A VP for 'Scene It?' got his start at WWU
Story by Mary Lane Gallagher
Scott Harrington (’98) was about 11 when he and his father, a stockbroker, disagreed over whether Scott should become an artist or a businessperson.
It was the younger Harrington who worried a career in the arts wouldn’t be practical enough.
“I want to be able to afford to go on ski vacations,” he
But Harrington, who majored in Accounting at WWU, got to work in the arts anyway – sort of. He’s the vice president of finance at Screenlife, LLC, a Seattle-based subsidiary of Paramount Pictures that produces Scene It? and other pop culture games on DVD, console, online and mobile devices.
Harrington, WWU’s 2010 Young Alumnus of the Year, recently talked with Window about how he stays connected with his alma mater.
Natural networking: Harrington, 34, was a good student at WWU, but admits he at first felt awkward networking with professionals until he got involved in the student chapter of Beta Alpha Psi. “It did a good job of helping you learn to break down those boundaries, and helping you realize it’s not just about ‘schmoozing.’” Harrington went to work at Moss Adams after graduation and enjoyed coming back to campus for recruiting events, helping other nervous students get their start. “It’s a simple, non-financial contribution that a lot of young alumni don’t realize they have to contribute,” he says. He still stays connected as a member of the Accounting Department Think Tank.
“I just enjoy working with people I like.”: In 2006, Harrington was leaving an Irish pub in Seattle where he had watched a World Cup soccer match when he ran into a beloved former mentor from Moss Adams, who was then CFO at Screenlife. “The first thing out of my mouth was, what are you up to and when are you going to call me to come work with you?” he remembers. “They called me that week. They were looking for a controller.” Within a year, Harrington was VP of Finance. “I just enjoy working with people I like,” he says. “My networking has been more like that.”
High standards: Harrington still thinks about WWU Accounting Professor Stephen Senge when he’s setting his own expectations in the workplace. “He was a very balanced, fair professor, who set solid expectations and wanted to hold you accountable for them,” Harrington remembers. Senge also didn’t hesitate to help students with things like resumes. “His door was more than open,” Harrington says, “and I barely even knew him.”
Never quit the team: Harrington credits his involvement in WWU’s soccer team with helping him succeed academically. “Sports helps you identify your weaknesses,” he says. “And you don’t ignore them; you work on them.” He has continues to support the Viking soccer program and hopes to get more soccer alumni involved.
“I think there are a lot of young alumni who don’t realize how much small contributions could actually help, in masses,” he says. “It’s easy to say, ‘If I only give this much, it’s not much of anything, but if you get the excitement of a big crew doing that, it could be a big contribution.”