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Shannon M. Jones, CMP

By Shannon M. Jones, CMP | Sep 13, 2021

When I was growing up, my home was always the place that friends and family landed, and my mom was the best hostess. I followed in her footsteps by being chair of my high school prom committee, and I just knew I wanted to do this for a living. I started in restaurants as a banquet server and eventually took my first career job as sales coordinator at the new Margaritaville Nashville (Tenn.) restaurant. This job introduced me to this industry we all know and love.

I was very fortunate that my company committed to keeping us all employed, but at the start of the pandemic, the learning curve was tough. While we anticipated what would happen in the world, it was a little bit of time before we sprung into action to pivot and continued on with virtual programming. The silver lining is that I was able to learn many new skills. Additionally, it gave us all the time to slow down and make connections.

Because of MPI, I have made connections and strengthened relationships with members all over the world that I’m now able to call friends. I don’t know that I would have taken the time for this opportunity prior to the pandemic.

I love that this industry is something only the people inside of it can understand. The few moments when everything is set up and ready to welcome guests, the room is silent except for an AV buzz, the tables are neatly set and designed and months or years of hard work are about to pay off. It’s like we all have this fun secret together where only we understand each other.

Carol Norfleet took me under her wing and was my biggest cheerleader. I could come to her with any challenge and she would walk through it with me. Carol inspired me to enter into the presidency with the MPI Tennessee Chapter. Unfortunately, the world lost Carol just two weeks before my president year was to begin. I miss her every day and face everything with the mindset of “What would Carol do?” I wish a friend and mentor like Carol for everyone.

My first industry boss told me to “meet everyone and do everything,” so I did. MPI was my first step into getting to know the people in this industry. Shortly after I joined, I was asked about leadership on the MPI Tennessee Chapter Board of Directors. Because of this personal ask from a well-respected colleague, I agreed to be on the board, and I grew from there. While I was in the Office of the President, my passion for MPI continued to grow. I knew I wanted to do more and joined the Chapter & Member Advisory Council. Being involved at the global level has taught me even more about this industry and this organization.

Through being an MPI leader I’ve learned many important skills that carry into my job and into my life: leadership, empathy, delegation, conflict management and more. It’s no secret how I feel about MPI and what this organization and family of people have done to impact my life. If you’re ever curious how it could change yours, let’s chat!

Outside of this industry, I’m passionate about my family, margaritas and good 1990s country music!

Photo by Torrey Schenewerk, GCS Photography Inc.



Shannon M. Jones, CMP

Shannon M. Jones, CMP, is marketing, events and special projects manager for Butler Snow LLP, past president of the MPI Tennessee Chapter and chair of the MPI Chapter & Member Advisory Council. She has been an MPI member since 2013.