Following the June Brexit poll, the minority SNP Scottish government had already quietly begun drafting legislation for another independence referendum.
Sheppard argued that the party needed to make itself "match-fit" for a second independence campaign, and that an internal debate and an outward-facing listening exercise could be mutually beneficial.
The result of the deputy contest, to be decided in a ballot of the SNP's 120,000 members, will be announced at the party conference in October, where the party will also discuss a second referendum.
"We want to understand in detail how people feel about Europe, Brexit and independence".
Ms Sturgeon, who was addressing an SNP away-day for parliamentarians and councillors, said a "double whammy" of two "seismic events" - the Brexit vote and the "chaos and collapse" of Labour - have changed the political landscape.
"By allowing my own experience to be reported I hope, perhaps ironically, that I might contribute in a small way to a future climate in which these matters are respected as entirely personal - rather than pored over and speculated about as they often are now".
"The people of the United Kingdom took a decision to leave the European Union what I want to do is make a success of it". Scotland, however, voted 62-38 percent to remain in the bloc.
Her speech in Stirling on Friday morning took place nearly two years after the September 2014 referendum, which saw Scots vote by 55% to 45% in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland, which also voted to remain in the European Union, is also considering leaving the United Kingdom and possibly reuniting with Ireland.
The Scottish economy was, by some distance, the biggest issue for voters in 2014.
"The UK that existed before June 23 has fundamentally changed".
Last month, the annual UK Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland showed that Scotland had a deficit of nearly £15 billion (€17.7 billion), due largely to the precipitous fall in tax receipts from North Sea oil.
"There are many reasons why women don't have children". Opinion polls taken since that 2014 vote have showed that public opinion in Scotland has remained largely unchanged.
May has spoken out against Scottish independence and promised to involve Scotland in negotiations on Britain's future relationship with the EU.
If the SNP does stare unflinchingly at the way in which the country spends far more than it raises, then Scottish nationalism will have done something its Irish counterpart has not. "I don't think there is going to be a referendum until the first minster thinks she can win".
They said: "A failure to do so, by re-starting an unwanted referendum campaign, would be tantamount to a major breach of trust by the Scottish Government to the two million Scots voters who voted No in the 2014 independence referendum". A motion on a second referendum will be debated at next month's party conference.