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Shannon Steel transforming lives from Detroit to Africa

Steel is already proving to be a true trailblazer.

By Jon Stojan

Shannon Steel

Driven by the profound mission to eradicate poverty and enhance the quality of life in the Central African Republic, Shannon Steel’s journey from a young traveler to a beacon of hope embodies a relentless pursuit of transformative change. Shannon Steel’s journey from a 10-year-old traveling to Africa to become an inspiration of hope for the Central African Republic as Ambassador for the country is a story of ambition, perseverance, and heart.

Hitting the Grind Early

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Steel’s early exposure to the world’s diversity sparked a lifelong passion for making a meaningful impact. Her academic and athletic excellence at Martin Luther King High School led her to the University of Houston on a basketball scholarship, where she not only excelled in sports but also earned her degree in Economics with honors. Her pursuit of knowledge didn’t stop there; she furthered her education at Harvard Business School Online, obtaining a certificate in Finance.

At the young age of 23, after acquiring her Series 7 and 66 licenses with Axa Advisors, Steel became the youngest stockbroker in the firm and one of the youngest in the country. Her success at Axa Advisors was just the beginning. Steel’s innovative financial strategies have helped her clients establish significant portfolios, earning her numerous awards and the responsibility of managing the General Motors account. Her expertise in finance led her to executive positions in private banking, where she managed significant portfolios and safeguarded clients’ assets.

Pushing Forward

Steel’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t end with finance. She became one of the youngest female hotel owners in the United States by acquiring and renovating a 239-room hotel. Under her leadership, the property was transformed, earning her a Developer of the Year title in 2019. Her real estate ventures also include acquiring a second hotel and developing 90 acres of land, showcasing her versatility and commitment to growth. 

Searching for More

However, Steel’s most profound impact has been through her humanitarian efforts. Her desire to combat poverty and improve the lives of those in the Central African Republic has led her to remarkable achievements. After buying her own offshore private bank in 2021 and launching a hedge fund in 2023, Steel dedicated a portion of her earnings to building the country’s first maternity hospital, significantly reducing the maternal mortality rate. Her compassion and commitment were palpable when eight women named their children after her, a testament to the deep gratitude felt by the community she supports. Beyond healthcare, Steel’s vision encompasses comprehensive support for the Central African Republic, including the construction of schools, orphanages, and more hospitals. Her foundation, the Shannon Steel Foundation, plans to extend scholarships and grants to students in Detroit and Metro Detroit, bridging her efforts from her hometown to her adopted country.

Steel’s awards are numerous, including being elected to several executive boards, being honored as the Youngest African American woman to own a hotel in the United States, and receiving the Krave Honors Pioneer Honoree, Who’s Who in Black Detroit Honoree awards, Woman of the Year in the State of Michigan and many other awards. Her achievements are a powerful reminder of what determination and compassion can accomplish. Follow Shannon Steel’s journey and support her mission through her social media: Instagram: shannon_steel1, LinkedIn: Shannon Steel, and Facebook: Shannon Steel

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