From Senior Associate to Partner & GM: Meet Mission North’s Newest Co-Owner, Shannon Hutto

Mission North recently celebrated our 15-year anniversary with a company-wide offsite and a party that brought together the many people who have helped us reach this milestone. We also announced key promotions, including the company’s newest partner and general manager of our San Francisco office: Shannon Hutto. 

We’ve shared a lot of exciting times in the last 15 years — and Shannon has been here for nearly all of them. Shannon started at Mission North 12 years ago as a senior associate. She is one of our many homegrown success stories, and from day one she has embodied our management approach, leading with empathy first and extremely high standards for excellence as a close second.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know her yet, I sat down with Shannon for insight into her new role and what the next 15 years look like for Mission North.

What does it mean to be a partner at Mission North? 

I view my role as a partner and general manager of the San Francisco office as having three key components: 1) Ensuring we’re servicing our clients at the highest level and driving results that map back to their goals and needs; 2) Overseeing staffing strategy for our West Coast operations, which means understanding what everyone’s skills are to determine the best way to staff and grow our teams; and 3) Creating opportunities for everyone at Mission North to thrive by challenging them and empowering them to use their superpowers.

What’s your area of expertise related to client work?

I’m very involved in our Trust practice and have worked with nearly every security client at Mission North, starting with Panda Security in 2008 and Google, HackerOne, Tenable and Recorded Future in recent years. What I love the most about our client work is taking on a communications challenge that feels on the surface like it’s insurmountable. Some of our clients come to us with zero brand awareness and we have to fight tooth and nail to get a reporter to even take a call with them. It’s so gratifying when the pendulum swings the other way, and we are fielding inbound requests for interviews from national press. It takes time and a measured approach, but I’ve witnessed these dynamics dozens of times now. It’s truly so fulfilling to be a part of raising awareness for the young, fast-growth companies that deserve just as much of the limelight as the unicorns or publicly traded ones. 

What is it about Mission North that has kept you here for 12 years?

It’s the cardboard living room in our San Francisco office. And the dogs. Well, the dogs are definitely a draw since I still don’t have one of my own, but more seriously, it’s the variety of work and opportunity to learn from some of the brightest people in PR who are my kindred spirits. I love that I can go from a serious conversation about privacy and managing our digital identities to learning about a non-profit that one of my colleagues is contributing time to within moments.

Mission North also allows me to satiate my curiosity, whether it’s getting engrossed in client work, learning about new technology or building a team for a new client. Couple the fast pace of the technology industry with the fact that PR strategies and the media landscape are continually changing, and there’s never a dull moment. 

But what truly fulfills me is coaching and mentoring others. We have managed to foster an environment here that encourages open dialogue and engagement across all levels, which in turn makes it a wonderful setting for strong teams and mentor relationships. 

We have managed to foster an environment here that encourages open dialogue and engagement across all levels, which in turn makes it a wonderful setting for strong teams and mentor relationships. 

What excites you most about the future of Mission North?

We talk a lot about unlocking our superpowers here, which essentially means homing in on the natural talents and skill sets that each individual brings to the equation, and creating an environment where we can all do our best work. Sometimes unlocking these superpowers requires a team that ebbs and flows with the different campaigns or projects we do for our clients, or pairing up individuals who complement one another in surprising ways. I have seen firsthand how the art of building different teams to serve the unique needs of our clients allows us to do our best work as individuals and as an agency. 

Our client base has never been more exciting, which creates even more opportunities for us to tell meaningful stories while trying new things. We’re always evolving and perfecting our approach to communications. Today that means amping up our visual storytelling capabilities while bringing in people who are skilled at amplifying the reach of our campaigns via social media and paid strategies. There’s never a dull moment here, and that’s how I like it! 

What are you reading?

I just finished reading Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, who is a close friend of one of our account managers here. It’s an incredibly well-written, introspective and meaningful autobiography about her experience with cystic fibrosis and a rare superbug from a young age. I highly recommend it! 

If you’re interested in learning more about what makes Mission North such a special place to work, please reach out. We’re
hiring across levels and would love to hear from you.