Shonda Atwater’s passion has always been at the intersection of agriculture and family; and based on her formal education and career experience, her expertise lies in both public advocacy and strategic business expansion. Her knack for marketing creativity, social media marketing, business and sales acumen, and work ethic are only underpinned by her passion for connecting people in the best, most strategic ways.
Shonda is a native of Durango, Colorado and grew up horseback in the mountains. Her families background in the skilled trades, her obsession with horses and immersion in 4-H and High School Rodeo cultivated her passions for agricultural and public service.
Shonda has a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics from Kansas State University (KS) as well as a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and agricultural education from Colorado State University (CSU). She served as a legislative assistant for Colorado State Representative Mark Larson (R) during 2006, and was the campaign manager for Colorado Senator Ellen Roberts (R) who successfully won her first House Race in 2006.
Shonda has spent 10 years in the meat industry, growing successful brands which include Certified Hereford Beef® through the American Hereford Association, Black Angus Beef® with National Beef, Inc., as well as Open Prairie Natural® Pork and Star Ranch Angus® Beef with Tyson Foods, Inc. She has worked a great deal to understand consumer perceptions and using those insights to craft business and consumer messaging both at corporate and consumer levels. More recently, she has used her education and knack for personal connectivity to grow a Registered Department of Labor Apprenticeship program with Metropolitan Community College-Business and Technology campus.
Shonda, continues to stay locally and nationally active proudly serving on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Agricultural Business Council and is a committee member of the Western National 4-H and FFA Roundup event. She also engages with People to People International as well as supports efforts with the Eisenhower Foundation.
Shonda and her husband Merrill, and their two young children reside in Tonganoxie, KS and enjoy the park, walks around the neighborhood and dancing to Toddler Tunes on Pandora.