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March Member Spotlight: Shannon Kula

Current Position/Field of Work:  

Director of the Women’s Leadership Center at the University of Saint Joseph. 

What is the most interesting part of your job?  

I love helping people and solving problems. Being a part of the USJ Women’s Leadership Center is a wonderful opportunity to join an institution identifying an urgent need — empowering women for leadership success — and stepping into the arena to do something about it. Women are half of the world’s population and we are making progress every day but there is still so much more to be done with respect to leadership. 

Can you describe your most recent travel experience? 

My husband and I traveled to Ireland for the first time.  Our journey took us on a pilgrimage to the historic Knock Shrine in beautiful Mayo Co. and of course, across Dublin.  Although the weather was cold, the Irish people could not have been warmer. 

Knock Shrine in Mayo County, Ireland

Where would you like to travel next? 

We are a military family and are planning on going to Normandy.  It’s so important to honor our nation’s military and veterans who have and continue to serve our great country.  Later this year, we will stand on those hallowed beaches to pay our respects to our fallen. 

Global issue you find fascinating right now: 

Women have been and continue to participate in and encourage peace and security conversations.  We saw what women did in the 1990s post-genocide in Rwanda to today in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria – just to name a few. Recently, under the leadership of U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017.  The U.S. is the first country in the world to formally codify a commitment to women in the peace process recognizing the data that when women are at the negotiating table, the process is 64% less likely to fail. 

shannon and hillary
Shannon with Secretary Hillary Clinton


shannon and madeleine
Shannon with Secretary Madeleine Albright

Proudest accomplishment? 

I spent the last 13 years working for the longest serving woman in our nation’s history and the Dean of the Women of the U.S. Senate.  Spending time with all the women senators, on a bipartisan basis, and on a broad range of issues, was an honor.  A few years ago, the women worked on a bipartisan basis and created a bipartisan commission to study the feasibility of a women’s museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Meryl Streep joined our efforts to help raise awareness and support.  In 2017, utilizing the commission’s report, a bill was introduced in both the House and the Senate to move this forward. 

shannon and meryl
Shannon (right) pictured with Meryl Streep (left) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (center)

Why you support the mission of the Council: 

Engaging our Greater Hartford community and promoting an increased understanding of the world we live in, brings us all one step closer to making the world a better place for the next generation. Each one of us can make a difference, but together, we can make change. 

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