Shannon fosters and builds the UP® community
Senior Community and Social Manager
What attracted me to Jawbone is that it’s a company creating a product that could really help people live happier and healthier lives. I find it’s an incredibly admirable mission.
“What attracted me to Jawbone is that it’s a company creating a product that could really help people live happier and healthier lives,” says Shannon Sweetser, Senior Community and Social Manager at Jawbone. “I find it’s an incredibly admirable mission, and what I learned from this community that touched me the most is as long as you’re going for your goal and changing, you’re already there. You’re making progress, you have the right mindset, and you’re following the steps it takes to get to your destination.”
After graduating from Emerson College, a school in Boston where she majored in writing, literature and publishing, Shannon says working for startups is where she “fell in love with building communities.” She talks about what it’s like to interact with the UP® community: “The best part of my job is that I get direct contact with the people we’re helping. It changes your perspective and gives you motivation to help make Jawbone a better place. That mentality creates amazing products.” She goes on to explain how she does it; “The heart of what I do is listen to what the Jawbone community is doing and give it a space—and a spotlight.”
An example of how Shannon has highlighted success within the UP® community is Get UP Together, a campaign which features real user success stories. The campaign had a powerful impact on her. Shannon explains, “A few users we featured had real weight loss success with UP. As I listened to their stories, I realized their success wasn’t about the weight loss. For them, success meant getting to experience their passions and all of the things they envisioned doing once they addressed the thing holding them back. For me, weight is not just a physical impairment, but a mental one. Now that I’m 33, I’m thinking about my future and there is just no possible way I can sustain living until 90 with my current habits.”
Shannon grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida and has fought the weight battle most of her life. She reflects on the importance of using her UP® band and, more specifically, her favorite feature: Smart Coach. “I think about my grandma when I was younger. I love my grandma, but I wonder if it would have been different to have Smart Coach as a kid telling me I was a little bit chunky, versus my grandma telling me. Smart Coach creates a world of encouragement that’s gender-neutral, judgement-free, and is all about specific-to-you data and recommendations. It eliminates the natural defense mechanism we all have.” She continues, “People try to boil it down to just being a tool to lose weight, but it’s not. It makes your life better, so you can follow your passions, achieve your goals and get the things you want out of life. The reason we put ourselves in detrimental health, in general, is because we don’t think about it on a daily basis. We only think about it when we have an ailment or problem. What if we just did a little bit every day? We can’t prevent everything, but there are some things that complicate our health we can avoid—like being overweight.”
Shannon believes in the power of community, so it’s no surprise her community of friends and family are her No. 1 support group. Shannon speaks of how she finds success when sharing her personal goals with those loved ones. “I think if you don’t tell people about it, it puts you at risk of not having a support network when you fail. Now, because my husband and I are both losing weight, we’re working toward the same goal of getting healthier and wanting to do activities together. And because I’m telling my friends, I’m setting myself up for success.”
Many people try to reach their goals privately, but Shannon stresses the simple benefit to making it a statement: “If you don’t tell your friends, and you’re going out to dinner with them, how are you going to succeed? Friendship is incredibly risky when you’re dieting because it’s so easy to have a long conversation, and in the meantime chow through a whole block of cheese. But, by saying to my friends ’I don’t want food-or drinking-based enjoyment with you. Let's go for a walk or to a street dance party, instead,’ I give them the opportunity to help me out as we bond.”
No matter the end goal, it’s a journey for all UP® users. “If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, it's really hard to get the full benefit of the device, because it’s pointing out all of the things you’re not ready to change.” She continues, “I was tracking before, but without a purpose or end goal in mind. It didn’t give my data a sense of urgency. When I look at it today, with my new goal of losing 100 pounds, I think about achieving a little goal every day and that builds over time. I wasn’t seeing it that way before. Because I didn’t have a goal, I didn’t think about every day being a piece of a puzzle that would ultimately lead to the thing I want to accomplish. So UP has definitely helped me manage a journey of little changes.”
For Shannon, those small changes have added up to big results. “Since March 2016, I’ve lost 35 pounds. I feel awesome, but moreover, my progress makes me excited to try new things and experience life to the the fullest,” she says with a bright smile.