the golden gate bridge

February 27, 2023

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In 2022, Sarah Mattina defended her Rising Star of the Year title, winning it for the second consecutive year. We catch up with her to find what lies ahead on her bright career path!

Tell us more about you and some details of your winning entry.

I lead the communications function at JetBlue Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways. Shortly after winning the PRSA Rising Star award in 2021, I was promoted from senior specialist to manager; a professional accomplishment I’d been working towards for quite some time!

I’m always looking for ways to improve my company’s external presence, so as manager, I successfully rebranded the firm from “JetBlue Technology Ventures” to “JetBlue Ventures. ” Previously, ‘technology’ was an important part of our team’s name to signal to the venture community that we planned to exclusively focus on asset-light, software-focused startups. The new name is all-encompassing of the many systems and products we choose to invest in in the future. It also allows us to be consistent with other corporate venture capital firms — industry naming standard across comparable groups is “parent company + ventures.”

Additionally, I planned our firm’s inaugural “Sustainability in Travel Tech Summit” event this year to further JetBlue Ventures’ communications goal of being viewed as the top sustainable travel tech investor in the world. This involved project management across all levels of event planning, including sourcing speakers, soliciting attendees, creating an event brand look, and coordinating media. The event had 150 attendees with speakers from Uber, Salesforce, Expedia Group, and more. 

What does it mean to you to take home this win (especially for the second year in a row!)? How will you celebrate?

It is such an honor to be named two years in a row! Growing up I was an average student at best, and always felt I’d excel more in the “real world” than in academia. I’m glad my suspicion was correct!   

What's next for the rising star? 

I recently accepted a new role as Director of Communications for Venture Forward, a 501(c)(3) supporting organization to the National Venture Capital Association. I will be helping the company’s mission of bringing more diverse talent to venture capital.

What should the Bay Area know about you?

In high school, my mom made me take the Myers Briggs test (hi, fellow ENFPs) with an optional aptitude portion to help me determine what I wanted to study in college. One of the top recommended career choices was public relations and I’ve stuck with it ever since. Not many people can say that they’ve known what they wanted to do since age 16! I feel lucky that I had that head start to cultivate my skills.

Anything else to share?

My career wasn’t always glitz and glam — whenever I’ve found myself lacking in professional experience to get to my next role, I’ve leveled up by volunteering for organizations I care about. Many nonprofits could benefit from real-world business expertise and often give young professionals projects that they wouldn’t otherwise get to work on until they reach upper management. I highly recommend this as a method to learn more in your field.