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Dirty Jeans & Fancy Suits

Imagine that someone you never thought you'd have anything in common with becomes one of your best friends and an inspiring business person in your life?

That's what happened with my dear friend and Maumee native, Shawna Farnol Bumpus.

Shawna’s tale:

I met Shawna when I was nineteen years old. We went to college together at The University of Toledo. We were rockets. At that time, we could not have been more different. Shawna wore business suits to class. I wore the same thing every day—a sweatshirt and dirty jeans. Somehow we built a relationship based on common interests such as driving around in her car listening to “Verbal Advantage” audio tapes. We loved hearing a vocabulary word, the origin, saying it in a sentence then using that word together all week in various settings— at our sorority meetings, in class, at a bar, or at a frat house.

Shawna is one of the most interesting relationships I have and she is one of the most interesting relationship builders I know. She stood up in front of our sorority at age nineteen and said,

“OK girls, today I am going to teach you about an IRA. From now until you are fifty-nine and a half you will give me money once a month. You will thank me later when you are millionaires.”

So, I did. I’ve been giving her some sort of money every month since I was nineteen.

She was an intern for a financial company at the time and was learning how to prospect and build relationships. Even as an intern, Shawna had the vision to tap into her entire network to build her business. I don’t know who else invested with Shawna back then, but I am glad I did. Since then she has built an amazingly successful wealth advisory business and consistently wins awards. She has a way about her where she listens and is genuinely interested in everything you have to say. I’ve learned a lot over the years watching her interact with people and curiously ask questions about different people’s interests. Although they may be completely different from Shawna, she embraces that knowledge and finds ways to connect, just like she did with me and my dirty jeans back in the 90s.

I am also proud to call her one of my best friends. I still wear sweatshirts & dirty jeans.

She still wears high-end, amazing business suits, but the relationship we have has spanned more than twenty years and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

“Mandi is like an exploding soda: when she sees you she’s delighted. It’s as if she hasn’t seen you in years. She doesn’t let rules define her which makes her interesting. She’s like a favorite pair of leggings, your go-to, the thing you can’t wait to be with. She’s like an awesome toddler: She’s curious. She Digs in. She’s constantly asking questions and wants to know more about the person she’s interacting with.” Shawna Bumpus, Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley.

The above excerpt is from the book: Sales Tales: The Hustle, Humor, and Lessons From a Life in Sales written by Mandi Graziano

The book is available for pre order now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.



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