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Your nickname  Ever since I started studying Spanish, I have been given the nickname “Sarita,” which translates to “Little Sarah.”  Your BRAND Hope is not a plan. WOULD YOU RATHER BE AN INVENTOR OR LEADER? I strive to be a leader and an innovator in almost every aspect of my career and volunteer work. BIGGEST A-HA MOMENT?  Having graduated a year early from Sarasota High School, I never thought I would return to Sarasota after college. I moved to Costa Rica after college since Spanish was one of my degrees. While living in Costa Rica, I came to the realization that growing my career and building my life in Sarasota was exactly what I wanted to do.  WHEN DID YOU FEEL HELPLESS?  During my first month living in Costa Rica, the house I was renting was completely flooded during a rain storm and I had no clue what I was going to do. I was 21 years old, living by myself in a foreign country and felt completely powerless. Moving to Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and one I knew I didn’t want to give up on.  The whole experience made me realize what I was capable of achieving and I feel stronger today having made it through it. HAS SARASOTA FAILED MILLENNIALS? The Sarasota region has failed to think outside of the box to create an innovation economy and diversify its population. As a result, it can be very difficult for us to compete for a truly creative workforce. MY HEART GOES OUT TO Embracing Our Differences; kindness, respect and inclusion have always been extremely important to me. YOUR MOST RECENT SOCIAL MEDIA POST? On the @EmbracingOurDifferences Instagram I recently posted a piece of art from the 2009 Embracing Our Differences exhibit entitled “Imagine Peace” for International Day of Peace. WHAT’S NEXT? If only I had more experience I would love to follow in Barbara Zdravecky’s footsteps as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; I hope one day I am able to impact our community the way she has.



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Your nickname  N/A Your BRAND Empower others to change the world.  WOULD YOU RATHER BE AN INVENTOR OR LEADER? While it’s important to develop innovative solutions to address the challenges facing our environment, this will only take us so far. If we’re serious about improving the health of our planet, it is imperative to inspire and empower large numbers of people, particularly young people, to act on these solutions.  BIGGEST A-HA MOMENT?  At the age of 18, I shared with the staff at Mote Marine Laboratory my idea for the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, an event designed to train young people to launch their own ocean conservation projects. Instead of writing this idea off, or asking me to come back in a few years, Mote’s team embraced this opportunity and allowed me to run with the idea, hosting the first Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in 2011.  WHEN DID YOU FEEL HELPLESS?  I had the opportunity to spend two years working on a study of human-dolphin interactions with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. One of the key issues that stood out to me was the impact of improperly disposed of monofilament fishing line. A Mote scientist I worked with, Kim Bassos-Hull, shared an idea to make personal fishing line recycling bins from recycled tennis ball containers. This simple solution gave me hope that this issue could be addressed, and empowered me to launch the Stow It-Don’t Throw It Project in 2008.HAS SARASOTA FAILED MILLENNIALS? One of the challenges I’ve faced with my work in the Sarasota area is the low level of interest in telling the stories of youth leaders who are working to positively impact their communities.  MY HEART GOES OUT TO Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. WHAT’S NEXT? I recently took on a new role with EarthEcho International, managing the EarthEcho Water Challenge program, a global initiative designed to connect people to their water resources through water quality monitoring and equip them with the tools needed to take action to protect their water resources. I’m excited to continue to expand the impact of this program, which has engaged 1.5 million participants in 143 countries to date. SRQ