After receiving her university degrees, Sarah had the opportunity to organize a prestigious luxury industry symposium and award gala. As a life-long lover of fine design, she jumped at the chance to interact personally with designers and gain an intimate, behind the scenes look at the world of interior design and architecture.
Her drive and hands-on experience gained during her years in the industry gave her the knowledge and confidence to establish her own successful firm in 2009.
Today she is surrounded by a team of passionate, dynamic people who speak the language of creativity and share a healthy appetite for fashion, food, design or anything related to the creative world.
Tell us a bit about your career journey to date:
Recession 2009: I was working at a lobbying firm in Paris, overseeing a design festival called Designer's Days which went very successfully. I went on to make great connections and was solicited to represent different designers and furniture companies but when I presented it to my supervisor, I was denied. The supervisor did not believe in design as being a strong enough sector to open a whole branch so I was encouraged to go and open my own firm specifically in this field.
What are your primary responsibilities?
Everything. I am responsible for everything: coordinating between two international offices, managing a team of 16, overseeing about 40 active clients, raising a family with two kids, and fielding thousands of editorial requests.
How is S2H Communication is structured?
There are two offices: one in Paris and the other in Miami. The Paris office consists of 12 employees with a Managing Director, Account Executives and Assistants, while the Miami office is comprised of 4 employees with an Account Manager, Executives, and an assistant.
What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?
I HIGHLY value employees with good moods who bring good vibes. I do my best to be an upbeat and good boss, and I expect the same level of professionalism and happiness from my employees.
Right now I am working on a strategy for one of our Mexico City-based clients for Mexico City Design Week, as well as coordinating schedules with the Paris team for MaisonObjet. I have about 32 tabs open in my brain.
What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?
We've had an amazing opportunity to work with WantedDesign (a niche-specific design festival lasting one week every May during NYC Design Week). We secured more than 250 media clippings for them in all kinds of outlets and publications.
Another great win was securing the FRONT COVER (!) of the Miami Herald on December 31st, 2016 with a beautiful image of one of our clients' projects on South Beach.
Most memorable moment in your career thus far?
Being able to open and (successfully) run a second office in a different country.
Nobody understands what we do. I'm 37 and have been in PR for a very long time and my mom still doesn't fully understand my work.
Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
The Halloween Party that we threw last year in Paris. I wanted to bring a little American tradition to the French team. I prefer smaller, intimate fêtes like this rather than huge parties where you just get lost in the crowd.
I'm not moved at all by any celebrities or famous people, but Terry Cruz (actor from Brooklyn 99) came to one of our events this year.
Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Ugh. There are tons. I literally can't pick just one. It's just something that comes with the territory of being a publicist... so many embarrassing moments.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection - how do you deal?
I am very aware of what we do. I know that we're not going to change the world. I do my best to set expectations from the very beginning with my clients so everyone is fully aware of what can and cannot be expected of myself and my team. We know we are not resolving medical life-or-death emergencies, so I value keeping stress levels very low.
What are three current favorite tools, apps, or products that you love and why?
- All of our press releases are now blasted right from MailChimp.
- Dropbox is a great tool for storage and time-saving.
- Blinkist has summaries of nonfiction books for very busy people.
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
Nobody understands what we do. Either people think I'm an editor or an advertising salesperson. I'm 37 and have been in PR for a very long time and my mom still doesn't fully understand my work. I always need to be very specific when trying to convince a potential client that PR is the best track to take when looking to expand their business because even though there are no guarantees, it's the better alternative to advertising both financially and to bring a brand or business to life.
I highly value employees with good moods and bringing good vibes.
What are you excited about right now?
The design and architecture industry is our niche.
Terrazzo, such a simple material is now being seen everywhere! It was originally introduced post-war but is now making big waves in architecture and design.
Also, I'm excited that navy blue and neon colors (usually not together) have become so popular in the home decor industry.
What's the biggest challenge facing lifestyle communicators right now?
Figuring out what's the best tool to use for business tasks (calls, texts, emails, ravens) and changing tools that we are using every day to be more effective and efficient when completing tasks. We switched from emailing whole documents as attachments to simply dumping everything into a clean folder in Dropbox and sending a link.
On a less daily/basic level, one of the biggest challenges we're facing is ensuring that imagery remains on-brand and consistent with each client.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
Embrace all surprises. You never know what's coming!