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How She Got There: Sara Mitzner, VP of Creative & Branding at Swimsuits For All

Name: Sara Mitzner
Age: 34
Job Title: VP of Creative & Branding
Job Description: At Swimsuits For All, Sara provides creative direction and idea conception on everything from public relations, social media and marketing campaigns to photo shoots and videos to brand assets for their private label swimwear. She is a key player in securing long-term strategic ambassadorships with talent, specifically brokering an exclusive contract with supermodel Ashley Graham. Sara has created three highly successful ad campaigns featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, each garnering billions of impressions and many noteworthy press mentions. She has produced several viral videos, most notably “Curves In Bikinis” and “Beach Body. Not Sorry.” each with over 2 million organic views on YouTube alone.
College Name/Major: University of Michigan/English Language and Literature
Website: www.madamemitzner.com
Twitter Handle: @madamemitzner
Instagram Handle: @madamemitzner

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

SM: There is no such thing as a typical day. There are days when I’m in back-to-back meetings, and other days I’m riding a camel in Morocco producing a marketing video. Essentially, I set strategy (PR, social media and brand strategy) for Swimsuits For All. We always start with “what do we want to say this year that speaks to who we are as a company?” and plan content and creative accordingly. Then we figure out how we can get the world to talk about it. That happens in a lot of different ways. Sometimes sitting in long meetings and sometimes on the back of a camel.

What is the best part of your job?

SM: The women. The women I work with (and the men too), the women we inspire with our campaigns and our customers.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

SM: I was an assistant to the Fashion Director at O, The Oprah Magazine. I got that role the old school way—I was an unpaid intern at the magazine for almost a year. First one in, last one to leave, worked most weekends. Including one time when I slept in the Secaucus train station because I missed the last train back to New Jersey, where I was living with my parents. Luckily I worked in a fashion closet, so I had something to borrow to wear the next day. When my internship ended, I freelance-assisted some stylists I had met while at the magazine who had seen my work ethic and gave me a great opportunity to work with them. When an assistant role opened at Oprah, I was told I was the first person that came to mind. I made an impression as an intern that led to a job.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

SM: “Nobody cares”—no one sees the blood, sweat and tears or the time you had to drive two hours at midnight back to the office because you forgot an important swimsuit for the next day’s photoshoot. They only see the end result. I’m human, but I try to focus on the work (eyes on the prize) instead of how I feel about it or the politics and drama it inevitably takes to get there. Worrying in itself is pointless, but worrying about anything other than the work is even worse.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

SM: Not understanding what authority I had in my role. There was a photoshoot early on in my career, and the weather was horrible, but I didn’t understand that I had the authority to call it a rain day, take a small financial hit and reschedule. I took the “get it done no matter what” approach. We shot in the rain, the pictures turned out awful and we had to pay for a full re-shoot day. My boss at the time didn’t understand why I didn’t cancel the shoot to begin with. I had cost the company money because ultimately, we had to do the same photoshoot twice—all because I wasn’t clear I had that authority. I now always make sure I have a clear understanding of the decisions I can and can’t make concerning money or otherwise. I should have just asked.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

SM: Walking on stage to the “Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground to receive PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 award. I’m still so honored to be named on that list alongside the esteemed company in my field for the work that I’ve done in marketing.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

SM: I often look for bright people who have done their research and are fans of the brands over direct experience. Creativity is so subjective—even direct experience isn’t as valuable as a passion for our company ethos and general common sense. Everything else can be taught.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

SM: Millennials have such a bad rap for being entitled, so for Generation Z, the only place to go is up. Send thank you notes following interviews, research the company and individuals you are interviewing with, speak specifically, not generally, and if you’re lucky enough to get a job, work your butt off—the “no task too small” mentality goes a long way.

What’s the one thing that’s stood out to you the most in a resume?

SM: Formatting. If I can’t read it, I won’t. You don’t need to put every single little thing you’ve done on there. I only care if you were an elementary school crossing guard if it’s relevant— and it rarely is. If possible, add metrics. We live in a data-driven world, so any kind of proven success is always a good thing.

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Amanda graduated from Carthage College with a Bachelor's degree in both Communications and Public Relations. She also proudly served as the Editor in Chief of her college's Her Campus chapter, and as a Her Campus Editorial Intern. She is from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. Today she can still be found furiously tapping away at her laptop keys and producing content for the internet. In her spare time she enjoys reading books (before watching their Netflix or movie adaptions), running for fun (yes, it can be fun) and spending time with her friends and family.
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