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Untitled Docume Editor’s Note: Sheryl Borden, recently retired marketing director for the KENW Broadcast Center on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University, was featured on the cover of the spring 2017 issue of CHOICES magazine.

 

 

The article is reprinted by permission.

Sheryl Borden Choices 2017

SHERYL BORDEN

An Interview

 

by Judi Moreo

 


For over 40 years, Sheryl Borden has produced and hosted the popular how-to show on PBS called "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden." "Yet," she says, "it seems like just yesterday when we started the show." When Sheryl Borden finished her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Home Economics and Education (now called Family and Consumer Science), she had no idea she would ever work on a national television program production. Today, the Eastern New Mexico University graduate is producer/host of one of public television's most popular and longest running "how-to" shows. "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden" will begin the show's 41st year and is listed on Wikipedia as one of the longest running shows on television! The series, produced by KENW-TV, the public television station which broadcasts from facilities on the ENMU campus in Portales, New Mexico, is carried on more than 118 PBS stations in the United States, Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico. All show segments are produced in high definition, with captioning for the hearing impaired as well as descriptive video.

Sheryl, herself, is very creative and has abundant energy.  She maintains a beautiful balance of personal and family life, productive professional career and active community service, with more time than most for new ventures. "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden" continues to attract guests from all walks of life and from all parts of the country. Viewers often comment that "meeting these guests via their television" has opened a new world for them. Besides offering current, informative topics, career opportunities are often featured which appeal to persons interested in changing jobs or to those just entering the job market. As a guest on Sheryl's show numerous times, I have always been amazed at how down to earth and warm she is as well as being one of the best interviewers I have ever worked with.

 

In addition, Sheryl Borden is a busy wife, with three grown children and two grandchildren, and she knows the importance of applying to her own life the organizational principles
she preaches. She is very involved in several local civic clubs, served as president of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (for two terms), as well as being a past state president of her sorority. Professional associations include membership in Altrusa International where she served as Governor of a 4-State District and General Federation of Women's Clubs.

Sheryl has been honored by the New Mexico Family and Consumer Science Association as "Friend of the Family," an award that is presented periodically for outstanding service to the family unit. She also received the "Warm Heart of the Sunbelt" award from the Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her community volunteerism and longevity of service; was selected the recipient of the prestigious Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women; was named among the Outstanding Young Women in American Colleges and Universities; was featured in the New Mexico Business Journal as one of the "10 Best Dressed Businesswomen in New Mexico.”

 

She has served as a spokesperson for several national businesses and regularly presents speeches, seminars and workshops for both adults and youth groups. The saying: "If you want something done right, ask a busy person to do it," certainly applies to Sheryl Borden. She enjoys the challenge of producing and hosting "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden" and enjoys hearing from viewers about the show. Fan e-mail confirms that "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden" meets the needs of today's active and involved families. Hopefully, it will continue to do so for many years to come.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Portales, New Mexico, appear on four of Sheryl's shows, and spend time with her. While there, I asked her the following
questions.

 

How did your career as a television personality begin?

When I finished my bachelor's degree from Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, in 1968, I was hired by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to work as Extension Home Economist for Roosevelt County. During the time I was employed, I started working on my masters' degree and met Don Criss, who had just returned to ENMU from Odessa, Texas, where he had been working in commercial television. Don was taking a class where he needed to direct a 15-minute television show and since I presented live programs for clubs, classes, and other groups, we teamed up to fulfill his
class requirement. Although there was not a television station in Portales at that time, we taped the 15-minute shows in the Home Economics Department building on the campus of ENMU. The show was called "You Should Know." Don directed and taped the show, and I was host and demonstrator. The show was black and white and aired on closed circuit television - and probably not watched by anyone except our families and Don's instructor! (And, he made an "A" by the way!)This experience opened up an entirely new and exciting field for me. I had given birth to my oldest son in 1970 and decided to stay at home for a
while with him. When I did decide to go back to work, KENW had been built on the campus, and Duane Ryan was (and still is) the Director of Broadcasting and Don Criss was Director of Production. I approached Mr. Ryan about doing a 30-minute television show geared to women on various aspects of home economics - clothing, foods, fashion, health, child care, and much more. He was always receptive to my ideas, but simply did not have the money to pay me. I continued to come up with new ideas every two or three months, and he finally agreed to hire me part-time to produce and host a show we called "The Creative Woman." Rather than me doing the demos, I invited experts and representatives to come to Portales to tape shows with me and I interviewed them. 

