Pack Post: Shannon Waters

Hi there!

My name is Shannon Waters and I own and run Pilot Light Consulting that I launched less than a year ago. The business focuses on restaurant openings. We plan every single aspect from where power outlets will be, getting proper permitting, to sourcing local food, staffing the greatest chefs, and designing the silverware our guests will eat with. We strive to make sure there is no stone unturned and every problem is solved before the new restaurant owner even thinks of it. On top of that, we want each restaurant we open to be special, have longevity and make its individual mark within the community. It’s a lot. Just saying it is a lot and every day I am truly amazed I created a business out of something out of the vast tasks of openings!

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and business owners and I never thought of myself as a future business owner, but knew I was a strong leader. By the time I was pushed to the top of my culinary career, I had changed that mindset completely and knew that I would never call someone else my boss again- I was ready to follow the family tradition.

Everything about the business came together so naturally and quickly, that I was concerned that I created a business that only made sense to me. I went to my mentor and told her my concept to see just how far off I was from a viable business. I guess I wasn’t very far from a business after all- She hired me that day and I had no idea she was even planning to open a restaurant. From there, I put in a 6-month notice for the restaurant I had opened as the Chef de Cuisine and began the process of turning my skill set into a business and jumping into the great unknown. I was extremely fortunate with my client. We were published in San Francisco Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Eater, and my business itself had a full page feature in San Francisco Magazine. But that didn’t give me much time to get my legs under me. I haven’t looked back, although have truly loved every moment of running my business- even the really hard life-questioning-soul-shaking-path-turning-stupid mistake moments.

What has been amazing is feeling the support of my family, my friends, and my peers as I venture out into the unknown. Often times I will think that I have a problem that must be because a) I’m a woman, b) I’m not smart enough, c) I shouldn’t be a business owner. I’ll walk into the office and mention the problem to Jordan- who will share a story that reminds me- we’re not alone in this, and we don’t have to be. These problems aren’t because of a, b, or c. This is business and some issues happen to every business owner, and some of those business owners have solutions and offer them up to you. It’s an amazing community amongst small business owners and SheWolf nurtures that community, openness, and support. It’s extremely cheesy to say, but I’ve never felt more sure of “two heads are better than one,” or maybe “two SheWolves are better than one!”

- Shannon Waters, Pilot Light Consulting

You can hunt her down at 

Jordan Lacenski