Sarah Au (BBA ‘09) is the brand manager – Brita at The Clorox Company of Canada. Growing up, Sarah always wanted to be a storyteller and has spent her career in marketing trying to become a remarkable one: from trying to save the declining bee populations with Burt’s Bees, to creating a sports marketing platform with the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays, to launching Brita-filtered water bottles. Alma Matters recently sat down with Sarah to catch up.
Q: What have you been doing since graduation?
A: I travelled to Poasito, Costa Rica with Laurier Students Offering Support (SOS) and then headed to Europe for six weeks with my best friend before finally embarking on a solo, year-long journey in Japan teaching English. People underestimate the value of “life experience” and focus a little too much on “work experience” sometimes. My choices after graduation equipped me with the maturity, independence and confidence to find a career I’m truly passionate about. Over the past six years, I’ve worked in brand marketing, shopper marketing and multicultural marketing within the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry on brands like Burt’s Bees, Brita, Glad, Clorox, Jergens and Bioré.
Q: What was the most memorable part of your BBA experience?
A: The close-knit community, which actually is not limited to my BBA experience, but rather applies to my entire time at Laurier. Whether it was intramural sports, residence life, our “Core”, ICE Week or our business club, everyone was so supportive and collaborative, which is the perfect environment to learn, take risks and push what you thought your potential was.
Q: How has your BBA helped you in your career?
A: Participating in the BDO New Venture Competition, ICE Week and taking classes with the same “Core” all year provided me with the best exposure to what working in a cross-functional team would be like. That experience has been invaluable early on in my career. I also distinctly remember taking the course, Communication for Managers, in fourth year and to this day, it remains my most memorable course. We had to produce an hour-long radio show that would be hosted on a global station and your grade was based solely on listenership. This is where I learned it didn’t matter what marketing tactics you used if your content wasn’t authentic and relevant.
Q: What's next on the horizon?
A: I’m headed on a press trip to Kenya in December to see the results of my efforts coordinating Brita’s partnership with ME to WE, where each Brita purchase will give one year of clean water to someone in Kenya. I love seeing brands stand for something more than just product benefits and strive to have an ambitious purpose. I plan to continue my journey as a storyteller in marketing, in teaching and in my everyday adventures, which includes climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro after the press trip!
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