In this week’s Meet MEDIA CONNECT edition we spotlight director of the MC Faith Division, Sharon Farnell.
MEDIA CONNECT: Is there a person or event that shaped you to be who you are today? How so?
Sharon Farnell: Growing up on a dairy farm in upstate NY has definitely played a big part in who I am today. There’s no better place to learn about work ethic and responsibility, since the girls were always waiting for you at 3:30 AM! Unfortunately, they don’t take weekends or holidays off, so neither could we! While it was hard work, we also had plenty of laughs and goofing around, whether it was competing with my sisters as to who would finish their chores first to get a reward, chasing cows (and pigs!) that escaped the fences in the middle of the night, or watching a bunch of cows stagger and fall down after getting drunk from eating too many apples in their pasture!
I was also fortunate to have a few people that have had a profound impact on my life, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a special college professor by the name of Dr. Brad Stamm. I was a very shy kid growing up, and I was terribly afraid of saying the wrong thing in class. Fortunately, Dr. Stamm saw something in me that I did not see in myself. He would frequently put me on the spot in class which I did not like at all, but his persistence and constant encouragement helped build my self-confidence over time. Dr. Stamm really has a gift for bringing out the best in people, and I honestly don’t know if I’d be where I am today if I did not have him as a professor.
MC: If you weren’t promoting books, what would you be doing?
SF: I love animals, and I actually used to joke with a college friend about opening a Zoo together! I also have a passion for baking, so perhaps I would open a bakery! Or maybe I could have a bakery inside a Zoo!
MC: Who’s the most impressive author you’ve ever worked with?
SF: I have to choose one? I’ve been fortunate to work with so many different people over the years, but I’d have to say a few of the most impressive authors I’ve worked with have included President Jimmy Carter, Colonel Oliver North, and S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A! In each case, I always walked away wishing I had even more hours to spend with them, and I was so impressed with how down-to-earth and genuine each of these individuals are, even with titles and positions they’ve held.
MC: What do you love most about working in book publishing? Any favorite authors/books?
SF: I know this probably sounds cheesy, but I really do feel like I have a dream job. I love books, and it’s been awesome to work with so many authors that I’m a fan of, and help them get the word out about their new book! I can honestly say that I have been truly inspired by several authors I’ve worked with, and I love that we get to be a part in helping them share that wisdom with others.
MC: Share one humorous work story, feel free to embarrass yourself:
SF: It was my first business trip for the company, I had to travel to Chicago for a Women of Faith Conference. I had to drive the speakers around to their media interviews, as well as be the on-site media contact for the weekend. Keep in mind that this was only the third time I had been on a plane in my life, and I had never been to Chicago!
I pulled up to the front of the hotel and there was a man telling me he was with the hotel and to keep pulling the car forward past the hotel. He told me the parking was $30, and I was a bit suspicious and asked him where his uniform was. He replied saying he was just getting on duty and that he was going to the hotel to change, but to leave the keys in the car and one of the other valets would get it. I started walking to the hotel and kept looking over my shoulder sensing this might not be right, and I hurried to another valet to ask if this guy worked for the hotel. The valet replied, “What guy?” and started running toward my rental car!
Fortunately, the car was not stolen. The valet ran after the man that took my money, who was still standing next to the car. I was just out $30, and I didn’t have to explain to my boss how I had my car stolen on my first business trip! The hotel was very thoughtful and left me $30 after the fiasco. And, amazingly, while I had never driven in Chicago, I did manage to get the speakers to their interviews safely and on time!
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