Leading Lady Shannon Bernard

About This Episode

March is our favorite time of year here at Local Leaders the Podcast. March is National Women in History Month and each year we select five ladies from Livingston Parish Louisiana to represent Local Leaders: The Podcast as “Leading Ladies”. Our first of five (no particular order) is Mrs. Shannon Bernard. When Mrs. Bernard is not helping others financially through her role as a Regional Vice President at Primerica, she is doing what leaders do…Giving back to her community in droves!

We are excited and honored to present our very first Leading Lady for 2022!

Primerica Shannon Bernard on the web:

Transcript (Beta)

hi this is crystal hardison from southeastern livingston center i’m the director and you are listening to local leaders the podcast hey everyone it’s jim chapman with local leaders of the podcast and i want to make you aware of a fantastic deal they have going on right now at fit body boot camp in denham springs louisiana if you go to the link get fit denim springs dot com slash local leaders you can get thirty dollars off of the regular price of a hundred and twenty nine dollars for thirty days of classes go to the link click it sign up 30 day classes for only 99 through that link it’s a special deal offered to all of our listeners at local leaders the podcast

hey everyone and welcome back to another edition of local leaders the podcast and today sitting across me i have a very special lady everybody around here knows her and if you don’t you’re living under a rock in all likelihood miss shannon bernard regional vice president of prime america how are you i’m doing great thanks jim i’m honored to have you sitting in front of me today i’ve been wanting to get you on here for a while uh you’re married to of course steve bernard and he has always told me you really need to get my wife on your show how long have you been married to steve we will be married 31 years in june 31 years and so we also have an award for that and we’ll be giving you that after the show as well just kidding and you have two children chase and bella that’s right tell us a little bit about them well chase is uh 26 yep works for us uh for steve at client technology services yes and is very involved as an actor as well yes he is and has great hair i’ll add he has wonderful hair from a bald guy that’s a compliment so he’s very talented and um and a great great young man yes and bella of course is uh much younger she’s 12 almost 13 in the seventh grade at west side okay yeah and is involved in just about everything everything you know your whole family’s involved in a lot of things and uh which is very important i think these days that you keep obviously kids involved in in things and and adults as well and and something that in some aspects may be missing from communities but you y’all do a great job uh and i have met chase several times uh being i he’s in a bni uh livingston leaders and uh and really just a very mannerly young man so uh y’all did a good job he was trained well yes yes indeed so let’s talk about community a little bit that’s the first thing that stood out when i kind of looked over your questionnaire that i sent you and you’re about as active in the community as anyone i’ve ever come across uh you and steve both really y’all are both very active first you’re not only a member of the livingston paris chamber but since 2007 you’ve served on its board of directors and i want to kind of uh i’m going to say kind of a mouthful here but you’ve served as the education chairperson since 2010 in 2013 you were the chair lady i guess i would call it uh of the board so my question here is two part uh first how valuable has it been to you personally to serve on these boards amongst your peers in business from an education standpoint and second how much emphasis would you put on the importance of business people supporting their local chamber in general and april wares did not ask me to ask you any of that i came up with that on my own well here’s my chamber of commerce story um i had been in business since um let’s see 92 got married 91 started with primerica in 92 and i i feel like i did i did everything i needed to do was working my business the right way but at one point i wanted to i decided i wanted to expand chase at that time i only had one child he was in junior high he was he was active but pretty much took care of himself and i thought this is the time to expand and do more business in my community so the first place i looked was uh to the chamber of commerce i joined the livingston parish chamber of commerce which is one of the uh the best organizations to to join to build your business and to get involved in your community which i’ve done both of those so that was my my reason um fell in love with the the people that you meet and get involved with and immediately um you can you can join the chamber and it’s a huge benefit for