Tenacity, determination, grit and an innate ability to lead has defined Shannon Huffman Polson. An adventurous young woman, she summited Mount McKinley (now Denali) and, at the time, was the youngest woman to complete the attempt. From there, she was commissioned in the Army and was one of the first women to fly the Apache attack helicopter. Through her leadership and aviation skills she earned the right to lead two flight platoons and was the first woman to command an Apache flight company in the 2d Infantry Division. With real-world stories and insights from in and out of the cockpit, she offers tangible leadership lessons for audience members to seek out their own targets and, where passion and purpose intersect, incorporate them into their own professional lives. By examining everyday leadership and situational challenges, Shannon empowers others to effectively lead and thrive in any dynamic environment.
About Shannon Polson
From the cockpit to the boardroom, Shannon Huffman Polson shares stories of grit and leadership to help others overcome fear, break through uncertainty, and reach their full potential.
Shannon is a woman of many firsts. Among those high points: She is one of the first women to fly Apache combat helicopters in the U.S. Armed Forces, where she served on three continents and led two flight platoons and a line company. She is also the founder and CEO of The Grit Institute and the author of the memoir “North of Hope” and “The Grit Project”.
After nearly a decade as an Army officer and attack aviation leader, and later as a leader and manager in the corporate sector at Guidant and Microsoft, Shannon turned her attention to storytelling, in part through her Grit Project blog and in her forthcoming book. In “The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the most Male Dominated Industry in the World” (2020), Shannon shares her own critical leadership lessons along with candid stories of remarkable female leaders and trailblazers.
Drawing on a distinguished military and corporate career, she reveals her lessons learned and leadership strategies to help you harness your own inner strength, move beyond resistance, and attain your goals. With an emphasis on grit – which she describes as “a dogged determination in the face of difficult circumstances” – she demonstrates how to tap into that passion and resolve so you can face your limitations, own your sense of purpose, and become a leader of greatness.