COOKEVILLE – Lots of young boys aspire to be professional athletes. They dream of careers in basketball, football or baseball. Cookeville native Brandon Farley achieved that dream, but when an injury forced him to the sidelines, he took up coaching instead. His main mantra: work harder than everyone else.
It’s a philosophy that’s also paid off in business. Farley recently took on a role as an account executive at Zimmer Broadcasting, a media outlet that includes radio stations like 1400 the HUB, 98.5 KISS FM and 94.7 The Country Giant. And his psychology degree is surprisingly paying dividends.
“I’m always intrigued by what makes people tick, what drives and motivates people, and I believe I’ve found my passion and calling in marketing,” he said. “I love being able to help local businesses grow and be successful through innovative and creative marketing strategies. I value the relationships that my position has lead me to, and look forward to my future in this industry.”
Farley took a swing at 12 of our questions as our October Executive Profile selection:
Q: Tell us about your first paying job (either as a youth or adult, what did it entail, how did you land it, etc):
A: Roger Fisk has been a longtime family friend, and Roger owns Growers Solution here in Cookeville. When I was 14, he let me and my brothers work out on his nursery every summer. We would do manual labor all day, every day from 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Planting mums, shoveling gravel, making greenhouses with our bare hands. It was a job that made you want to get your degree and make something of yourself. I’m forever thankful Roger gave us that opportunity.
Q: What did you originally want to be when you grew up? When did your current occupation come to the forefront?
A: Growing up, my dream was to become a professional baseball player. Fortunately I was able to accomplish that goal in 2012 with the San Francisco Giants organization. Unfortunately, I had a shoulder injury in 2015 that ended my career. I moved back home with my future wife and started looking for jobs I thought would best fit my personality traits. When I came upon Zimmer Broadcasting, it was the perfect fit. I couldn’t have asked for a better company and co-workers.
Q: Give a brief history/background of the business and its standing today.
A: The radio station dates all the way back to 1940, which is quite impressive for a country that’s full of innovation and technology. Radio is still America’s No. 1 mobile mass reach medium at 93 percent of weekly listeners.
Q: What civic activities are you involved with?
A: That’s one of the perks to my job. We’re constantly involved with community and charity events. It was really special to be involved with the St. Jude Radio-thon for the first time. My 16-year-old cousin passed last October after a battle with Ewing Sarcoma. It felt good to give back and seeing the happiness on the faces of family members when we raised over $55,000.
I also love the game of baseball. I eat, sleep and breathe it. It’s always been my passion. Baseball taught me many lessons over the years. If you want to be successful, just outwork everyone and take pride in your work.
When I stopped playing, I started coaching because I wanted to help kids reach their dreams as well. I’ll be the first to tell you I was never the most talented player growing up; I just believed if I outworked everyone else I would eventually be better. That’s the approach I try to instill in all of the younger players I work with. I try to change their mindset of how they approach their work, simplify their thought process, play with a purpose, and compete harder than your opponent.
Q: Use one word to describe yourself.
Q: If you weren’t in your current field, what other career path do you think you would have pursued?
A: I would have liked to join up with a MLB team and use my psychology background to help with mental player development. In the Giants organization we had a guy by the name of Derin McMains who did that for us. He was great to have around. Baseball is a game of failure; it’s a mental grind. Playing 162 games in a seven-month span with limited time off can be mentally draining. He would change your thought process about how to deal with failure and adversity, keep you mentally motivated to accomplish your dream, and to not focus on the results as much as the process. I believe your mindset goes a long way into how successful you will be.
Q: How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
A: Honestly, I never drank coffee before I started this job. Let’s just say that has drastically changed. Baseball has instilled a superstitious trait in me. I have my cup of coffee first thing every morning now. If not I feel like my whole day is out of whack.
Q: What is your next big goal (either personally, professionally or both)?
A: My next big goal personally is to buy a house for me and my future wife Katy to start our life. We are getting married in October; hopefully we can accomplish that goal in the near future. Professionally, my biggest goal I would like to achieve isn’t anything materialistic. It’s just to make sure I do my best to put my clients in the best situations to succeed; I feel like if I achieve that, the rest will follow.
Q: What’s something that would surprise people about you?
A: I am an avid drag racer. Racing has been something I grew up in. My dad and grandpa both grew up racing, it’s actually one of my favorite things to do. We have a top alcohol dragster that runs 0-146 MPH in 4.7 seconds. If I’m not working on the weekends or coaching baseball, I’m likely at the track.
Q: Who has made the biggest impact on your career and why? What is the best lesson they taught you?
A: That would definitely have to be my mom and dad. My parents are blue-collar workers who woke up every morning and put in long hours to provide for our family. The most important lesson I was taught was if you want to be successful, there are no shortcuts. You must earn everything. They are two of the hardest working people I have ever met, the example they set for me and my siblings was incredible. I am forever grateful to my parents for instilling that into me, it has helped me tremendously throughout my life.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started your business/career?
A: I wish I would have known more about co-op advertising from day one. There are quite a few business owners who don’t know they can get their advertising paid for by manufacturers. It’s a huge financial burden lifted off your shoulders and you don’t have to pull money out of the business to get your name out there.
Q: Being in the radio business, you must have a go-to karaoke song. What is it?
That’s a tough one. I love all kinds of music but my dad raised me on classic rock. I would have to go with Tom Petty’s Last Dance or Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me.