“Young Pro” Sara Sindelar From IBM Believes in Paying It Forward

As we gear up to honor 2017’s Advertising People of the Year, we did a quick check-in with each of our honorees to get a snapshot of who they are, as well as their thinking on the evolution of our industry.

Our next installment is from this year’s “Rising Star” Sara Sindelar. Sara is a member of the Next Gen Intrapreneur team which has two roles- half external and half internal. Internally her team are co-leaders of the IBM Millennial Corps, which is made up of more than 5,400 globally diverse millennial and millennial minded IBMers. Externally, they get IBM to show up in exciting and surprising new places where they can involve a next gen audience to better engage this population with the IBM brand.

Read on to hear from Sara on her belief in failing fast, IBM’s commitment to diversity, and the creative inspiration she draws from living in New York.
Q: What was the best career advice you ever got, how has it made you better at your job?

A: The best career advice I got was to fail fast. Keep taking risks that are smart but learn from the attempts that did not work well and move on fast. Another piece of advice is to pay it forward, always help those around you. Mentor others just as you are being mentored.

Q: What are the most important innovations impacting our industry today?

A: AR and VR are truly going to shape the potential for advertising and brand experiences. The ability to transport the individual is endless. Though, as much as the industry is becoming increasingly more digital focused, giving users a face to face experience is becoming even more important.

Q: What inspires you to get up every day, and work in advertising?

A: The People. Working around such creative minds that are innovating ideas you can only dream of is what keeps me excited about advertising. The industry doesn’t stop surprising me with out of the box thinking to get individuals to engage with brands. It is more challenging than ever to get the attention of people, so creative ideas have to keep up to continually amaze the industry.

Q: What is the biggest challenge our industry faces over the next 5 years?

A: The biggest challenge is getting people’s attention. There is so much noise out there for each brand to be heard, and it will continue to get even more competitive so the pressure will be on to create the work that individuals want to hear.

Q: Name an ad campaign that makes you proud to work in advertising?

A: Brands have the opportunity to make a stance in front of a huge audience and when they use it for good, it gets me excited about the industry. For example, the Dove campaign, “Real Beauty” or the Ad Council campaign, “Love has no Labels.”

Q: How do you promote diversity within your organization?

A: IBM takes a lot of stances for diversity, and always has since forming over 100 years ago. As a global company with one of the most diverse employee populations, it makes me proud to be surrounded by a variety of perspectives under one brand, IBM.

Q: How do you foster creative and innovative thinking in your organization?

A: It is hard to get out of your day to day routine. Being in a more creative part of the business, we are encouraged to break the status quo but it starts with each of us as individuals. My team tries to get out of the office to be inspired, whether it is going to a museum or checking out an experience in the city. I am lucky to have NYC at my fingertips — you won’t find a place with more diversity.