How She Got There: Sarah Lauren Allen, Head of Partner Development at Fever

Name: Sarah Lauren Allen

Job Title and Description: Head of Partner Development at Fever

Website: feverup.com

Twitter Handle: @FeverNYC

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

Sarah Lauren Allen: I’m currently Head of Partner Development at Fever. My current job is all about building relationships, so it [involves] running around the city and meeting with and identifying the best partners for our brand who will give the best experiences to our users. It could be meeting with museums, fashion brands, or nightclubs to ultimately pitch and sell the product and hopefully have them sign on.

There’s also a lot of constant sales strategy that’s ever-changing and always adapting. Being in technology, you have to be really comfortable with changing your approach and swapping strategies. A typical day is a lot of meetings and figuring out events. At Fever, we like to always start out every day together to make sure we’re on the same page.

What is the best part of your job?

SLA: There’s a lot! I think one of the coolest things is getting to meet and work with interesting people across all fields, whether it’s an organizer for a large-scale event or an up-and-coming artist. Working with them and finding interesting ways to collaborate and promote their endeavors through our user base is amazing.

A [particularly] fulfilling part of the job is getting emails from users saying that we made their day or helped them find something interesting to do in the city.

What’s really interesting about your career path is that you did not start out in tech at all! What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

SLA: So back in college as a communications major, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do since “communications” is just so broad. I moved to New York my summer after junior year of college to intern in public relations at a boutique firm, and that was my first taste of New York, but I didn’t love that internship.

I graduated in the middle of the recession in 2009, so I think based on that, I pursued different opportunities [than I would have] in different economic circumstances and just took what was available, since jobs were so hard to come by. Through a connection of a family friend, I landed an internship working in the PR department of Cartier. It was my first taste of entertainment and that VIP celebrity world.

From there, I was able to get an introduction to CAA, where I started my first real entry-level job, where I worked in entertainment.

Based on your experiences, what advice do you have for collegiettes (specifically recent grads) who spent all of college focusing on one career path, only to find that it’s not what they want to pursue? That can be incredibly scary!

SLA: Have an open mind, and be willing to learn and absorb as much as you can! Take [any job] for what it is and embrace it. Keep in mind that nothing is forever; there are stepping stones towards a career path.

When I was starting out, did I think I’d be where I was six and a half years down the line? Absolutely not, but I know that every experience led me to the next thing, and it has developed my skill set, pointing me in this direction. Embrace the progress. You don’t need to know all of the answers, but you do need to put in the work.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

SLA: That’s an interesting question! Jumping from entertainment to tech was definitely a risk on my part. Before coming into tech, I never realized how fast-paced and connected it is. You have to be really driven to keep up with it and keep working and know that ultimately, all of the strategy is going to come together. In other words, nothing is static.

Additionally, another shock to me was the cultural transition. Having a role that was deeply integrated in an entertainment company and then jumping into a startup and being an entrepreneur is a huge transition. There was also an obvious difference in resources; in startups, you have to be much more nitty gritty.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

SLA: I personally look for go-getters and people with a great sense of work ethic. I think those are two things that can allow you to go into any company and learn any skill set that you need to. I look for talent based on those factors because you know that person is going to come to work and get the job done and be motivated to meet their goals and help your business or organization.

Someone who is ready and willing to learn and wants to be a part of the mission of the company is off to a great start.

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

SLA: My two biggest pieces of advice [are to] be comfortable with unconventional opportunities that come your way and don’t look at anything as a failure. Every step achieves something. Continue to work hard and put your time in, and that next move is going to come to you. You’re more well-rounded because of every experience.

Be true to who you are and have pride in it. Oh, and being nice can go a long way; never underestimate the power of “please” and “thank you.”
 

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