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Name: Sara Robillard

Years with EMERGE: 3+

Current role in EMERGE: EMERGE Marketing Committee Chair; Steering Committee Member

1. How and why did you get involved with EMERGE Lakeland? I had first heard about EMERGE several years ago after writing an article for Polk Voice (no longer in print) about a past member. Unfortunately, my job at the time didn’t lend me much freedom to be involved. So, fast forward to a few of years ago when I had a new job in a corporate marketing department and was looking for opportunities to network and grow professionally—especially as it relates to honing my graphic design skills—that’s when I attended my first marketing committee meeting.

2. Are you originally from this area? If so, why have you stayed in Lakeland? If not, what brought you to Lakeland? I am originally from New England (GO PATS!). I grew up in Rhode Island and lived briefly in Connecticut before moving here about 14 years ago. It’s not something I wanted to do, per se, but I didn’t have much of a choice, so I decided to bloom where I was planted. Lakeland is a cool little city that’s centrally located, which is great!

3. What is your current occupation? Employer? Currently, I’m employed full time at Summit, a workers’ compensation company based here in Lakeland. I work in their marketing department as a senior graphic designer. I also do freelance graphic design work under my business name, Your Visual Storyteller.

4. Do you have any hobbies or interests? I like to dabble in arts and crafts, from painting to digital embroidery to interests tend to change by the day, lol. I draw inspiration from nature, mostly trees and mountains. As a graphic designer, I’m always intrigued by color relationships and shapes, and I like to test out concepts in each of the mediums I work in.

5. If someone sees you at an EMERGE event, what are some topics they should ask you about to get the conversation going? Show me pictures of your pets. Graphic design and art. Nature. I’m not much of a small talker, so feel free to jump into whatever it is you want to talk about.

6. What’s the best professional advice you have ever been given? I struggle with assigning value to my work and thought that just being given an opportunity was payment enough. At one point, I was editing, contributing content to and designing an entire magazine every month for a friend for absolutely nothing. That’s when a professor of mine told me something that stuck with me: Your work has value, and people need to know to recognize and appreciate the effort you put into it. If you don’t charge something—even if it’s just a meal or a cup of coffee—you are training others to see your work as worthless.

7. Do you have any favorite podcasts or periodicals that you go to for professional development? I’m not huge into podcasts, so when I’m looking to develop or learn something—especially with my craft—I turn to videos. LinkedIn Learning is a huge resource for me, as well as Adobe. Dribbble and The Futur are also places I go for inspiration and advice.

8. What would be your superpower and why? Control the elements of nature (earth, water, fire, etc.). It’s a little too flat and hot down here.

9. What was the last meal you ate? When answering these questions, it was Pop Tarts (frosted cinnamon and brown sugar). I have the diet of a nine-year-old. 10. How would you explain what you do to a five-year-old? I tell people things using pictures and words.

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