your for your business just being a member there’s a lot of advocacy that goes along with the chamber but i’m one of these that likes to get very involved so i found the education uh committee that was a great fit for me and i i was on every committee the year that i was the chairman so got a taste got a taste of everything enjoyed the governmental affairs and legislature committee stayed on that one and a couple of others so it’s it’s been very rewarding i build relationships for a living so that’s how i do business yes yes and probably the best in my humble opinion the best way you can do business absolutely is a relationship i spent a lot of years uh in the paint sales world and the one thing that people couldn’t get from anybody else was me and i used to tell them that all the time uh you know the relationship that you build uh to me you’re kind of building loyalty as well when and if you take care of your customers they take care of you and that type of thing so very good and you mentioned committees you’ve also served on various committees throughout your i guess tenure at the chamber whatever you want to call it uh education ambassador government which you mentioned events even executive committees i look at those who serve on committees as a good way for our leaders to kind of give back right they’re you know they’re not getting paid technically to serve on these committees they do it out of out of the goodness of their heart and because maybe they want to learn more about uh dealing with others working with their peers those sorts of things now how important would you say giving back is to leadership well i i think in order to get you should give and that it’s it’s makes it more natural and that’s what i was looking for in building my business i wanted it to be very natural i love to serve i love to give i love to be involved and so naturally the business comes to me yeah i i i want to make an impact on my community i was a teacher for a few years yeah and that’s what led me to help with the education committee i’m very aware of what goes on in the school system and where a lot of the needs are and want to make an impact and this was a great way to do that 100 and you’re also a graduate of the inaugural class of leadership livingston um some of the grads for people and i’ll tell you this inaugural class i researched it after i saw you were a graduate and uh just right off the bat leighton rex parish president jason orr the sheriff uh derek babcock very active in politics kim sanders another active uh chamber member april where’s the ceo of the chamber jerry denton the judge bobby font the former mayor walker um shelby carnahan famous world famous you’ll love i’m saying the cpa and of course shannon bernard amongst several others from that amazing class i mean that you know i was the 2020 class uh which i would say was an amazing class steve would say 2016 was the best class as he always tells me 2013 or 2013 yeah yeah um so there’s a lot of classes in leadership livingston and probably all of them are just amazing i’m sure um first of all what was your experience like in leadership livingston and what did your group do as a community project we were um the very first class so i was there when the uh and of course i was on the board at the time so i got to see the the building of the leadership program which was very interesting april had a vision and i i got to see a lot of that vision from the outset our team our our group did a project with mighty moms and at the time mighty moms needed some assistance with um awareness visibility so we we put barrels out around the parish and uh did a lot of work with their website i think that we had some very technical people on our team and um we just hands-on activity putting barrels out taking up donations and helping them get the word out very good and of course mighty mom’s a wonderful charity uh local right here to livingston parish we shout them out as as often as possible just great people over there uh so leadership livingston also and i concur for me it it it was an opportunity to work with my peers and and people in the community that were like-minded in a lot of uh situations as myself and uh and in the end it wasn’t just about maybe learning how to be a better leader which you did but it was also about giving back which um you know when you’re an old sales guy like me and you spend all these years and you always want to hit that number one you know and and uh and there’s nothing wrong with that but sometimes you need some balance with what you’re giving back to your community as as you’re taking from and and that was something for me that i learned from that class and it was i had a very positive influence on my life in a lot of ways it was nice to have something to work on together yes and uh and we’re still really proud of what we were able to do and and uh i love a fit body where i work out is taking up

