Shannon M. Burns, Incorporator
Shannon Malone Burns is a founder of the Citizen Participation Institute.
Dr. Burns believes that a strong local government is critical to America’s success as a democracy. To that end, she values bi-partisan efforts that work toward fair and ethical governing bodies at the local level..
A life-long community activist, Dr. Burns’ professional career began as a crisis interventionist working with Vietnam Veterans in Will County, Illinois. Her work lead to a national position in community outreach and program development for addicted adolescents. In 1991, She founded Peaceful Heart Therapies and has been providing wellness services to private clients and consulting services to small business for over 25 years. Dr. Burns also provides consulting and training to individuals, small businesses and professional associations on personal and business ethics, using an award-winning model that she developed.
Throughout her career, Dr. Burns has been involved in helping community groups find solutions to challenges that impact special need populations and community life. In 1978 she helped found Sheltering Arms, the first women’s halfway house in Illinois and was instrumental in establishing a statewide credentialing program for prevention professionals. To raise awareness of the need for safe bicycling trails across Illinois, Dr. Burns bicycled solo from Downers Grove to Springfield in 1984.
In 2015, Dr. Burns lead a successful effort to keep forest preserves in DuPage County separate from county government. Offering voters an actual choice in an environment where one political party is dominent, in 2010, she ran for elected office in a bid to become the first Democrat elected to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Unsuccessful in 2010, she won the seat in 2012 and served two years as the District 6 representative on the Forest Preserve’s Board of Commissioners.
In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work/Community Organization, Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Doctorate in Adult Education, Dr. Burns is a Certified Woodland Steward and active volunteer at the Morton Arboretum, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and the Conservation Foundation. She currently serves on the board of the Wheaton League of Women Voters as well as on the Plan Commission in Warrenville, Illinois.