Interview with Sara Sindelar
Sara Sindelar is a millennial subject matter expert at IBM and has worked on cool projects such as the technicolor dress worn at the Met Gala in May 2016, and has worked with expanding IBM's brand across new technologies. I spoke with her earlier this year and we talked about her experiences with a tech company like IBM and her advice for women wanting to work in any area.
FT: Tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your job and what do you do?
SS: I started working at IBM as an intern about 8 years ago. I always knew I wanted to do marketing after the first marketing class I took at Syracuse University, I was hooked. My IBM internship before junior year turned in to another summer at IBM before they offered me a full time position on a global marketing team. After five years, three of us started a new team that targets the next generation of IBMers and clients. Our team builds brand awareness for the next generation by finding brand amplification projects that are relevant to millennials. I am also one of five co-leaders of IBM's Millennial Corps which is a community of over 5000 millennial and millennial minded IBMers. The purpose is providing a channel for communicating our ideas, suggestions, and feedback and help turn them into a reality at IBM.
FT: Did you expect to do this job? If not, how did you get to where you are now?
SS: I never expected to become a millennial subject matter expert. I was assigned to do a strategic side project that focused on making IBM relevant to millennials a few years ago. I would have never guessed that I would still be at IBM six years later, let alone be solely focused on targeting this audience when I started out. After I started to learn more about the millennial generation and the importance of it, I was hooked on learning more. As me and a few of my peers kept pushing the importance of focusing on this audience, more people within the company started to focus on it. It is important to find the gap and raise your hand to help fill it.
FT: Is there anything you wish you had done differently on the way to your current career path?
SS: I think the mistakes we make is what makes the journey that much more exciting. And the more we can learn from those things we wish we had done differently and not do it again. The most important things that I have learned to do more of now are: more are networking, reading as much as you can on a topic to become an expert and raise your hand for projects you want to work on vs. waiting for them to be assigned to you.
FT: What advice would you give to women about being in their chosen fields or finding their career paths?
SS: 1) Become an expert in areas that are new and growing. 2) Fail fast. 3) Network both inside your company and outside. 4) Raise your hand for things you want to work on, don't wait for people to come to you.
FT: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to tell us about?
SS: I am also getting my MBA part time at NYU Stern which has really helped with my day to day job.