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Meet Carol Farabee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Farabee.

Hi Carol, thanks for joining us today.  We would love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in February 1950 in Lakeland, Florida – the second child and the oldest daughter.  There were eight of us and being number two was always interesting.  We moved around a lot, and I believe that is what made me ‘resilient.’

We did not know much about what store-bought was, but I do remember my Mom was always there.  She was the light on the candle that kept us together in clean clothes and food on the table.  There was not always a lot of food and we made sure the little ones were fed first.  If you have never had a pork and bean sandwich, try it!

It did not matter to me where we lived…as long as they had a library.  That was my true home.  I loved reading and my mom would ask why I read books with small letters.  The summer I was thirteen, I summarized Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  I loved that book.  It is still relevant today.  When I teach business classes and government contracts, I always refer to that book.

A lot of the sweet food we take for granted today – Peanut M&Ms, Atomic Fireballs, Hot Tamales, PEZ candy, Pixy Stix, and Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream – were just getting started when I was growing up.  I was fascinated with all the new products and still get excited about new things now.

My biggest influence as a child was my grandfather John Henry Farabee.  He would walk ten miles to give me and my brothers a quarter so we could go to the movie and see a double feature, cartoon, and one of the cliff hangers.  We could get a big bag of candy for five cents.  I spent a lot of time with him one-on-one and got to know our family history.  He was someone I could talk to and he would listen.

All that changed in June 1962 when we headed west.  There were five of us kids then.  I had three brothers until my sister Cheryl was born in 1958.  The car was full!  We stopped in Albuquerque for a year.  That was my first introduction to snow.  We moved to various towns in Arizona before landing in Morristown, outside of Wickenburg during my junior year of high school.  I graduated from Wickenburg High School in May 1968.  The family moved to the Phoenix valley the day after I graduated.

I started Phoenix College in 1968 but left in 1969 left to join the Navy.  I wanted to get away from home and to have some freedom.  I was stationed in Washington DC, which was the first time I had ever been to the nation’s capital.

In September 1971, I married Gary Williams and settled in Jacksonville, Florida.  Through the next few years, I had my three children: Colette 1972, Gerry 1974, and Glyn 1976.

I started my AA degree at Florida Junior College in September 1976.  Glyn was born three weeks later.  I missed one class and when I returned everyone was surprised that I was back so fast.  When you have your third child, you bounce back faster.  After receiving my AA degree, I went on to get my BA in Sociology from University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

In 1983, Gary and I separated, and the kids and I headed west – back to Arizona and my family.  When we arrived in Arizona the challenge was finding a job with three children at home.  The kids were fine, but it was the dinosaurs that still thought women had to stay home and nurture their children instead of working.

We had some tough years as a single parent household.  We also had some great years: all three of my kids graduated from high school with top grades and started in college.  I became a grandmother!   After the kids were on their way in the world, I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree.  I received my MBA business in 2000.  I caught the “degree” bug and started on my Master’s in systems Engineering the next month and then a Ph.D. in applied management and decision sciences.

I started teaching at Western International University in August 2001.  I was a professor there for Information Technology, business, and leadership courses until December 2014.  During my time there, I became the faculty director for the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society.  Over the next 14 years, I created two more honor societies to the campus: Golden Key and Epsilon Pi Upsilon.  We went from having only 142 students in an honor society to 1500 students during those years I was the faculty director.  While there I was names Faculty Director of the year by Delta Mu Delta, and we also won the Star Chapter award that year.  We beat out over 900 other honor societies.  Very cool!

I was teaching at the university level in the evenings, working full time as a quality engineer during the day, and doing my PhD research in between.  Then, my mother’s health started to fail.  She turned 90 and could not live on her own anymore.  I took in my mom and something had to go.  I decided taking care of Mom was more important and put my PhD on hold.  Currently, it is ABD – all but dissertation.

I started Shyrlene Enterprises, a strategic planning consulting company, in 2011 so I could spend more time caring for my mother.  I was teaching online courses Potomac College in 2013 which worked well with being with Mom all day.  She even sat in on some of the courses I was teaching!

I have always loved writing, so I went to a weekend seminar for “Introduction to publishing.”  I was incredibly surprised at the amount of money they were charging!  So, I started Farabee Publishing.  I work with people that have a story to tell.  The books are in their own words and I encourage my clients to write their feelings, thoughts, and what they want people to know.

Personally, I am just finishing a 23-book western series.  I have several books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I am going to be publishing many more of the books I have written in 2022.  It is time to get them out to the public!

Ironically, being my own boss to free up my time to spend with my mother, lead to my involvement in many other endeavors.  I had my own Radio show called the ‘Expert Lounge’ from December 2014 to July 2016.  That was lots of fun!  I started the Young Writers Foundation in December 2015 and we are still working with and helping young writers.  I became an ASU Venture Devil Mentor in 2016 and worked with them until August 2020.

