Five jobs. One goal. Zero free time: The JJ Sheffer story, part 3


Working multiple jobs to help promote downtown York, JJ Sheffer is described by her friends and colleagues as a "master networker."

Missy Jones, Sheffer's college roommate and a fellow Central York High graduate, remembers how growing up as Sheffer's friend meant getting to know everyone within shouting distance.

"JJ has always been very outgoing," Jones said. "When we went to the beach, by the end of the week, we would know every person there our age within the vicinity."

Making friends: Jones recalls one situation in particular, when they were about 15 years old, in which Sheffer made up business cards with different fake professions, including "Barbie designer." Sheffer wrote her contact information on them and handed them out to strangers she thought looked interesting.

"You definitely couldn't get away with that nowadays," Jones said, laughing.

But Sheffer's outgoing nature has served her well in adulthood, and that's why, after living in Las Vegas for 10 years, Jones turned to Sheffer for help building a network when she returned to York.

"She introduced me to a whole new group of friends as soon as I moved back," said Jones, who works as a public relations specialist and designer. "She has a really amazing skill of bringing people together and knows who to introduce."

Connecting York: When Leadership York needed a new alumni relations coordinator, executive director Carolyn Warman immediately turned to Sheffer.

"We knew JJ was someone who could connect Leadership York with other organizations in really healthy partnerships," Warman said. "It's really important to have people like JJ help connect people."

Sheffer, an original member of the organization's mentorship program that connects established York business leaders with young hopefuls, now runs the program and has been connecting the organization to numerous professionals, including her friend Jared Ferraro, a designer who formats their newsletter at a reduced rate. Ferraro said being friends with Sheffer has obvious benefits.

"She always tries to connect the best people, and when she has opportunities in her life, she shares them with other people," Ferraro said. "The more work she gets, the more work she shares with her friends."

Sheffer said her favorite thing in life is getting people together "who don't know each other but ought to and seeing what happens."

That's one of the main reasons she loves the world of music.

Coming Tuesday: As her son approaches the next stage of his life, Sheffer looks ahead to the next stage in her own life.