MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Boys & Girls Club of Memphis helped people from two different generations soar to new heights with careers at FedEx.
Shannon Brown and Keishuna Williams are years apart, but they have a lot in common. They both grew up in South Memphis and were a part of the Boys & Girls Club. The organization put both of them on a career path at FedEx.
“I had a mentor, Mr. Jim Perkins,” said Brown. “He found me at the Boys & Girls Club, and he was on the board of directors. So this story is just really me passing on what Mr. Perkins passed on to me.”
The Boys & Girls Club contacted Brown, now a board member, about helping Keishuna develop her interest in mechanics. He willingly agreed and connected her with an internship.
“They created a Co-Op program just for me. The first of its kind, actually,” said the recent Lemoyne Owen graduate. “I did a company-wide internship with FedEx, and they taught me all the things that I wanted to know.”
Throughout the experience, she was able to get on top of planes and even stand inside engines.
Brown said the company was happy for Williams to participate. “They were excited to see such a young lady that really wanted to get in the guts of FedEx and didn’t mind getting her hands dirty.”
Last November, Brown retired as Senior Vice President of Global Operations and the Chief Diversity Officer at FedEx– the same company where he started as a package handler in 1978. “We try to make sure that we can develop a career. That they have a pathway, and they understand that pathway,” he said.
His story gives Keishuna hope and caused her to expand her career options to include human resources. Brown says it makes him feel good that someone wants to follow in his footsteps.
“For somebody to come behind me that was also a part of the Boys & Girls Club, and now she wants to follow me to FedEx and one day be a big senior person here,” said Brown.
Keishuna says FedEx is her career passion but says her life passion will always be mechanics. She’s confident she can have both. Her goal is to see “Keishuna Shante’s Automotive Shops” somewhere someday.
She refuses to let life’s obstacles limit her ability to soar. “I grew up in a low-income home, in poverty,” Williams explained. “[My family and I] have been homeless before. I geared myself into making sure I took advantage of every opportunity because as a Black person, it’s not easy for us to get certain opportunities. We have to go out there and grasp them and create them.”