macaroni and cheese for mighty moms and i think you know we’ve had a part of that my church takes up donations and they were introduced to mighty moms back when i was on the leadership livingston uh team yes yes and just a great organization you’re right fit body boot camp who’s the sponsor of the show uh very good people over there and uh you go to the early classes i’m sure yeah definitely don’t you’re not there

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um so continuing on your community and your service uh you volunteer your amazing talent that you have with the piano in different ways and first first question i have is how did you end up playing the piano tell me kind of tell me that story i was very young and i remember um you know in church watching someone play the piano i i don’t remember my first exposure but my mother wishes she had played the piano so for my seventh birthday i had been asking for a piano probably for uh a year or two i even remember a girl in my first grade class getting some kind of award for for playing in a piano contest so i came home my seventh birthday from school and there’s a piano so my mother made sure that i knew how to play piano her goal was so i could play in church yes and i did but i also went to college and majored in piano performance really yes okay so first of all in education and then performance i also got a master’s in pedagogy which is teaching okay and i always assumed i’d open a music school some something uh to do with music yeah ended up getting out and going back to school and getting certified to teach so i taught high school music but my my instrument was always piano yeah so very good can you play any other instruments or is it i had played in band so i was in the walker high band way before it was the band of legacy come on 30 30 people in our band they have an amazing