 

Eventually, the show was picked up by KRWG in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and then several months after that, KNME, the public television station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, started carrying the show. We offered free handouts at the end of each show, and the response was overwhelming. Mostly, it confirmed that people were interested in these types of programs. Sometime after that I submitted a preview show to the Rocky Mountain Television Network in Denver, Colorado, to see if they might be interested in distributing the show to other PBS stations across the country. We had hoped they would agree to airing 13 shows a year - however, they came back with an offer to air 52 half-hour shows a year! At that time, we changed the name of the show to "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," which allowed us to focus on additional topics as the need arose. The show is now distributed by WestLink in Albuquerque, and I produce two 26-show series each year.

 

It looks glamorous ... your life ... as the host of your own television show? Do you feel like you lead a glamorous life?


I have always felt very blessed to have this job and to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many talented people from all over the country. It's also very gratifying to
hear from viewers who tell their stories about how the show has helped them in different ways. And, last but not least, I like being a part of the "good" that television can do for people and that we all can be proud to be associated with. It's also fun working
with college students who make up the crew for the show. I still hear from many of them via Facebook and email. I love hearing how KENW and the staff here have played a huge roll in their lives.

Who influenced you?


My goal in going to college was to get a degree and be able to get a job with the Cooperative Extension Service. I was in 4-H from the time I was 9, and my sister was my 4-H leader. My mother was very active in one of the Homemakers' Clubs where we lived in Texas. I knew that 4-H had taught me a lot and influenced me in many ways and I wanted to share this same experience with other youth. Since our county only had one female agent, I eventually was hired to be the 4-H agent for girls and the Extension Agent for the adult homemakers' clubs. What inspires you? I love to learn and each guest has something interesting and educational to share with me and with our viewers. What have been the biggest surprises you encountered doing a show on Creative Living? We have always been amazed that so many major companies are willing to send their spokesperson(s) to be on the show - at their expense because we do not pay guests to appear on the show. We also do not charge an appearance fee. I have also been so fortunate to work with both local and national companies to furnish small and large appliances and furniture for the sets that we use. Our show has three sets - a living room set for interviews, a dining room area for some interviews, most demonstrations, and a complete working kitchen for all food-related segments. What have been your biggest challenges? I used to worry that one day I might "run out" of people to be on the show, but, fortunately, I stay booked about six months in advance. The internet has made it so much easier to contact companies, authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, etc., about the show and to see if they have interest in coming to Portales to tape.

What one thing do you wish you had known earlier in your career?

 

I have no regrets with the path my life has taken because I was the first person in my family to go to college and I did so because I recognized that even in the late 60's, one
needed a college degree to get the better jobs. I was prepared to teach if that was "in the cards," but I truly wanted to work for CES, and was so pleased when I was hired right out of college. As I said earlier, I was responsible for both the adult homemakers' clubs and the 4-H youth clubs in Roosevelt County. When I resigned after seven years, I was approached by the CES-NMSU about going to work in neighboring Curry County with only the adult program to be responsible for. I did this for over a year, but decided I didn't want to have to travel all the time since I had my young son. Had I not agreed to help Don Criss with his class project when we were both working on our masters' degrees, I would never have known that working in television
might be something I could do from where I lived. When I talk to young people through classes or workshops, I always encourage them to be risk takers and to not turn down any opportunity that would provide a new experience for them - whether they got paid for it or not.

What is your proudest moment?


The birth of my son, Rob, and the many experiences we've shared through the years. He has accomplished so much in his life and career and he always credits his dad and me for providing
a great childhood, travel opportunities, a chance to go to an Ivy League university, and showing never-ending support for whatever he was involved in. That certainly makes me proud.We also adopted twins, a boy, Michael and a girl, Melissa, when they were 4, and it's been exciting to see them grow up to be responsible adults. I also have two adorable grandchildren,
a 15-year-old grandson, Dillon, and a 9-year-old granddaughter, Kelsey. I love being a part of their lives.

What was the most important decision you ever made?

To go on a blind date with a young man when I was a freshman in college. Fourteen months after we met, we married and recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

What's the best advice you were ever given?


Always be thoughtful and kind to everyone regardless of who they are or what position they hold. Everyone has something worthwhile to share - if you let them and treat them with
respect.

What advice can you give to someone who would like to be a television talk show host?


Go to school, learn all you can, and try to get opportunities to work in your chosen field because you may find you don't really like it. It’s as important to learn what you don’t
want to do as it is to learn what you want to do. Then, work harder than anyone else, never take shortcuts and be willing to listen and learn from your "elders," mentors,  bosses and even co-workers.

Where to from here? What would you like to do next?


Although I'm semi-retired as of April 2017, I will continue to produce and host "Creative Living" as long as the station wants me to. I will work quarter-time which will still leave
me lots of time to travel or take on volunteer work, do crafts which I love to do - and share adventures with my grandchildren.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and advice with us. I know our readers enjoyed learning more about you and if they aren't already watching your show, they will be
fans of yours very soon. You are truly a person who sets the example for the rest of us on how to embrace “Inspired living.”

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