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Monday, June 18, 2012

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Shannon Gilley, CEO of Rose Gilley Designs Our Coverage Sponsored by Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner

Shannon Gilley

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Born in Northern California, as north as it comes, Eureka, California, in 1975, Shannon Gilley has lived most of her life in Sacramento, California. Attending school at Sacramento City College, Shannon then transferred to Texas A& M University in College Station, Texas, to finish her undergraduate degree and play softball for the Aggies. 

In 1996, Shannon began one of two Masters Degrees in the Counseling field, and completed those just in time to begin her work as a high school counselor. After several years of working with teenagers, Shannon began her side jewelry business titled under the name of “Embodiment”. Most of her designs were pieces sold locally and as always one-of-a-kind. 

Several years into her tenure as a counselor, Shannon began working for Sacramento City College as a faculty member. Her return to one of her alma maters felt comfortable allowing her to “give to students, what I was given.” 

During her years of experience as a counselor, Shannon has spent her own time working to learn the trade of metalsmithing, and has created a successful business, Rose Gilley Designs. She works with boutiques across the nation to provide her unique, handcrafted pieces made of sterling silver, gold filled metals, vintage pieces, and semi-precious stones. 

Her balance between such different careers has given her the opportunity to be successful at both. She is able to have an impact daily on students of all ages, and contributes to the success of their future endeavors, and then daily is able to create, beautiful pieces of jewelry that contribute to the success of fashion and an individual’s personality.   We are so pleased to present Shannon Gilley as our latest Mover and Shaker!  Peachy Deegan interviewed Shannon Gilley for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How did you get into softball and is it something you still play from time to time?  Shannon Gilley: I fell into softball actually, my freshman year of high school I went to my dad and said “I think I want to play a sport”, he said “which one?” and I responded “I will try softball first”….funny how it turned out. I don’t play anymore, I find that I can be too competitive at times. But I like to watch a good softball game! 

Do you ever combine your passion for sports with your passion for fashion, and if so, how? 
 When I am designing pieces, I think about durability, which I am sure relates back to my softball days. Knowing that something can take a little bit of a knock and still be ok. Don’t get me wrong, my pieces are delicate, so only a little knock. 

Where do you get your inspirations for your designs? 
 I am inspired by the ocean first and foremost. I feel completely connected to the ocean, for so many reasons. I was born by the ocean, and most of my family still lives North by the sea, and my dad’s ashes are spread in the ocean. There is often no place I would rather be. I think it is hugeness and vast possibilities that I see when I am by the ocean. My designs are a reflection of who I am as well, a little whimsical, delicate, romantic, and likable. 

How is your East Coast development coming along? 
 Breaking into the East coast isn’t the easiest thing to do. But I am willing to take my time. I attended the New York International Gift Fair this last January and met some really great store/shop owners and was able to work with them to create new accounts. But as everything goes, it will take time. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
 My dad. There is no question about it. Growing up, he showed up for me. In more ways than I can convey. He was also always on the sidelines at every softball game, cheering me on, and giving me constructive criticism. And as an adult, 
he was my best friend. I was able to talk with him about my business, personal concerns, and just everyday life. He was a great man! He passed away February 2009, I miss him dearly. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
 I find that I am most proud of students that I work with at the community college, when they see that they have options and they connect to those options and continue to pursue them. I truly get so happy for them, it is hard to explain. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
 I would like to create a successful jewelry business, that is recognized for its elegance, uniqueness, but not because it is mass produced. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
 As a college counselor, I have received the “Excellence Award” for understanding student’s needs and serving them. I received an All American award my sophomore year in college for softball, and a full ride scholarship to Texas A&M University for softball. 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
 Oh my favorite place in Manhattan has to be the Eataly, I had no idea that such a place existed, and a friend of mine who lives in Manhattan took me there in January….amazing!!!! 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
 Favorite shop, this is such a tourist response, but I fell in love with the MOMA Gift Shop…so much to look at, inspiring, books to read!!! Loved it!!! 

What is your favorite drink? 
Clamateer (yes, my own name for it), it is Clamato Juice and Bud Light (my choice of beer), my next is vodka, cranberry with 2 splashes of pineapple juice!! Yum, yum. 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
I can't say that anything funny has happened to me, or maybe I just don't remember. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
 I am embarrassed to say that I don't remember the name of this great mexican restaurant that I was so fortunate to come upon. It was somewhere around 55th and Amsterdam. But the margaritas were good, and the guacamole was great!!! 

What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
 So for fun, I love the Shopaholic series books.....all the!! 

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
 This is a hard question for my family I think I would have liked to see life through my grandma's eyes. I think that she had a particular peace that I would love to experience. 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
 The New York City Public Library, it is a beautiful building, and I love books, not just to read, but the smell of them, the coolness of the pages, and not to mention a library is a life time of food. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
 I enjoyed running in the morning, although the streets are much more crowded than I am used to, it was nice to see so much going on at 5:30/6 am. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
 Just the night life, there was ice skating happening at Bryant Park at almost midnight, I haven't seen that anywhere else!! 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
 Oh Elvis Presley without a doubt, I have been a fan of his my whole life, and I find him talented and confused, I would love to delve into what he was really thinking. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
 Going to MOMA was the best for me!! 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
 I do a pendant that benefits the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center, but I also like to donate to various non-profits, we can all give a little and do a little, it makes a difference. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
 The most underrated is definitely that people are too busy to help, I didn't find that at all. The most overrated, that it is the city that doesn't sleep, I think I expected shopping to stay open a lot 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
My favorite is the Amazing Accessories column and for pretty selfish reasons, I also like Rock Your Body as I like to see new jewelry that you have come across 

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?
 I have to say I haven't, but when I do, I will let you know!! 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
 I can be contacted at happily! 

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