The Class of 2019

Sally Ekus

Literary Agent and Manager, the Lisa Ekus Group; Age 34
Education: Ithaca College (BA)

Sally Ekus

Sally Ekus

What did you want to be when you grew up? A marine biologist. Specifically, the first marine biologist to live in the desert because, you know, who doesn’t like a challenge?

How do you define success? My clients are happy, I am happy, our agency is thriving, and our community is flourishing with abundance and joy as a result of my hard work.

What are you passionate about? My passion is focused around my family, connecting people in both personal and professional ways, improv comedy at Happier Valley Comedy, advocacy for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the many joys of tacos.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? It might sound cliché to say my boss has been my best mentor, but given that she is also my mother, her mentoring of me runs deep. Lisa Ekus (I call her Lisa at work and Mom at home) showed me from a very early age that you can have it all, professionally and personally. She began mentoring me from the moment she taught me how to label and lick envelopes for press-release mailings when I was just knee-high. Unlike some who grow up in family businesses, I was given the freedom to pursue my own career path. After earning my degree and during a time of personal reflection, I was welcomed back home to an entry-level position at the Lisa Ekus Group while I was figuring out my next career move. I quickly realized my years of licking envelopes and dining alongside Lisa’s clients and colleagues had imprinted an unconscious passion for working in the culinary space. Recognizing my knack for the work, I was given the chance to co-represent two of our top-tier clients for their first book deals uncharacteristically early on in my career. I fell in love with the work and making deals, and was quickly hyper-mentored. Lisa sat with me as I drafted negotiations, and she watched as I navigated my own hurdles. Now, 10 years and more than 150 book contracts later, I am proud to be a partner in the agency and Lisa’s succession plan. Our mentoring relationship has grown into full collaboration, for which I am immensely proud and ever grateful.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? “Sally would be so happy to see this room full of laughter and love! Plus, have you tried these tacos? They are amazing!”

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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