FedEx Express’ Brown Named To Savoy’s ‘Power 300’ List

By Kate Simone

Shannon A. Brown, senior vice president and chief human resource/diversity officer at FedEx Express, has been named to Savoy Magazine’s Power 300: 2016 Most Influential Black Corporate Directors list. Brown, who was honored as a member of the BancorpSouth Inc. board of directors, also holds board memberships with several universities and nonprofit organizations in the Mid-South and beyond.


As the most senior human resources executive for FedEx Express, Brown provides strategic direction for all human resources practices, policies and operations for the company. His role includes overseeing global initiatives to develop and retain a highly talented and diverse workforce.

Hometown: Memphis

Experience: More than 30 years of experience with FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company. Bachelor’s degree from National-Louis University in Chicago and master’s degree from the University of Denver.

Family: My beautiful wife, Beryl, and daughters, Shanae and Cailin.

Favorite quote: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? There have been many people along my pathways who made an impression on me; however, the greatest influence on my life was my mother, Lucille Upshaw. She taught me that a strong work ethic, integrity and common sense are timeless keys to success. Mother was a nurse who always showed genuine care and concern for others. She also stood up for civil rights by marching with the sanitation workers in 1968. Her strength, compassion and commitment to her family and community were the bedrock values she set for me. 

What does it mean to be named to Savoy’s list? Savoy is an important information source on diverse business trends and leaders whose innovative strategies have earned them success and respect. It’s truly an honor to be among this group of pathfinders. It’s also a reminder that our ultimate success is defined by our commitment to pay it forward by helping others to succeed.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I’m proud to lead HR teams that play a pivotal role in our company’s consistent ranking as one of Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies,” Black Enterprise’s “40 Best Companies for Diversity” and other awards. I also believe in the power of mentoring and it’s great to see many of the people I’ve mentored achieving their career goals and helping others along the way. 

What do you most enjoy about your work? Each day, I’m inspired by the remarkable people who keep our global marketplace thriving and connected. FedEx does business in 220 countries and territories, and I enjoy the opportunity to interact with people of various backgrounds and cultures who are contributing to our day-to-day success. 


If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Having confidence is critical to one’s success. Being successful has to do with the way we program ourselves to think. You have to believe in yourself and have a strong work ethic. In my first job as a cargo handler, I worked hard and people took notice and mentored me. Never underestimate the power of mentoring. If you don’t have a mentor, find someone who can help you.


Maj. Gen. (Ret.) William Russell Cotney of Memphis, former commander of the Tennessee Air National Guard, is one of four individuals selected this year for induction into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. The induction will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, in Murfreesboro. 


Cotney is being honored for his 40 years of air service in Tennessee. While commander of the Tennessee Air National Guard, he spearheaded efforts to modernize bases in the state, resulting in more than $360 million for new planes and missions, increased funding for operations, and construction of new facilities, including the airlift wing in Memphis. He also was selected by NATO to command the Air Movement Center during the Bosnia conflict.

Crye-Leike Real Estate Services has announced the addition of several Realtors to two of its offices. Michael Pyrdom, Traci Nichols and Ruth D. McGruder have become affiliated with Crye-Leike’s Quail Hollow branch, and Katelyn “Katy” Jeffrey has become affiliated with the Germantown branch. Pyrdom previously was the owner of Mid-South Lawn Service for 32 years. Nichols comes to Crye-Leike from CoreLogic Valuation Solutions, where she was a staff appraiser. McGruder is a retired Shelby County Schools high school biology teacher. And Jeffrey previously worked in the transportation industry as a logistics manager.

Chris Clement has joined Redeemers Group Inc. as a service technician, responsible for taking care of CAREClub customers on an ongoing basis to ensure their home’s restored value is retained. Clement most recently worked in the alarm industry, installing and maintaining commercial and residential alarm systems.

Whitney Crane has joined Germantown-based Unity Hospice Care’s New Albany, Mississippi, office. Crane is a registered nurse.

Thomas & Betts, a member of the ABB Group, has received the Industry Partner Award from the National Electrical Contractors Association. The award recognizes individuals or organizations allied with the electrical construction industry whose decisions, actions or cooperation with NECA contribute to the industry’s success.