How I Got Here: Journalism fuels storytelling passion for SIFMA’s Michael Sherman

Michael Sherman shares the book that changed his life.

Michael Sherman

Michael Sherman is the chief communications officer at the SIFMA Foundation, where he drives initiatives to advance youth financial literacy. Working closely with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the CCO gained expertise navigating high-pressure media environments. As press secretary, Sherman contributed to rebuilding and redefining New York City. The experience helped shape Sherman’s approach as a leader and stay poised under pressure.

My first comms job was: 

As a journalist with Bloomberg News. Reporting on the media and entertainment sectors, I developed a passion for storytelling and a deep respect for the power of clear, impactful communication. I learned the importance of accuracy and the impact of words, which have guided me throughout my career. 

The moment I’m proudest of in my entire career is when I: 

Had the privilege of working on the press strategy for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan following the tragic events of 9/11. As a press secretary in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, I had the opportunity to contribute to rebuilding and redefining New York City, which was both professionally and personally rewarding. As an immigrant to America, serving the Mayor of New York during this pivotal time held special significance for me. 

A tool or a piece of software I cannot live without is: 

A cocktail! Establishing a personal connection with reporters significantly boosts your chances of garnering press coverage. Face-to-face meetings in a casual setting help build trust and rapport, making it easier to collaborate on stories. As an early mentor once said to me, if you’re pitching a reporter you’ve never met then you’ve already failed. 

One piece of advice I would give other people in my profession is: 

Always stay curious. The field of communications is constantly evolving, and staying ahead requires a commitment to continuous education. On occasion, young people starting out in PR ask me for advice: I always say, ‘Read the Wall Street Journal every day.’ If you don’t understand how money works, you don’t know how the world works.  

A book or song that changed the way I think about my career is: 

Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.” Growing up in Philadelphia, I wasn’t much of a reader. All I cared about were the sports pages in the Philadelphia Daily News. One day as a business major in college, however, I picked up this book and it changed my life. Hemingway’s writing style taught me the value of clarity and simplicity. The emotional depth of his work also reminded me to always seek the human element in every story I tell. 

 A lesson I learned the hard way:  

Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” No matter how well-prepared or strategic one may be, unforeseen challenges and setbacks can disrupt even the best-laid plans. It’s not how you fall; it’s how you get back up.  


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