Pyramigo Profile: Sarah Starr
An Interview with our Education Project Manager
So, first off, where are you originally from?
I am from just outside of Boston.
Awesome. What did you do before coming to Pyramid?
Before moving to Seattle and joining Pyramid, I was living in New York City. I worked in communications and development at a legal nonprofit organization called the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), and before that I did communications, marketing, and business development at a global law firm. Prior to that, I lived in Washington, D.C., where I worked on Capitol Hill and did some freelance reporting, writing, and fact-checking.
I loved New York, but I was looking for a change of pace, so I packed up my life, road-tripped across the country, and arrived in Seattle in November. Then I found Pyramid!
Tell me about your experience at the legal nonprofit. What kind of work were you doing?
NCLEJ works with low-income people in class-action litigation to further economic justice. They do policy work and impact litigation around issues such as access to health care and food stamps, racial justice and civil rights, and workers’ rights.
They do incredibly important work, and I was able to help them launch their new website, increase their social media presence, release their annual report, and expand their email marketing efforts. I also did grant-writing and fundraising, and helped put on their annual fundraising dinner.
How cool! That sounds like the kind of work we often do with our clients. Speaking of, what is a typical day like for you here?
As the project manager for the education practice group at Pyramid, most of my time lately has been spent working with Papagei Learning and Education Commission for the States. These projects involve a lot of editorial work, as well as project management and strategic planning, as both are launching new, large-scale efforts. It is interesting and constantly evolving.
Interesting! So, with these two projects in mind, what has been one of the most important lessons you have learned so far?
I came in right as both of these projects were launching, so I just had to dive right in. I am still learning and discovering every day, but I think one of the biggest things I have learned is to not be afraid of having an opinion. While the client ultimately has the final say, it is important to remember that they have chosen to work with us for a reason—for our creative ideas and communications expertise.
Great point. What kind of client work interests you at Pyramid?
I am interested in working with more organizations focused on social justice, and I am also interested in expanding my own base of knowledge overall. I really enjoy writing, editing, and general content creation and strategy, but I am always interested in learning new skills and taking any opportunity to think creatively.
What do you like about working here?
There are so many smart and interesting people here. It is great to be able to get different perspectives from people who are all very creative and communications-minded, but also come from different backgrounds and with different focuses. It is also nice that if I have an obscure grammar question, there are at least five people I can ask.
So, did you always see yourself working in the nonprofit world in some capacity?
I have had such a wide range of jobs—I have worked for nonprofits in the past, but I have also worked in politics, media, the arts, and for a corporate law firm. I feel like I am continually drawn back toward the nonprofit world because I like to know that the work I am doing is having a positive impact. It is easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of your day-to-day work life, but when you can look at the bigger picture and feel like you have contributed to something—that is good for the soul.
That is a great way to put it. Work aside, what do you like to do for fun?
I have been really enjoying getting to know Seattle and being able to go hiking and get out into the wilderness. That has been a really nice change of pace. I like to travel, even if it is just a weekend road trip. I make jewelry and I read a lot. I recently joined a feminist book club.
Oh yeah, what are you all reading?
We are currently reading Janet Mock’s memoir, “Redefining Realness.” She’s a journalist and transgender rights activist.
Awesome. What kind of jewelry do you make?
I do mostly bead and wire work, although I did take metalwork and glasswork classes in college. I have sold my work on Etsy and at craft fairs, but currently I am mostly doing it as a hobby. I have recently made wedding jewelry for two different friends.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Washington University in St. Louis where I studied English with minors in anthropology and American culture studies. I also worked for the campus radio station, where I hosted a show called Plastic Fantastic Radio (named after a Jefferson Airplane song).
Neat. So last question – where do you get your news from?
Around the time of the inauguration, I got a daily print subscription to The New York Times, so I take the front section on the bus with me every morning and read that. I am also a big fan of the crossword puzzle. The rest of my daily news consumption is more sporadic and haphazard; I usually check Politico, The Washington Post, Jezebel, and New York magazine.