In just 24 months, Executive Director Shannon Jones has grown Groundwork Ohio’s statewide advocacy efforts into a national model for coalition building and policy success. Under Shannon’s trusted hand, Groundwork pioneered the Ohio Early Childhood Race and Rural Equity project by leading a thoughtful conversation across the state of Ohio on equity. Another achievement is her vision and leadership behind the Vote for Ohio Kids Campaign, a unique alliance between Groundwork and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association in partnership with business, healthcare, and early education leaders as well as child advocates from across the state to ensure Ohio’s new Governor prioritizes children’s early education and health. As a result of her successful efforts, Ohio is experiencing renewed interest in early childhood policies by its new chief executive.
Prior to joining Groundwork, Shannon served in the Ohio General Assembly for a decade as a state representative and a state senator, where she was chosen by her colleagues for key leadership posts in both chambers. She is the only woman in her party, and first in Ohio history, ever to achieve the distinction of election to the leadership teams in both chambers. Known as a leader who is willing to tackle the most difficult and complex issues, Shannon used her trusted influence to put kids at the top of the legislative agenda. Her efforts resulted in a renewed focus by the state on policies that support the health and educational opportunities of Ohio’s most vulnerable children. Shannon’s most significant legislative effort led to a statewide bipartisan mandate to improve Ohio’s abysmal infant mortality epidemic. Her passion helped catapult this health crisis into the public consciousness and as a result, created a uniform and streamlined process for investigating infant deaths, implemented a safe sleep education program and a policy to ensure safe places for newborns to sleep upon discharge from Ohio’s hospitals, and established the Commission on Infant Mortality. Shannon also co-chaired the first Commission, which culminated in a comprehensive law implementing the Commission’s substantive recommendations around evidence-based practices and the social determinants of health. This work has been praised by national experts in the field and has been emulated by other states as a model roadmap for improvement.
In 2008, Shannon was selected for the prestigious Rodel Fellowship by the Aspen Global Leadership Institute and remains one of only 300 public servants nationally to have achieved that honor. She remains active with this distinguished group of leaders by regularly participating in AspenRodel convenings. Shannon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and teaches Health Policy at the University of Dayton. She also currently serves as President of the Board of Warren County Commissioners and as a board member for the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and YWCA of Dayton.