Acuity Brands is proud to celebrate Black History Month throughout February. Each week, we’re highlighting the leaders participating in our upcoming speaker series presented by our MAGIC (Minorities Amplifying Growth Inclusion and Community) Employee Resource Group. This week, we sat down with Shawn Herring, Vice President, Business Intelligence, to learn more about her career with Acuity Brands and interests outside of the workplace.
Read on for the full interview!
Shawn Herring joined Acuity Brands in 2018, as a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, and quickly made her way to Vice President, Business Intelligence thanks to her talents and leadership abilities. Prior to joining Acuity, Shawn brought with her close to 20 years of business intelligence and data warehousing experience. Throughout Shawn’s career, she has worked at all levels of business intelligence but always found her way back to development and manufacturing. Across her work experience, Shawn has had a love affair with data; she believes in and has reverence for its transformative powers.
Are there special skills or hidden talents you’d like to share with us?
One thing about me is I love to learn, so three years ago I decided to learn to play the guitar. While the pandemic hampers my ability to play with others, I take weekly lessons. In 2020, I joined Acuity Southern Lights, which is a band comprised of Acuity Conyers campus associates.
The Acuity Southern Lights
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I would travel 60 years into the future. I want to see how far America has grown, as well as what type of men my sons have become and the families they create. I hold a sincere hope that Aiden and Caleb will inherit a world that will see them for who they are and not for the color of their skin. It is the same hope that black mothers have held onto for generations. Occasionally, this hope is nearly snuffed out by the institutional disregard of black lives, but it is renewed by the many strides made by young Americans.
Who are the three greatest living musicians and why?
I came of age in the 90s. The hip-hop culture had just busted onto the American scene and announced the arrival of a new type of black voice and swag. It was and still is everything!
Rakim – long before there was a Kendrick, Jay-Z, or Drake, it was Rakim. He created the hip-hop blueprint for MCs. He had more than the ability to move the crowd, he delivered a message. He was the first and arguably the greatest lyricist of all time. I still listen to his classic albums, Don’t Sweat The Technique, Paid In Full, and Follow the Leader.
Nas – Nas picked up right where Rakim left off. Nas brought a level of storytelling to his cinematic rhymes. In 2018 he released Illmatic: Live from Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic. Although the Broadway show Hamilton was the first to bring rap to an orchestral arrangement, Illmatic made Nas a legend in his own time.
The Roots – The Roots is a blend of musicianship and lyrical might. Anchored by Black Thought and Questlove, The Roots demonstrates that rap artists can produce a catalog of music that does not solely rely on samples. Today The Roots are the house band for Jimmy Fallon which is a testament to how far the rap genre has come.
Across Acuity Brands, we honor diversity of thought, heritage, and orientation — respecting and celebrating what makes us each unique. Learn more about our #BlackHistoryMonth events and initiatives by following us on social media @AcuityBrands