oh they really are and and that’s from a denim springs guys shout out walker wildcat bands y’all are y’all are my kids are in the bands yeah i love that i’ve been able to raise them with music chase uh i talked about him acting yes there were you know he had he played the piano i say he had to play the piano because they’re my kids sure he was in a couple of uh productions and they of course had to have somebody that could sing and somebody that could play and of course he gets the parts i said you know it pays off it really does yeah and hard work too you know it’s uh centers my daughter plays the flute and uh is a i heard her at the symphony she miss shannon i can’t tell you how much she loves it it it’s uh and it’s funny because my wife never played the flute i i played the trumpet in middle school but when i was in high school i had to pick either that or football and i picked football but i wish i would have picked trumpet i really do um well i was going to ask you this question later but since we’re on the subject i’m going to ask it now one of the things that i personally find missing from this community and it was important to me that i get your take on this is there is not a perform a true performing arts building here in livingston parish it’s something that uh i’m currently doing a ton of research on i would love to see this i think that not only your bands but your actors and actresses your choirs which you’re active in those sorts of things a true sound friendly building a gym is nice but it is very echoey it’s it’s no it’s not yeah i’m trying to be somewhat correct but but uh i in the way i experienced this and got this thought was southeastern has a a building and i forget the name of it now but my daughter has played in it several columbia theater now it’s uh um it’s something hall i know that doesn’t tell you anything but it’s it’s southeastern older building and oh yeah um i can’t think of the name of it but it is it’s sound friendly very sound friendly and there is a huge difference in that sound when you’re listening to it um choirs i would imagine would be the same way do you see a need for that yes yes i just had a conversation with someone about this and they’re in the music community piano recitals choir concerts right now we all drive to um watson we go to live oak methodist church we have our chorale concerts this is livingston parish children’s choir i’m the i’m on the board there as well and my daughter’s in that choir there is nowhere in livingston parish where we can have we just did a performance for the choir and we had it out at the green barn which was fun it fit was medieval yes fundraiser yes but there needs to be somewhere where we can have performances all right sound friendly and uh performing arts friendly i agree and and that’s something that uh i want to see that before you get together on that yeah we definitely do hey y’all there’s nothing that frustrates this podcaster more than when i have i.t problems and when i have it problems i call client tech services what makes them different they don’t want you to need them every day they work diligently to ensure that the technology you rely on to run your business is secure up to date running smoothly and helping you succeed in a perfect world that will mean that no server ever crashed no virus ever downloaded and no hardware ever fell but let’s face it these things happen and when they do i make client tech services the first call i make so give them a call today if you’re having it problems at 225-572-2111

or check them out on the web at client dash tech dot com that’s c l i e n t dash t e c h com clientech services they make their competitors fish food and their proud sponsors of local leaders the podcast music in general it’s something that you’ve had a love for since you were very very young and and uh and so that’s something that yeah we definitely need to talk about later uh but very good piano you know i would love to to uh to go hear you at your church play the piano one day um you play for your church you volunteer that’s actually i do play some but you know everything is a little bit more technologically advanced so that’s moving on to the next generation so uh you’ll have to hear me somewhere else alrighty then i wanted to mention you are also an emergency foster parent yes so tell me what that is um i originally got involved with foster care uh as a respite and emergency uh foster care parent and it was to be uh because i just assumed i was done with having children yes as you know i adopted my daughter so that’s the end of the story but to go back to how that happened i wanted to be able to help but at that time my business had taken off i thought i had not a lot of time but i knew i could take care of a child for a short period of time and what what uh that involves is being available short notice sometimes in the middle of the night there’s a need livingston parish has a huge need still for foster parents and it can be the emergency care the respite care i took care we take took care of a little boy for a week while the family went on vacation but he he was not able to go and he he thought he thought he was having birthday parties he had a vacation at our house yeah and so we did things like that i did have a couple of very short-term but emergency cases while they found someone that could take the cases for a longer period of time that’s what the emergency and respite care involves uh but foster care in general uh there’s a huge need yeah and that’s why i have my daughter you know i i was i got the call one afternoon about uh a baby and i i gave the the same answer was i just don’t know but tell me about the child i want to pray for them i want to see you know see what i can do and just something told me i needed to i needed to do this wow and she’s almost 13. how about that very amazing story let’s talk about your business a little bit you know the other side of what you do um everything in your community is just amazing i was blown away from that and then i got into your business a little bit so to speak and you’re currently a regional vice president for america so i’m sure there’s a winding road that got you there and and uh when we talked shortly before this we kind of discussed that um how did you end up making primarily your career for 30 years now well i was a teacher and had three part-time jobs three yes i did a little bit of everything most most of them involve teaching and music yes but not very flexible so i taught high school i had a i would leave my high school job and drive across town start teaching preschoolers about 30 40 minutes later i fit private students in between and and i also worked at my church so that was a lot of time pretty much seven days a week i was working so something had to give it needed a little flexibility i let go of one of those jobs and you know that’s about six or seven hundred dollars a month and that was 30 years ago so that was a big deal sure and but i i just didn’t have the time to do everything i was doing that’s when primerica came along and i loved the idea that this company wanted to educate me about money yes and give me an opportunity to um have a have a business so i took them up on it yeah intending to just learn about money really to be honest i i was a music teacher right and i did both for two and a half more years while i worked on my promotion it took me about six months to decide that i could do this and have a have a real business but the luxury that primerica afforded me was to be able to keep my full-time job while i got my feet under me yeah so fully licensed fully trained and then when i was ready i made it my career and at the time i didn’t have children so i became a vice president and then started my family so it was very family friendly um i was able to have the flexibility and the income to be able to raise my my son at the time and it was it was just a fabulous opportunity and i did learn about money yes yes you did and stay there you did and i get to teach other people um about how money works and how to do the right things and um make make it pay off for them yes very good and you know when you started there some 30 years ago females in leadership roles i would imagine were not as prevalent as they are today um tell us about the women in primarica program

