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Queen of the Green: Shawna Elliott

Trusting her instincts, this golf professional found a passion in instructing children and women.

People  |  Dec 1, 2017  |  By Caitlyn Lopez

Shawna Elliott, '11 BS and '13 MS Hotel Administration. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

Editor's Note: 

This story is part of a series highlighting 50 intriguing alumni as part of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Shawna Elliott’s experience as a PGA Golf Management student within the hospitality program helped guide her to a hole-in-one career. Now Elliott is committed to passing her torch by coaching women and children, and igniting their sense of confidence on and off the green.

How did you get involved in golf?

I was a competitive gymnast growing up, but I got injured. Golf was the one sport in high school where you didn’t need much experience, so I tried out and made the team. I started taking private lessons, and by my senior year, I was one of the top two players on the team. It was a journey by chance, but it ended up being the right fit.

In what ways has UNLV impacted your career?

What allowed me to thrive and be successful was the mentorship I received from UNLV. The golf management program is like a second family that has continued to support me throughout my journey since day one. In addition, having the opportunity to experience the industry firsthand as a student was very influential.

What is a unique challenge you’ve faced?

Being a woman in the golf industry is not very common, but I’ve never seen it as a challenge. I embrace my individuality in the industry and have seen it as an opportunity. As a business owner, I learned to have inner confidence and to trust my own instincts when doing something new or unfamiliar. Taking that leap of faith has allowed me to grow as a person and professional.

What advice would you give to current students?

Find what really excites you and just go for it. There’s always going to be opportunities as long as you’re willing to create them. The more you tap into your inner passions, the easier success will come.