2022 Women in Print and Promo: Sarah Goshgarian Unruh, OrderMyGear
SARAH GOSHGARIAN UNRUH
Vice President of Business Development
A “perfect storm” is how Sarah Goshgarian Unruh describes the confluence of circumstances that launched her promo career. The mom of three, with one on the way, was about to relocate from New Mexico to Texas, vacating her role as education administrator for The New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch.
“At the time, I had no idea what was coming my way,” she confessed.
But Unruh did know that finding a job in the education field would be challenging due to time, pregnancy and her lack of state credentials. She also had enough self-awareness to realize that being a full-time, stay-at-home parent wouldn’t fulfill her. So, she became the student and channeled her entrepreneurial energies into learning a new field.
Unruh reached out to one of her former sorority sisters, Nicole Gallardo, who owned a promotional products distributorship called LogoBoss. After spending 24 hours together, talking and exchanging ideas, Unruh launched 4G Events & Promotions — a business she continued to run on the side while taking on various marketing and education jobs.
After a move to Austin, Unruh worked as a global account manager alongside her friend and Proforma Professional Business Solutions Co-Owner Bethany Brevard. She was later recruited by industry supplier Logomark, where she spent three years as regional sales manager and, ultimately, vice president of sales, before joining OrderMyGear.
Unruh is currently OMG’s vice president of business development. She serves as an internal resource “for all things in the promo space.” Externally, her mission is to grow awareness about OMG and its online store platform, along with creating strategic partnerships with national accounts. But, no matter her title, she’s a teacher first.
“I thrive off the various opportunities to educate suppliers and distributors alike as to how easy the OMG application operates and how we are a sales tool/resource for their business,” Unruh said.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
This is a tough question to answer — kind of makes me tear up. There are two moments in my career that I am the most proud of at two different stages of life. For my first teaching job at 23, I taught math in a charter school. My classes were primarily made up of students who were awaiting trial, dropouts, pregnant teens or kids stuck in the system. That year, I attended graduation to watch the few that achieved the graduation requirements walk the stage. When Robert walked the stage, he hugged me, and said, “Thank you, I would not have been able to do that without your help.” He was the first person in his family to graduate.
The second was post-divorce. Although I had always worked, I was never the primary breadwinner and my jobs were really just that ... jobs. I found myself with the opportunity to build my career. It took time, it took leaning into my relationships and trusting myself. When the opportunity presented itself for a vice president role, I instantly applied. After a round of interviews, I was offered the role. I will never forget how I felt on that flight home. I literally went into the bathroom and did the happy dance. All my “jobs” finally paid off because of my hard work and dedication.
On Working in a Traditionally Male-Dominated Industry
It’s sad to say, but I feel like there are challenges I face. These can come from internal or external encounters. I often find myself in conversations or am asked questions that make me wonder if we would be having this same [talk] if I was a man. I have learned to instinctively trust my gut as to who is a friend or foe. I tend to drive conversations back to business unless it’s a conversation about a topic [on which] I have a foundational knowledge base. When sitting around the table with primarily men, I have adjusted my answer to be very straightforward, removing the fluff.
Who Inspires Her
My mother has always been my inspiration. She was a former executive then turned teacher that somehow balanced [motherhood] and an accomplished career many times over.
Her Job Advice to Women
One-hundred percent go for it. There are so many supportive women and men in this industry that truly want you to be successful — lean into those relationships. Two words of advice: No. 1, educate yourself, not only the product you’re selling, but also the industry. Knowledge is power. No. 2, ask questions. Too often we are afraid to ask questions. Remember, knowledge is power!
Her Biggest Lesson Learned
Just keep swimming. Set goals, celebrate the wins along the way — even the small ones — and don’t take business personal.
Her Upcoming Goals
My goals professionally are all around growth. I am looking for opportunities and investing in myself to grow in my career and assist me in achieving a senior executive-level position. Personally, I want to add two new countries to my list of adventures and continue to inspire my children to be their best selves.
What She Wants People to Know About Her
I am a mother of five that always puts my family first. I work very hard on a daily basis to balance all the needs of my household with the passion I have for my career. I truly enjoy being a leader and love this industry. I want to help others reach their career goals and I do this by working on myself.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
Understand that females operate differently than men. They need to feel support within a company. This could be as simple as offering a mentor or access to leadership training. Creating a culture of flexibility is attractive to women, especially women who are working mothers and often carrying the stresses of the household alongside their career stresses. Women should also look at the opportunity for promotions, be compensated the same as a man in the role and look for companies where females sit in executive positions at the company.
How She Recharges
When I am not in the gym, I travel. I enjoy seeing the world and all it has to offer and immersing myself into the culture.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.