincinnati Bengals fan. And Matt’s a Jets fan which is very rough on our marriage. Basically, the world makes fun of us, that’s how it works out.

Alright, time for a few quick-fire questions… ready?
Always.

Preferred method of travel: plane, train, or automobile?
Plane. It’s just more efficient.

Do you have a thing that you always take with you when you travel?
A book, a legal pad, and a pen.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Harry Potter, a book on World War II called The Nightmare Years, and Infinite Jest. I keep going back and forth.

What’s your favorite ice cream?
It’s called Graeter’s ice cream and it’s famous in Cincinnati. They make mocha chip which is really delicious and the chocolate chips are huge. It’s French pot coffee ice cream so it’s really rich. And now they have it at Whole Foods so I can get it here!

Speaking of ice, do you prefer skiing or snowboarding?
Neither. Going to the beach.

So then if you could visit Hawaii or Alaska…?
Hawaii. Definitely.

Biggest irrational fear?
An earthquake. We’re in California!

Bagel or doughnut?
Bagel.

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She may be a meerkat but she’s definitely hanging out with dogs whenever she can.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs for sure.

If you were an animal what animal would you be?
I would be a meerkat.

Because you’re always on the look out?
Yep ;).

So happy to have Shannon as a part of our ReadyForZero team! 

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  • http://innovatebig.com Rod Ebrahimi

    Great interview. Shannon has thousands of fans here, she’s very good at what she does!

    • Claire Murdough

      We need an *official* Shannon fan club!

      • Shannon_ReadyForZero

        Lol not necessary :P.

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks!

  • bookishheather

    Where was the photo at the top of the article taken? Between the two bikes in the shot and the Stumptown window sticker, I’m having a hard time convincing myself she’s not in Portland.

    • Claire Murdough

      It’s in downtown San Francisco :)

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      I wish it was Portland ;).

  • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

    Great interview! Love the coffee shop theme and photos!

    • Shannon_ReadyForZero

      Thanks Ben!

    • Claire Murdough

      Also important to note that the coffee theme is a very important part of the RFZ culture. McNay coffee hour on Friday afternoons will always be a winner!!