Fervor protagonist, Chief Strategist, beverage test admin and new dad too, Mike brings creative concepts to life as the leader of Fervor. He’s dedicated to helping our clients make impact every day. Meet Mike Farag.
At Fervor, Mike is: CEO and chief of strategy. “My role is really to serve clients and serve creatives.”
Mike’s first gig: At just 10 years old, Mike launched his first company — a lawn mowing business. “I had my dad and one other guy mowing yards for me, but my mom had to drive me to go check on them,” he laughs. “I guess I’ve been an entrepreneur since before I could drive.”
What and where he studied: “I’ve studied human behavior for as long as I can remember,” Mike says, “especially what moves people to action.” With parents in the education field and nine degrees among his dad, mom and sister, college was a certainty. He studied at Kansas State University and Wichita State University on a vocal music scholarship. “But I learned the only two things you can do with a vocal performance degree are sing opera or teach. Music still holds a great place in my heart, but marketing is my second love.”
Early career in technology: Technology and communication always intrigued him, and so during college, Mike worked full time, with roles at Sprint and Cox Communications. He climbed quickly in sales leadership and marketing. “I always got pulled to the marketing side because I seemed to have a unique ability to craft strategies that the sales side loved.”
What brought him to KC: When an old boss from Sprint called to ask if he’d move from Wichita to Kansas City for a new role, he jumped at the chance. It’s been home ever since.
Before Fervor: “I was a self-absorbed, money-focused, title-hungry corporate climber,” Mike says. He rose quickly up the ranks at Fortune 100 companies. But God changed everything: “Through a series of personal challenges, a lot of travel and a number of journal pages, God got ahold of my heart and changed it. Part of the embodiment of that change is this company, not just what we do, but who we do it for and how we do it. To me, it marks a significant, life-changing new life I never had planned.”
Digs Fervor because: “I love watching our clients grow beyond anything we could have imagined,” Mike says. “I look back to The Global Orphan Project, Fervor’s first client . . . there’s no way I could have seen everything they’ve built with just some of the changes and strategies we put in place over there. It’s so cool to help spur so much more impact. That’s what gets me most excited.”
Family: Mike met his wife Kim while on a mission trip in Haiti, and they’ve been married for nearly four years. Today, they’re brand new parents to baby Selah, born in November 2015. “After praying and thinking and dreaming about becoming a dad for the last 15 years of my life, God saw fit to allow me to be dad to Selah.” Mike and Kim also have Rothaus, a German shorthair pointer dog, named for their favorite German brewery.
A community he loves: He and Kim love their church community at Redeemer Fellowship. And they’ve loved connecting in their neighborhood too. “We’ve always felt that where God plants us is where we need to be involved,” Mike says. “And wouldn’t you know, there are people who lived in our neighborhood five-plus years who are meeting each other for the first time in our backyard! I love connecting people.”
Outside Fervor, you’ll find Mike: Currently? “Cradling my daughter,” Mike smiles. He loves exploring Kansas City with Kim, everything from local restaurants to outdoor spots, like Shawnee Mission Park and Westin. And when time allows, Mike loves a good bicycle ride.
Favorite KC restaurant: Since he loves the restaurant scene, it’s tough to pick just one. But Westside Local and Anton’s top Mike’s list. Honorable mentions? Manifesto, Harry’s Country Club, Gram & Dun and Capital Grille (for a stoli doli, that is).
Favorite place for a cup of coffee: Thou Mayest. “The coffee is off the charts, but they do such a good job of marrying coffee and cocktails in a great environment.”
Favorite place for a beverage test: Anton’s, where some of the best craft beer is on draft.
Favorite reads: Like many of his Fervor creatives, Mike’s list begins with Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Other favorites include Tom Rath’s Strengthsfinder, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a compilation of Shel Silverstein’s writing and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Outliers.
Simon says: Fervor clients are no doubt familiar with the now-famous TED Talk by Simon Sinek, Start With Why. Mike is an avid TED Talk fan and happened upon the Puget Sound TED sessions. “Simon’s video had just 500 views when I first saw it,” Mike says — there’s now more than a million combined views across platforms — “and it was a great, easy way to explain the theory of mission, vision and values.” Simon’s theory influences some of how Fervor practices marketing.
What drives Mike up a wall: Good ideas that never get used. People who talk about doing good but never actually do it. Florida State fans. Bad whiskey. And then there’s the Fervor-wide pet peeve — bad drivers.
Fervor wouldn’t be Fervor without . . . Mike’s ability to say no: “We have a responsibility to guide our clients and help them grow. I think we’d just be another agency if we weren’t really good at saying no,” he says. “I wouldn’t be doing my job without helping clients focus.”