Former MTV Executive, Brand Expert & Marketing Executive at Medjet
Sheri Howell began her long and diverse career with a 15-year stint at MTV, where she helped to build the platform into the international brand that it is today. Then, she spent a decade building branded content with such notable clients as Sports Illustrated, Walmart and Sony, working with pop icons like the Black Eyed Peas and Miley Cyrus. Sheri has now found her passion in a company called Medjet, an air medical transport company that provides international travel security. The work, she says, is far from boring: “On a daily basis, I watch the company help people at their worst and scariest moments, which has been incredibly rewarding.”
Your father had an interesting career, which resulted in many family moves. Why?
My father was a captain in the Coast Guard, a career officer. He was the Dean of Engineering at the Coast Guard Academy, which is probably the most difficult academy to get into. He was brilliant. He had a master’s in engineering and a master’s in business. He taught at the Academy and designed new ships. While the ships were being built, we lived in Washington, D.C. We also lived in Seattle a lot because he was a captain of the giant Polar-class icebreakers. So, we moved around every four years.
Are your parents still living?
My mother is. She has more energy than I do. Jan’s like the ENERGIZER Bunny. My father is not living; it has been three years. He had Alzheimer’s for quite some time, though.
Where do you live?
The company that I’m working with now is in Alabama, so I live most of the time in Birmingham. My son goes to school here in New York, so I bounce between the two.
Your career has been equally diverse and mercuric. What was your first job out of college?
MTV for fifteen years.
How did the position evolve?
When I was a junior in college at the University of Washington, Hunter College, here in New York, had the equivalent to a junior year abroad. Rather than going to Paris or Europe, you came to New York. They set students up with all the classes in their major, and they provided internships. I was 16-years-old and living on the Coast Guard Academy campus where my dad was Dean of Engineering when MTV launched. My best friend’s dad was the assistant superintendent of the Academy. We found MTV the day that it launched. That night my dad finally called over to my friend’s home and asked, “Is my daughter over there? Can you send her home? It’s three o’clock in the morning.” We were fixated because there were videos all day, and they had not stopped yet. We decided that we wanted to work there. My friend found the Hunter College program, and he went the first year. Then I applied with one of my friends from University of Washington and landed an internship there. When I graduated, there was a job opening for an assistant in the talent relations department. My friend, who was already working there, told the woman who was hiring the assistant that I was graduating. The woman said, “We loved Sheri. She was the greatest intern ever.” So, they held the job open for me until I could graduate. I had switched majors to English short story and poetry writing. I would write all night, and FedEx my assignments back to college because I arranged to leave before I technically graduated. I started out as an assistant to Roberta Cruger. I loved her…