1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
When I was a junior at Hanover College, I had a summer internship with the Ascension St. Vincent Foundation. Fast forward to college graduation and I accepted a position as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director with the same Foundation. It gave me the opportunity to see all sides of healthcare philanthropy and learn from some of the best fundraisers, mentors, and colleagues in the field. From there I’ve grown into different positions over the years.
2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?
I had worked at Ascension St. Vincent for a year and met a 9 year old boy who lost his mom to cancer. He sold t-shirts and stickers and asked his dad if he could donate the money to help cancer patients. He presented the check and told me about his mom. I walked away with tears in my eyes. It is moments like this that make me choose healthcare philanthropy. At the end of the day I leave work feeling inspired by the patients and families we serve and the donors who want to do good. Not everyone can say that about their job; I feel lucky that I can.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
Healthcare philanthropy was all I had known in my professional career, and I decided to try something new. I remained in healthcare but took a job working for a pharmaceutical marketing firm. I loved the people and the fast paced environment, but missed being connected to a mission rooted in serving others. It’s that experience that reminded me why I love what I do. I’ve since returned to healthcare philanthropy and haven’t looked back.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
When I was 14 years old, I started working at B&K East, a drive-in root beer and hot dog stand in my small hometown. I greeted customers at their cars and memorized and placed their orders. I eventually got promoted to work in the kitchen and make the orders. I worked there throughout high school and into college and it taught me many of the skills and principles I find important today—small details go a long way, always show up ready to give your best no matter how big or small the assignment, and customer (or donor) satisfaction is key.
5. What are your future aspirations?
Continue to learn from new experiences and the people around me, challenge myself to grow in ways that are unimaginable, lead by example, and make a difference in the world.
Find Sara on LinkedIn.