Shawn and Megan Pace were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary with a trip through Europe and Africa when the war in Ukraine broke out. The couple curtailed their trip and booked a flight to Poland to offer aid in refugee camps. BYU Marriott School of Business alum Shawn Pace helps meet people’s needs by working shoulder to shoulder with others at the ground level, whether in an executive board room or Ukrainian refugee camp.
Pace graduated from BYU Marriott with a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2010. After several years in sales and business development, Pace began work as a sales executive at human resources software company ApplicantPro, an Inc. 5000 corporation.
Pace returned to BYU Marriott in 2017 to complete the executive MBA (EMBA) program—no easy undertaking considering he and his wife had five children under the age of seven at the time, and they had their sixth while Pace was in the program. He completed the program while also serving in his ward’s bishopric, working full time at ApplicantPro, and supporting his classmates as an elected student leader.
“We gained a testimony that the Lord can expand our capacity,” Pace says of the busy time in his life. Referencing the “good, better, best” principle taught by President Dallin H. Oaks, Pace says, “I didn’t have time for good things. I only had time for better and best things.”
Despite the many demands on his time, Pace excelled in the EMBA program, finishing in the top 10% of his class. Pace graduated from the program in 2019 and soon received a promotion at ApplicantPro.
As Pace works in his current role as manager of the sales team at ApplicantPro, he steers clear of what he calls “looking from the ivory tower,” the managerial pitfall of not understanding the real challenges of employees and clients. “It’s about getting down in the trenches where our clients are and trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” Pace says. “It’s asking, ‘What’s hard for you?’ And then listening.”
Even now, Pace and other members of the executive team at ApplicantPro regularly field inbound support inquiries from clients, the type typically reserved for sales agents. Keeping a pulse of what’s going on at the ground level, Pace manages his sales team not from above or behind but alongside his colleagues.
Pace’s shoulder-to-shoulder approach to leadership prepared him to drop everything and head straight to Poland when a dramatic global need arose out of the conflict in Ukraine. Once in Poland and Ukraine, he again found people with very real problems that he could address.
In Poland, Pace and his wife observed that while basic supplies such as clothing and food were coming in steadily, a large number of refugees, many of whom had fled with nothing but what they could carry in their arms, had no way to carry their new supplies. Ever-focused on meeting ground level needs, Pace and his wife started purchasing all the luggage they could get their hands on, bringing the bags to arriving refugees.
Pace and his wife alternated between Poland and Ukraine for months, continuing their service when they returned home. The couple recently helped a Ukrainian family they had originally assisted in Poland to now receive sponsorship to move to the United States.
In addition to preparing him for professional and humanitarian opportunities, BYU Marriott has also helped Pace develop a supportive network. Years after graduating from the EMBA program, he stays in close contact with classmates. Pace meets every month with a group of his former classmates, representing people from multiple different fields and industries.
Even now, Pace credits much of his success to his time spent at BYU Marriott. “If I didn’t receive the education I did at BYU Marriott, I wouldn’t have the kind of employment opportunities I’ve enjoyed or the flexibility to travel and serve other people,” Pace says. “BYU Marriott inspires me to want to do better and be better in all facets of my life: as an employee, father, and citizen. BYU has made a huge impact on me for good.” Pace, for his part, has made a huge impact on the world for good.
Written by Alec Pope