In 2018, I started the Cooperative Collaboration Coalition with two friends.  We work with and mentor nonprofits and for-profit startups to develop their strategic plan, identify how to measure their effectiveness, and investigate grant opportunities.

During these years, I have found a passion for helping women- and BIPOC- owned small businesses.  I started the Arizona Business Incubator for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and it has developed into partnering with organizations across the US.  I have worked with a lot of organizations that focus on improving society by teaching my grant writing classes at Phoenix Public Library for the past three years.

The newest nonprofit that I am deeply passionate about is New Life Goals.  We are setting up our organization to help recently incarcerated find resources to succeed upon their release.  They need homes and behavioral directions to find their new life in society.

Here are my websites:

  • https://www.youngwritersfoundation.org/ Young Writers Foundation is Platinum on GuideStar.  GuideStar is where foundations that offer grants go to verify you are a valid nonprofit. 
  • https://arizonabusinessincubator.org/ We focus on relationship building, resource sharing, respectful communication, teamwork, and empowering individual action.  Our commitment to the community is to build the bridge that contributes to the growth of social interaction that brings collaboration to the forefront. 
  • https://www.farabeepublishing.com/Farabee-Publishing.html We work with authors to write their stories. 
  • https://cooperativecollaborationcoalition.org/  The Cooperative Collaboration Coalition is a Non-Profit organization that assists the community by providing an outlet for other non-profits to make a difference. Our values are Relationship Building, Resource Sharing, Respectful Communication, Teamwork and Empowering Individual Action.

 

We all face challenges but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Through the years I have been a member of several boards and made the differences in a lot of people’s lives. When we have the opportunity to make a difference it is our obligation as human beings to do so.

We can all give the gift of kindness and it goes a long way. I sit with people, not just organizations, and help them define what their next steps are. Not just in their business, but also what they need to feel that joy in their lives.

We tend to look at what society says we have to be, instead of looking within to see who we are and what we believe in. I love the look on the faces of the many people that I have helped see that they can make the change they have always wanted.  I believe in them and that gives them the courage to believe in themselves.  Everyone needs someone to believe in them.

I was a single Mom for 11 years.  Anyone raising children that says they did not make mistakes is living in a world of denial.  We all make mistakes, but we must learn from them and move on.  We cannot dwell on those times when we wish we had not made certain decisions.  I wish we had more money, but we had enough to get by on.  My children had a place to live, clothes, and food on the table.  It was a dream of mine that my children would conquer the world and be successful – and they are!

There are internal and external struggles we deal with.  There are the unconscious decisions we make based on our past experiences.  I was not going to move around a lot while the kids were growing up like I did.  They are going to have clothes that matched what other students were wearing and they were going to be able to do things and not be stopped because they had no options.  We talked about anything and everything.  There were no forbidden subjects.  I wanted them aware of the world.

I am enormously proud of my children and 6 grandchildren.  They have made great achievements in their lives and it makes me believe that I did the right things for the right reasons when raising them.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I make use of the years of experience I have from working in Corporate America for 29 years, being in the Navy for 2.5 years, and working at the University for 20 years teaching classes in Management, Business, Information Technology, and Government contracts, international business and International Relationships, and law.  I connect with businesses, organizations, and people to work as a conduit in connecting them with the resources and ideas to open door to new possibilities.  I work with them to develop a strategic plan, budget, create a plan to measure their effectiveness in their own terms.  There is no “one plan fits all” when it comes to small businesses.

Most of the people I work with are sent to me by referral.  I work with them to open their minds from a narrow-minded thinking to see what is in the world that is available to them.

One of my books (that I wrote with my daughter, Colette), Don’t Feed Elephants, I give one to everyone I work with.  The idea is that there are experiences in our lives that are barriers for moving forward.  The book is only 21 pages, but it helps people identity those barriers, why they are there, and how to move past them.

I want the clear path to where my partners want to go and to think about the possibilities of more.  Together, we create that ideal world and make a plan that drives them forward.  Whenever I sit with anyone, or meet them on zoom or google meets, I always ask, “How can I help?” I am not going to do it for them; I am going to teach them what they need to know to help plan the next steps.  If a person has the next step, they know where to go.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Never give up and never surrender!  I will work with someone for however long it takes to ensure they understand what I am saying.  They do not have to agree, but if they are moving forward and we are making plans to keep going towards the goal, I will stay with them to ensure they succeed.

It is also important to remember there are times when you need to just listen.  Starting a business, writing a book, or making a change in your life can be stressful.  You are challenging yourself to be different.  Sometimes, the people I work with need to talk it out and get themselves where they need to be.  Listening and encouraging them goes a long way to empowering them to make the changes they want.

I find a lot of enjoyment in seeing my family, partners, and students succeed.  Their achievements are my legacy.  “The greatest success we’ll know is helping others succeed and grow.” – Dr. Gregory Scott Reid

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Image Credits
Analynn and Raymond Scott

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