by Breana Swinehart and Kevin Mercado
Lisa Sharkey, the Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins Publishers, shared her unconventional path to becoming a book publishing professional with her presentation, “Transferable Skills: Making the Change from TV to Publishing,” which she posted on Facebook Live here. Sharkey is the 2016-2017 David Pecker Visiting Professor, and this was the first of the two talks she’ll be giving at Pace University.
Sharkey defined transferable skills as “skills you pick up early in life and work to improve [that] will be useful to you as you climb the career ladder—or even if, like me, you jump off of one ladder and onto another.” Her talk focused on the transferable skills she utilized from different points in her career and life and how others can develop and harness these for their own careers.
Revealing personal anecdotes and advice accrued through years of professional working experience, Sharkey explained how she went from being a major player in TV news and handling TV production and development for programs such as ABC’s “Good Morning, America” to becoming a SVP and Director for a major book publisher.
From being a teen that was looking for a way out of a rough social crowd by seeking early-admission into college, Sharkey sought to make every struggle into a lesson learned to help pivot her to success later. Some of the main transferable skills she shared—such as “thinking outside the box… the ability to start fresh… listening to your customers”—are lessons that most people who have work experience should already be familiar with to some capacity.
Sharkey’s later lessons offer more insight for people looking for professional and personal growth. “Concise writing… knowing how to take a step backwards in order to get ahead… writing in someone else’s voice… knowing how to ask for a career shift or change to make it work for your life” were some of the key transferable skills she mentioned.
Additional skills she told the audience to make applicable in their lives ranged from lighthearted “have a sense of humor” tips to managing up/down/across. She also encouraged us to “plu[g] into the zeitgeist” by keeping connected to those around us while still managing to stand out.
In Sharkey’s position at HarperCollins she oversees the acquisitions of over 40 New York Times Bestsellers, including Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes, Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar’s Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, and books by celebrities such as Lauren Conrad, Pat Benatar, and Toni Braxton.
Sharkey leads Book Studio 16, which seeks to connect authors in relaxed, personal, and accessible platforms.
Sharkey used her charisma, sincerity, and candidness to engage the audience and share creative ways to approach the workplace and how to interpret and manage life lessons learned through negative experiences and new opportunities.
We are honored to have Sharkey as one of the well-respected David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professors. We thank her for sharing her valuable insights and knowledge!