An Inspiration for Every Story of Strength: Shannon Sullivan

Apr 29, 2021 | Derby

“You have to listen to the cheerleaders and encouragers. You have to have thick skin,” Shannon Sullivan says.

Shannon Sullivan worked as a forensic chemist for the Kentucky State Police, but when she collaborated on a case with an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), she thought it might be an interesting career field. In 2004, she became an ATF special agent and moved to West Virginia. Because she knew no one and had a lot of free time, she joined the Air National Guard in 2006, where she is now a senior intelligence officer at the 123rd Airlift wing.

For 13 years, Shannon worked in the ATF field doing surveillance, interviewing suspects, and testifying in court. Her last four years have been in the training field as the firearms instructor coordinator, and she is also a tactical medic, which allows her to travel all over the country.

“I’m one of very few women in federal law enforcement, but when I first got into both fields, it never occurred to me that there would be more challenges because I was female,” she says. While she has experienced naysayers and bullies, she says, “You have to listen to the cheerleaders and encouragers. You have to have thick skin.”

Shannon is wearing: Dress, $85, Clutch, $74, Earrings, $36, Bracelet, $22, all available at Lulubelles Boutique, 502.708.2145; Hat by Hat Girls, $400.
Art Direction: Anita Oldham  Hair: Krista Nenni   Makeup: Amber Himes

Artwork: Flight at Sunset by Tullio Crali, 1930. Oil on canvas.
Location: Speed Art Museum

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