Q&A with Foggies Rising Star of the Year winner, Sarah Mattina
We sat down virtually with our 2021 Foggies winners to get to know them better! This year's Rising Star of the Year went to Sarah Mattina, JetBlue Technology Ventures. Read on to learn more about Sarah!
Tell us more about yourself.
While I have a BA in Strategic Communications, my career path didn’t lead me to public relations until fairly recently. I graduated from Miami University in 2017 and joined Southwest Airlines as a curriculum developer. From there, I moved to the company’s corporate communications team with a focus on internal communications and change management.
My experience at Southwest afforded me the opportunity to land a new role in January 2020 as a communications generalist for JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), JetBlue Airways’ venture capital subsidiary. In this position I handle internal and external communications and storytelling for JTV.
Tell us about your winning campaign/entry. How did it come about, what were the highlights, how much work went into it, results, etc.
About six months into the pandemic, my manager left the company. Being the sole communicator felt daunting, but JTV’s leadership team helped me reframe the experience as an opportunity for career growth. I was empowered to not only execute on my previous manager’s foundational ideas, but also iterate and improve our overarching strategy. Fast-forward to now and I lead all aspects of communications for a well-known, well-respected venture firm – and I couldn’t be happier!
What does it mean to you to take home this win? How will you celebrate?
It’s a great honor to win this award, particularly from an organization as well-known as PRSA. I’ve actually never received an award before, which makes this all the more special! My team congratulated me and I had a nice dinner in North Beach to celebrate.
What should the Bay Area know about you?
My passion for public relations extends into nearly everything I do. In addition to JTV I work with Strut Consulting and advise their clients on best practices in venture capital communications. Just recently I’ve also started volunteering with Mulatto Meadows, an Oakland-based equine program dedicated to positively impacting disenfranchised communities, to advise on all aspects of their communications and fundraising.
How has the pandemic affected your approach to communications?
The airline industry was understandably one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. As such, our traditional methods of announcing new investments, new hires, or new partners were put on pause. Instead, I spent the majority of my time supporting our startups through the disruption. A lot of founders were tasked with innovative new ways to market their product without a dedicated communications staff – in a time when not many were traveling, no less. I served as their advisor and champion to navigate the lean times together.
What advice do you have for handling PR during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Authenticity over everything! “Unprecedented times” was my least favorite phrase of 2020 and I hope to never see it again. When company leaders are open, honest, and authentic, it translates in all aspects of communications.
Anything else to share?
In my free time, I teach indoor cycling at TruFusion San Francisco, ride horses, and travel often — shout-out to JetBlue for the flight benefits!