Buying Into a New Career

Sharon Szymanski

Sharon Szymanski works for Y102 and FM97 in Lancaster as an account executive, assisting clients with meeting their advertising needs. While she's been there for almost 15 years, she said she never envisioned a career in sales, but her classes at RACC have guided her to success.

A single mom of three young children, Sharon knew she needed a quick transition from stay-at-home mom to working mom.

"My dad was the high school guidance counselor at Oley, so I talked to him to see what he suggested," said Sharon, who worked as a receptionist and assistant for a jewelry buyer after high school. "He said, 'Go to RACC. You'll get a great education and not have to spend a ton of money.'

"I listened to my dad and never regretted it," said Sharon. "I loved my time at RACC. It exercised my brain after years of watching Sesame Street with the kids and I met some great people."

Sharon graduated from RACC in 1992 at the top of her class with an Associate Degree in Business Management. Although Sharon said she would have loved to continue for a bachelor's degree, she knew she needed to start earning an income for her family.

Her first job was as an office manager for a magazine, which was sold a year after she started. "Their parent company, Raylon Corporation, asked me to stay, but the only position was in sales. I never in my life thought of sales, but I needed a job so I took it," Sharon said.

Sharon spent several years there starting with telemarketing sales and then outside sales. She said a friend told her about an open position with Y102. Sharon went for the interview and was hired on the spot – and all these years later she's still happy.

"Sales is my number one duty but I also write commercials, design web ads, plan promotions for clients and a plethora of other odd jobs," she said. "My job is definitely not boring."

Sharon attributes her longevity in the field to RACC and said, "I feel that the marketing courses I took really did help me in my sales career. All these years later, specific things that I learned come back to me.

"Not only did I get a good education, but RACC gave me the confidence to go back out into the working world. I felt that I had something to offer." Next on the radar for Sharon, hopefully, is retirement, but she does share some advice for current students.

"My best advice would be to intern somewhere that you think you might want to work one day," she said. "It gives you a step up when you go to apply for a job in that field, but it also may help you realize that you might not like that field after all. Then it gives you time to look at other options."