Fox & Friends: Behind the Scenes

Sarah Petty is a nationally known photographer, a best selling author, and CEO of a company called “The Joy of Marketing”.   That’s all easily documented through her incredible work.  She’s also a human dynamo.  To know that you have to meet her.

Sarah is also a member of the board for our CEO class in Sangamon County, IL.  She had a brainstorm a few weeks ago, and committed herself to securing an appearance for two CEO students on a national news show.  Without cluttering this story with a bunch of details, it’s safe to say that Sarah’s passion for CEO, her enthusiasm and commitment for CEO students, and her joy for marketing (her company is aptly named) made that an achievable goal.

The result?  On small business Saturday, Sarah, Claire Martin, and Nick Smith-students from Sangamon CEO-appeared on “Fox and Friends”, a national news program.  Lexy Teichmiller, an Effingham County CEO grad, and I were able to make the trip to New York to witness the whole thing.

We left Springfield at 5 AM the day after Thanksgiving.  After arriving in New York in the afternoon, Sarah, Claire, and Nick talked at length with the producer of the segment.  They went over possible questions and topics and made sure the producer understood exactly what CEO is.  That’s not easy, by the way.  It’s hard for people who aren’t familiar with what we do to truly understand this is for high school students.  Nick and Claire spent most of the day Friday thinking about ways to capture their CEO experience in words, and drilling each other with possible questions and answers.

On Saturday morning, we left the hotel at 5:15 AM, and arrived at the Fox studios a few minutes later.  After being escorted through some pretty serious security, we were shown into the green room.  A producer and intern were busily arranging all the details for the two dozen or so segments that would run on the show that morning, and other guests and staffers floated in and out of the green room.  Sarah, Nick, and Claire all paid visits to hair and makeup experts, and the sound person came in and attached microphones.

During a commercial break, we were all led to the studio, and Sarah, Nick and Claire took their places for the CEO segment.  As we watched the hustle bustle behind the scenes, it occurred to me that the hosts of these sorts of shows have to digest an enormous amount of information each day.  They may host 15-20 segments each morning, covering a dizzying array of topics.   I marveled at the way Sarah Petty used the quiet of the commercial break to make sure Clayton Morris, the host of the segment, understood CEO. 

The energy in the room picked up as the commercial break came to an end, the lights came up, and the group was on the air.  The next four minutes were amazing.  Lexy and I stood just off camera, watching as these three incredible people represented everything CEO stands for.  They were polished, poised, articulate, and passionate about what CEO has done in their lives.  I had a lump in my throat as I watched all three of them “wow” everyone in the studio.

It ended too quickly, and during the next commercial break everyone posed for pictures in the studio and with Clayton, and a few minutes later we were back out on the busy streets of New York.

If you’re a small business person, you owe it to yourself to check out Sarah Petty’s website:  I also encourage you to check out Nick Smith’s photography business:  He holds the record for CEO students in terms of opening a brick and mortar business-he and his business partner had a ribbon cutting the last day of class!  Claire is currently a student in CEO, and I can’t wait to see how her business turns out.

Thank you to Sarah, Nick, and Claire for putting CEO on the national stage.  It was surreal, it was wonderful, and it something none of us will ever forget.