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leaf charcuterie boards is a proud local sponsor of local leaders the podcast women in primerica was started several years after i was a vice president and i want to back up and say that the the woman that introduced me to primerica yes you know we were part of the 17 of women in primerica 17 of the licensed representatives wow and now it’s over 62 percent but i’m thankful first of all that becky cowart who’s a former teacher introduced me to primerica along with someone else that’s in our office we all work together female office but we we’re very diverse we have men we have people from a lot of different backgrounds but it started with us mary bellinger was a kindergarten teacher and taught she was president of some teachers organizations so we all worked together and built our organization in this male dominated field yes but about uh 1996 women in primerica organized itself because there were some other female leaders in primerica that decided they wanted to see women really excel and be successful so these women started and organized women in primarica wow and it is a phenomenal organization so i was at some of the early meetings with where we we got off to a good start but now they’re huge yes and men do come into those meetings so yes because they want to lead women and they need to know how you build a business with men and women so this organization now i’m i’m part of the advisory council for the women in primerica for the company and we’re for the third year in a row we’re now one of the best uh this is from forbes one of the best employers for women wow it’s a phenomenal third year in a row two year in a row so that’s consistency and uh in a beautiful thing and one of the things we’re here to celebrate today is women and you know you know you think back it blows my mind personally to think back there you know one too long ago the women didn’t even have the right to vote is that not bizarre and first of all horrible but second of all just bizarre to think that wasn’t that long ago and i think there are a lot of young women that don’t even think about that because for their lifetime we’ve had a lot of opportunities but we need to realize that we have come a long way and there’s a lot of opportunity that our mothers didn’t have but you know i had a great example in my mom she was she helped build a business with my dad yes and so she worked and um took care of kids i don’t know how she did it just super superwoman yeah and you know correct and a lot of families now they’re dual working families you know 50 years ago that was i guess more rare women as they realized you know how much they bring to the let’s face it men are weak compared to women i don’t care what anybody say and i’m a man but let me tell you we cry over the big you know just the biggest things that women are like please you you know try pregnancy or whatever and all those sorts of things but we wouldn’t have very many children yes no and uh so and that’s something i firmly believe women are just just smart tough human beings that uh are now getting the you know more of the respect that they deserve but surprising stat here and it’s something that you supply me with uh it’s you stated that 66 and and i would imagine you got this stat from somewhere but i didn’t write it 66 women for every 100 men are in leadership roles so basically a little more than half which is good compared to probably 30 years ago but still a long way to go right absolutely yeah and women have talents that i think we don’t even realize ourselves so we need to be in leadership yes yes a hundred percent um and i do want to discuss a little bit about uh primerica itself so if somebody’s listening out there and they’re like oh they this is a great thing maybe there’s another female listening and she’s thinking i want to work somewhere and you know i’m in that situation you just mentioned uh where you were um give me kind of the elevator pitch of what primarica is for someone that might not be familiar it’s about education about money for middle-income americans we help the wealthy but there are a lot of people knocking down the doors of the wealthy to take care of their money sure so we help middle-income families and business owners become debt-free properly protected and financially independent yes can you lead a team personally at 15 representatives um and play a critical role i would say in developing leaders at primerica what do you personally look for in a leader relative to what traits they may possess well that’s interesting because i probably wouldn’t have thought of myself as a leader when i started so we develop leaders we provide and this is one of the things that i love about being involved with primerica there are lots of opportunities to learn and be and become better yeah so you don’t have to be a leader yes you become a leader i love that and i think that’s starting with you know what are you what are you reading what are you doing every day what are you committing your time to um surrounding yourself with the right people those kind of things so you don’t have to walk in and have everything together yes very good and and i love you use the word develop you develop leaders retirement let’s talk about that obviously that’s a critical thing um the issue i see with business owners and i really want to get your opinion on this is a lot of business owners have have two problems number one insurance is expensive right health insurance and so a lot of people don’t become entrepreneurs because they don’t have access to affordable health insurance so they stay with whatever corporation they’re with there’s nothing wrong with that but sometimes it will keep someone from making that jump to entrepreneurship um something that i personally would like to see a better solution for another thing is uh is the retirement aspect of things but there are options for people that are small business owners as far as retirement right that’s correct and i think you have to design your your plan for yourself it’s very individualized um but i remember when i left teaching because teaching you have retirement you have all of these things that are there for you yes so i had to go out and figure i have figured out how i was going to do that for myself yeah and you know we own another business so it’s it’s possible yes very possible and and uh sometimes you do a better job for yourself than anybody else would do that’s a great point yeah very true so uh so if you need any any more information on all that i imagine you have a website for america.com or something that uh america.com and you can google primera shannonbernard primerica.com shannon underscore bernard very good and i’ll put that in the description of this video so they don’t have to stop and write it you just click on that link in the description box and you’ll see that now in the questionnaire i sent you i asked you about overcoming challenges especially as it relates to women in business uh you stated and i want to read this verbatim and i’m gonna try to do this without my glasses y’all i am very i’m a very optimistic person and i’ve had fantastic role models both male and female however i realize women in general have challenges unique to them i handle these by having a very strong work ethic and establishing a support system within my business and personal relationships i tend to want to do everything myself just to get it done i know how that feels but i think it’s important to recognize when you need help and accept assistance when it’s offered we need to find reasons to showcase the talent abilities and accomplishments of women i can’t say it any better than that yeah you said that this shannon bernard and i can’t agree with the statement anymore and here at local leaders the podcast actually we’re doing our part so with that and in honor of your amazing contributions to the livingston parish community we are honored to present you this plaque which recognizes you as a 2022 local leader leading lady thank you very much and tiffany has that plaque for you right there uh that’s uh something that we’re doing to celebrate our leading ladies in this parish and you are definitely a leading lady uh well deserved and great job miss shannon bernard it’s not an oscar but it’s close i love it i love it that’s an honor thank you very much you’re you’re very look it’s it’s an honor to sit down and talk to you um and before we get out of here we ask you to do some fun facts for us and uh just kind of lets our listeners know a little fun stuff about you so i i asked some off-the-wall questions like if you purchased a yacht what would you name it and you said bella chase very good perfect i think it’s perfect and steve is probably like well i think she should name it steve but i might let him ride on the yacht with me that’s right dream job when you were 12. own my own business and look at you i mean you have just uh cruised through life uh up up up you go and uh and it’s a beautiful thing what a beautiful mentor for somebody else to have he’s watching this show if you could have any super power you said super speed that’s a great one and i would love to have that myself you said do more faster right yes indeed if you could travel anywhere in the world you said france and you’re actually going there pretty soon no chase is going without me oh he’s going with that i would go with him if i could ah well you know chase you should bring your mama with you very good well he’s going and he’ll take lots of pictures and make you jealous there you go excited for him so very good i appreciate having you on uh you know we’d like to get you on some other time and really dive deep into maybe the the part of primerica business that other things that y’all do there and and all of that but thank you so much for being a leading lady uh in this community for so many years uh we really do appreciate that i do want to thank the sponsors of local leaders of podcasts we could not do any of this without all of you and once again i’m jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business and keep leading thank you very much for coming on thanks

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