Joanna Sabato is wearing a paler shade of black these days but we’re proud of this Oiler who now works as an employee of the Cleveland Browns.
Joanna’s journey to Findlay began as a child whose family moved around a lot. They ended up in Kentucky, which fueled her love for horses. Although she started college there, she quickly determined that being a “small fish in a big pond” was not the right atmosphere for her. She researched other universities with equestrian programs and decided that The University of Findlay would fit all of her needs for education as well as atmosphere.
She enrolled at UF in the equestrian program coupled with business courses. She grew to appreciate the small class sizes and the relationships she formed with her instructors and her adviser, Dr. Dennis Mathern. Joanna quickly learned the importance of having at least a basic knowledge of business and now encourages students to consider adding business courses to their studies.
“Knowing fundamental business skills, no matter what you pursue, sports or any major for that matter; it’s important to have a good foundation of business knowledge,” she said.
Joanna was also inspired by her marketing classes taught by Dr. Chris Ward. She was drawn to this area by the opportunity to combine her love of public speaking, branding and creativity with the potential to work in a marketing position in the equine industry.
During her time at UF, Joanna was most impressed by the opportunities to practice the skills she acquired. Perhaps the most valuable opportunity was an internship at Cox Communications in New York. This allowed her to make lasting connections that would later help her obtain a position after graduation. Another valuable experience to was presenting at a small business expo hosted by the Small Business Development Centers of Ohio.
Joanna, along with fellow business students, had worked to develop a complete business plan for a local company. She stated that the skills and knowledge she gained during this experience were invaluable.
“I learned how important it is to really understand your client; what and how they do things, and then think of ways to help them to increase their business,” she added.
Additionally, she recalled that, “working on this project really gave me a 360-degree view of being on a team.”
Joanna indicated that all of the team members were able to naturally learn group dynamics. including how to effectively collaborate, delegate and meet deadlines.
Of the entire experience, she enjoyed the public speaking aspect the most. She said, “I loved the opportunity to present our own work to such an important audience; it wasn’t professors presenting something on our behalf. I was proud of what we were able to accomplish and excited to share our story.”
GRADUATION TO OCCUPATION
Joanna enjoyed working with athletics and especially loves branding and listening to the voice of the customer. This led her to pursue a marketing related position. It was a strong cover letter and resume that won Joanna a position as a Corporate Partnership Manager with the Cleveland Browns. In this position, “I work with our Corporate Partners such as Pepsi, Sherwin Williams, Snickers, Yuengling, and Ford to develop integrated marketing solutions for prospective partners which will utilize our in-stadium signage, television, radio, digital, and print assets,” Sabato explained.
She fondly credits Dr. Ward’s tough scrutiny and red pen marks for helping her to properly represent her skills and experience. “Many of the skills I learned during my time at UF, I still use today” she recalled.
MOTIVATION AND ADVICE
Joanna shared her perspective on motivation by saying, “We always talk about the why; why do I work? what motivates me? I get a lot of joy out of helping brands get their message out and am motivated by good leaders who mentor me.”
She also believes that it’s important to be a mentor to those around her. She remembers feeling very pressured during her senior year because the path of consistency and routine that students follow all their lives was about to end. Her advice to other seniors is to remember that your first job out of college won’t be your last job.
“Everything changes form as you gain more experience and advance your career,” she said.
Joanna encourages graduates to seek out companies that can help you grow, but more importantly, find something you are passionate about so that you can be yourself and find a mentor that can teach you how to grow.
She has advice for high school students as well.
“Come undeclared and don’t put pressure on yourself. Sample as many different classes as you can that first year,” she added.
As for networking, she expressed that students shouldn’t get stuck in their comfort zone. They need to meet people beyond their circle of friends. Joanna stated that every day is a networking opportunity.
“You never know who can help you out later. At UF you are a big fish in a little pond and there is an extremely supportive staff to help and mentor you.”