To those who know him, this will come as no surprise. Shawn Farnworth was once Utah Valley University’s school mascot, “Willy the Wolverine.” Not only did he have just the right personality for it — but apparently he met the head-size requirements, too.
“My head was so big, I couldn’t do the flips,” Shawn recalls. “And, I had to look through the mask in order to see and try to keep the kids from pulling my tail.”
Today, as a senior IT security analyst, Shawn uses his energy to prevent hackers from “pulling our tails” at CHG by helping to protect one of our company’s most precious assets — our data.
“My job here is to protect the company’s data, which includes employee information along with provider and client information found in systems, lists, and databases,” he says. “We have threats coming in all the time across a variety of channels and unfortunately stuff leaks out — not maliciously, but through mistakes we make when we fall for things like email phishing attacks, which are becoming more sophisticated and arriving more frequently.”
Obviously, this is a cause Shawn is passionate about. “It’s crazy how much personal information is out there,” he says. “Hackers are savvy and use every method they can to steal your information. For example, we know hackers visit LinkedIn to find your work email address. And from that, they figure out our convention for addresses here at the company, and then they start bombarding our people with phishing emails in hopes someone will take the bait.”
Like a wolverine!
Shawn definitely brings his “Willy the Wolverine” cheerleading spirit to the job, which he’s been at now for six years. He began his career at CHG in 2013, working as an IT project manager. “I knew this was a great company, and I found a great opportunity, so I took it!” Shawn recalls.
When he heard CHG was forming a new data security team a while back, Shawn raised his “paw” to show his interest. “Data security? That’s what I like to do!” he says.
Prior to CHG, Shawn worked in the security sector for a bank during which he earned a security plus certification from the University of Utah.
“I really liked doing data security, but I didn’t have a path to get me there until CHG came along,” Shawn says.
Shawn’s high engagement level is mostly always on display, as evidenced by his passion for various causes.
“I’m on a few committees here, including the IT culture team and the Making a Difference team. Outside of work, I’m involved with the Junior Achievement of Utah and also the Christmas Box House, which I really love. Every Christmas, we go and wrap presents or do something for the kids — whatever they need,” Shawn says.
Someone to lean on
As if you can’t tell, Shawn goes above and beyond to help those around him. However, he found himself on the receiving end of that help after losing his wife, Missy, to cancer in late 2017. During that difficult time, Shawn says he and his four kids felt supported by the company, especially Shawn’s leaders.
“I never felt like I couldn’t take the time off I needed,” he says. “This is the first company I’ve been to where I’ve been treated like a person and they want to know my personal life and help me in my personal life instead of, ‘OK, well you figure that out yourself. This is your job, you’ve got to do it.’”
As if the emotional toll wasn’t enough, the financial burden was almost just as heavy. He turned to the CHG Employee Compassion Fund for help and was granted $2,000, which he used to pay off medical bills.
“It was weird that I was accepting help instead of me giving help,” Shawn shares. “It’s hard for me to accept service or help from other people. But when you get in a situation where you have people at your company that really care for you, it’s pretty cool.”
Through it all, Shawn says his connection to CHG has only grown stronger. “I’m definitely closer to my team now because they’ve helped me so much this past year and did things for me that I would never ask them to do.”
Read more about Shawn’s story and our Employee Compassion Fund in this Deseret News article.