Shannan Bunting

Meet Shannan Hofman Bunting

Shannan is the founder of Solstice Communications, a Chicago-based public relations firm that focuses on all things food, drink and sustainability with an eye towards supporting the arts. Shannan handles strategic planning, account supervision, media relations and creative direction for the agency’s diverse clients. Shannan holds a MA in Writing from DePaul University and a BA in Public Relations and another in Theatre Arts from Illinois State University. She is an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University in the College of Professional Studies and the co-organizer of Barley's Angels Chicago, a group working to expand the appreciation of craft beer among women. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters, where she serves in several community leadership positions because she totally has time for that.


What inspires you? 

My parents. My children. My husband. My clients.
My mom. She was a smart, young, single mom who sacrificed everything for me. She married my (step) dad when I was nine and together they gave me an upbringing that was at once militaristically strict and wildly permissive. My mom loves harder than anyone I have ever met. She is my biggest fan and the first person to call me on my sh*t. 
My (step) dad. He married my mom when I was 9. He may have fallen in love with a beautiful redhead but if he wanted her, he had to help raise her smart ass daughter, too.  That was not easy for either of us.  Biology could not have brought me a better dad.

My daughters.  They are amazing, thoughtful and kind. They both work so hard. They are both such good people. I am a better person because they are in my life. I have to be a better person in order to be their mom. They are both my greatest joy and my constant reality check.  Raise a smart, strong young woman and then toss out everything you thought you knew about yourself—especially if you think you look good in those jeans or you are rocking that eyeliner. No. Just no.  
My husband. He is the one who told me to take a leap and to trust myself. He moved 4,000 miles just to be my husband.  That's brave.

My clients. All of my clients are self-made people. They had talent, drive and an idea and they invented something for which other people feel passionate. They are all makers, from creating a world-renowned dance school in a church basement or developing a killer caramel recipe when you are 12 to a third generation restaurateur forging an entirely new culinary path for his family or an actor becoming a sought-after chef and tastemaker without a lick of formal culinary education. 

That’s just a few of them. I am in awe of all of them.


What scares you?

Today? Flipping everything.

But politics and Armageddon aside, I live constantly in fear that I will be found out. People will learn that I am faking it. I actually think pretty well on my feet—but I am certain that today will be the day when I stare at a blank page and nothing... and PowerPoint. I live in fear that someone will make me do PowerPoint in front of him or her. I actually have to work with it all the time, but I still suck at it. I recently had my daughter fix a template for me (in 30 seconds) after I had spent an hour trying to get some bullet points to line up. It is a sobering reminder that no matter how well you think you are doing—you can still be humbled by a stubborn bullet point


What do you think about when you are alone?

I am literally never alone.


What do you geek out about?

Beer. Whiskey. Food. Politics. History. Movies. Books. Repeat. (and fireworks, I seriously love them so much.)


What don't people know about you?

I have been in the Guinness Book of World Records twice. I once saved a child’s life at Trader Joe’s and I was once a wench at Medieval Times (a lot of people know that last one, but it is fun to say).


What do you hate?



Favorite quote?
This has always been one of my favorite quotes from my favorite guy, Jack Kerouac:

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

Recently, I realized that this can no longer be my mantra and I have to reevaluate. 

"The only ones for me are the sane ones, the boring ones, the ones who have their sh*t together and don't expect you to save them from their poor planning or miscalculations because they plan, plan, plan like fabulous planners and never make anything explode and they don't like spiders either. Because who likes spiders or crazy people anyway?"

There. I fixed it.  Course corrected. But, man, do I love the mad ones!


Want more? Connect with Shannan on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Hook up with Barley's Angels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Photo credit: Jamie & Eric Photography