Sabreena Sorrell is the first to admit she’s got a lot of interests. From horseback riding to jewelry making to bouldering, Sabreena loves trying something new. Her curiosity has propelled her from New England to the Midwest, from one industry to the next, and landed her in the ever-changing world of marketing.
The opportunity to lead a whole department of strategy-minded people, help great organizations do good in the world, and help the people around her grow is what led Sabreena to become Well Done’s first-ever vice president of strategic services. We sat down with her to hear all about the knowledge and skills she’s gleaned along the way.
Q: So, Sabreena, tell us a little about yourself.
A: Well, I’m originally from Vermont. Music and the arts have always been a big influence in my life. My Mom is a French teacher. My family was exposed to a lot of different artistic endeavors. I’m definitely a concert-goer, when it’s safe. I also grew up doing martial arts—I’ve got a black belt in taekwondo. I grew up studying that with my dad and my brother.
Q: What led you to Well Done’s door?
A: My background is in design—I’ve always been interested in creative ventures. I started my career in sales at a small family-owned business. I was their lead salesperson and they knew I had a design background, so I ended up redesigning their website. I enjoyed both sides of that role so much that I looked for something in between and landed in marketing. In my first marketing job I learned about the product life cycle from sourcing to designing to bringing a product to market. In the next, I learned all about product marketing. After that, I joined Pivot, where I learned about foundational audience motivators around marketing plans, I led focus groups and market research and a lot more. That led me to TrendyMinds, where I learned how research informs complex marketing campaigns. And then I found my way to Well Done!
Q: You’re Well Done’s first VP of Strategic Services, which is super exciting. How are you thinking about your role leading this new department?
A: I would love for strategic services to be seen as a comprehensive approach to problem solving. I approach strategy through a human factor lens. A human factors approach considers the relationships between people and their interaction with the everyday. First understanding what their relationships are, and only then seeking to improve the interaction. What that looks like in marketing as a whole is beginning our strategy by understanding our clients’ role in their customers’ lives.
Marketing strategy should be seen through the multiple lenses at play in each interaction—I think of them in three prongs. First is your audience: you have to understand your customers, those consumer personas, their motivations, and their needs. The second is the process: what are the commonalities both environmental and organizational, those common threads in experiences. That third prong is critical thinking: solving the problem at hand through an objectives-focused approach and how do we solve the problem at hand through the creative process.
There’s a more nebulous goal I see for myself at Well Done. Strategic thinking isn’t just limited to the role of digital strategists. You don’t need “strategy” in your title to propose collaborative approaches across internal teams. I hope to empower everyone at Well Done to see more ways of taking a human factor lens to our creative approach and to identify opportunities to think more strategically.
Q: Are there particular experiences or roles you’ve held that have helped you see things this way?
A: Honestly, my design background has been a big part of this. The creative process has helped define the way I think about how to approach problem solving and strategy. Creative work isn’t just about the tactics, it’s a way of building solutions, thinking through goals and applications through the eyes of the end user.
My market research experiences, talking to consumers, and seeing the play out of consumer personas in planning has also been a big part of my approach. It helped me see things through the human factors lens and has really influenced the way I think about strategic planning as a whole.
Q: It seems like you’ve gained a lot from every role you’ve taken on. What’s kept you going?
A: A sense of curiosity. Whether it’s meeting a new person or learning about what makes people tick, how systems work together. It keeps things interesting and fresh and piques my curiosity. Every day I’m learning something new—about electrical systems, steel forming, trucking. I feel very lucky that I’ve gotten to work such great clients with over the years and across industries. It’s certainly made my career more interesting!
Q: So learning new things is a big part of your life. What else are you learning about right now?
A: I’m working on my Korean language studies! And refreshing my French. I’m traveling to France at the end of year. I’m working on jewelry making and a lot of crafting. There’s something about immersing yourself in working with your hands that is really fulfilling for me. I’m starting to do some embroidery. I cross-stitched as a kid, but this is a whole new medium. It’s a meditative thing for me. I love interior design. I’m looking to learn watercolor painting. Cooking and creating new recipes and figuring out family recipes myself. And bouldering! I just joined North Mass boulder.
Q: Is it fair to say you’re a hobby collector?
A: Absolutely. I love trying new things. Am I super disciplined about it? No. But I enjoy it!
You’re in good company here.