As a senior leader with 70 direct reports, Shannon uses Canopy to level-up her performance management skills.

“I’m actually preparing for tomorrow to have a conversation with somebody — and so I enact performance management through the Canopy framework.”

Meet Shannon Donohue

  • Vice President, Messaging Operations & Global Connectivity at Telesign, an 800 person global tech company.
  • Over a decade of leadership experience.
  • 70 direct reports.
  • Enrolled 20 of her own managers in Canopy.

Having led teams for the past decade, Shannon is a deeply experienced leader who values being authentic and honest. Her go-to place for centering as a leader? Canopy.

Shannon first leaned of Canopy when the world shut down due to COVID back in 2020, to strengthen her ability to connect her team through remote work.

Since then, Shannon relies heavily on Canopy to brush up on her own knowledge, even as a senior leader, especially around performance management. In 2023, she then enrolled about 20 of her own managers who report to her at Telesign in Canopy to help support them and “share the gift of Canopy.”

Here’s a bit about Shannon’s experience with Canopy in her own words…

Canopy consolidates research + gives actionable insights

I’ve worked really hard to try to find all of these different resources to make myself a better leader… But Canopy really consolidated that research and gave really actionable, succinct insights on how it could be applied. This has been extremely important especially as I lead a remote team, and constantly looking for ways to connect our team.

Monthly group coaching gives timely support to attendees.

Helps her with performance management

Giving feedback is just so tough and it’s uncomfortable. So many times I’ve wanted to avoid giving feedback because it’s uncomfortable for me, it’s uncomfortable for the person. Leaning on the feedback framework that Canopy has given me and knowing that it is in service of bettering the person of bettering the team — and I know it’s honestly bettering me to be able to practice this skill. It’s something that I’m preparing for actually tomorrow to have a conversation with somebody about an observation. I would say that’s one of the biggest things that’s helpful for me is performance management through the Canopy framework.

Best for any manager, from new leader to experienced leader: “The best online asynchronous content on leadership”

I think Canopy is relevant for new managers, of course, but I’ve also told people in many instances, Canopy is some of the best online asynchronous content on leadership. Personally, I still take the courses as a reminder. I participate in the learning opportunities. I go back and I study the fundamentals because of how important it is to have an anchor and foundation. You’ll find value in Canopy whether you’re a brand new leader who is recently promoted, all the way to if you’ve been leading with decades of experience — it’s just very versatile and relatable. You’ll find nuggets of wisdom. Even if you watch for an hour, you’ll find something that you can apply.

Helps her be both authentic and honest as a leader

Canopy has helped me in crafting a persona that didn’t compromise on my core tenants. It has allowed me to be authoritative in a way that was disarming. As a woman in leadership, I feel like you can run this very close line of being too honest to the point of not being received the way that you want to be. Yet to curb that goes against my authenticity, goes against my honesty — so I don’t want to hold back because honesty and authenticity are my core tenets. Canopy helped me combine what I want to be in an ideal situation with how I want to be perceived as a woman in leadership and senior leadership.

Canopy is simple, enjoyable and not overwhelming

Simply put, Canopy is really enjoyable to access the information in a consolidated way. And when they are linking or talking about resources, it’s not overwhelming. Canopy talked about a book, Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps ↗, and I picked this one up because it felt like a small addition. With other trainings, it can feel like information overload. Here with Canopy, it’s simple, it’s succinct, it’s relatable. And when there’s something that's ancillary material, I feel more inclined to want to pursue it because my cup isn’t already overflowing. It might be close to full, but it feels like I could take a little bit more. That's what makes Canopy so impactful for me.

It’s not boring either. It’s really, it’s enjoyable.

As much or as little learning to keep you growing in your leadership journey.

Learned the importance of not being busy as a leader

A critical skill that I personally learned from Canopy is you don’t always want to be busy. I mean, yes, there is a certain amount of oversight that you need to have to have a high performing team. But to be a really effective leader, you need to pause, take that moment, invest in yourself for professional development and level-up yourself so you level-up the team. A high tide rises all boats, and we only do that when we make space for ourselves to really be centered.

Uses Canopy to teach managers, rather than having to teach her managers, herself

I left EZ Texting [previous company] about a year ago and now I lead a team of 70 that is dispersed across the globe, Europe, APAC, across the Americas, both north and south. And I really wanted to bring that gift of Canopy to all of my people leaders — of which there are almost 20. I thought I could either teach this to everybody and give seminars myself and show what good leadership looks like through leading by example. But I thought what better way than to just give this gift to people to learn it directly from Canopy.

Picks a theme each months + invites managers to learn “with her”

In using Canopy with our team, what I try to do is, for every month there’s a theme. So I’ll do a learning opportunity, typically one of the modules in Canopy. And I’ll say, I’m learning this, “Please, I invite you to learn with me.” And then I might pair it something ancillary, like a Masterclass, or something else like a book club. It’s just making time to prioritize professional development and giving people permission to say, “This is a part of your job.” I’ll literally share my calendar with people on a screen share and I’ll say I block out three hours of focus time every single day.”

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