A marketer with small-town roots but a big-time knack for creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration, Sara Schu’s career path did not initially point to where she is today.
She graduated from Longwood University with a degree in graphic design and excitement to enter the field. However, she quickly came to realize that the design workforce wasn’t the path for her. Rather than be defeated by this realization, she chose to use it as an opportunity to follow her heart and explore other specialties to find the one.
This decision led to her discovering her passion for marketing, and since then, she’s never looked back.
For Sara, marketing provides the community and networking opportunities that allow her to collaborate and build relationships while still using her creative skillset.
As the Multi-Brand Marketing Manager at Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner and Grand Hyatt Washington, her creative abilities, networking knack, and marketing mindset all play an instrumental role in her work.
Along with her love for the projects and work opportunities her role provides, Sara also loves where she works and the supportive environment of the Hyatt community. As she’s recently transitioned into a dual position, Sara highlighted the importance of women in business speaking up and challenging the misconception that they always need to be available to say yes to taking on additional responsibilities beyond their current workload. Setting boundaries is critical. However, it can sometimes be an intimidating step for women because of the perception of how it may make them look.
But as Sara highlighted, rather than this showing women can’t handle a task, “in reality, it’s handling it in the best way with the best outcome for everybody.”
In the age of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as every marketer, business, and association knows, marketing efforts and strategies have had to pivot drastically. This especially applies to industries like hospitality, which were thrown into a loop and in many instances forced to halt operations at the height of the pandemic. The need to implement more grassroots marketing to fully utilizing her network and relationships became increasingly essential during the pandemic. Sara called on innovative problem-solving and creativity to address the new needs of the industry. A challenge that she, and the rest of the Hyatt community, have met head-on.
In a recent Fox 5 interview—along with sharing some of the delicious menu items—Sara spoke to how Barrel and Bushel, a restaurant connected to Tysons Corner’s Hyatt Regency, adjusted their operations during the pandemic. To help keep things running, anytime a new restriction was put in place, Sara and her colleagues would ask themselves, “How can we work around this?”
Through marketing outside of the box and thinking creatively, they’ve been able to host virtual events, plan successful socially distanced activities, and more. Additionally, Sara directly integrated one solution into their brand that she foresees lasting beyond the pandemic, a contactless QR code ordering system.
Sara’s dedication and creativity in marketing have shone through in her work pre and during the pandemic and will continue to impress in a post-pandemic world as well. The innovation and resilience seen in her marketing efforts within one of the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic are commendable.
Her career demonstrates how the path you start on doesn’t have to restrict the road you take. Throughout her time mentoring and collaborating with colleagues across disciplines, she’s seen how different individuals can have a marketer’s personality without always realizing it. And for those who want to get into marketing, she says, “go for it.” After all, you never know where the journey will take you.