Friday, September 13, 2013

The Having It All Project: Sarah Sardinsky

I met Sarah when we were both in the fifth grade at Orchard Middle School, where she relieved me of my "new girl" status that I'd had for only a few weeks when she joined my class. We were fast friends back then, and I'm proud to still call her a friend now. Here's how Sarah is having it all.

Briefly describe your life and what you think makes it unique.
I guess I look at myself as somewhat ordinary with an extraordinary job that I am blessed to get to do each day for a company that I love. 

I grew up part of a fantastic family; loving, supportive and all around wonderful.  I participated in all kinds of fantastic high-school activities and was lucky enough to get to attend my dream college, The Cornell University Hotel School. I had this silly notion that I was going to be the next Michael Eisner. If he could run The Walt Disney Co., Why couldn’t I do it? 

Well, sometimes we make our own “Disney,” and mine is Marriott International. Thirteen years later, I still love all that Marriott stands for; “We take care of our associates so that they take care of our guests.” There is a solid reason that we are global hospitality leaders, and I am honored to be a part of the company.
For the past ten years I have planned some incredible events, hundreds of weddings, conventions, film shoots – “Smoking Aces” & “Las Vegas,” and had the honor of planning the Birthday Party – Mohammed Ali, “The Greatest,” during President Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. 

In 2011, I had the opportunity to be part of the Marriott Headquarters Team to lead the largest Information Technology roll-out in the companies past 60 years.  Since then, I have been traveling the country supporting our hotels during their launch in using our new sales, inventory and event management solutions system.
From NYC to Boston > Atlanta to Orlando > Dallas to Detroit > Phoenix to San Francisco > Seattle to Maui…I have had this fantastical opportunity that I never thought possible. I am constantly trying to grab each experience every week as they happen!

What are some of your favorite tips and strategies for coping with the chaos?
  • "Be grateful for each moment we have and be happy – but more than anything live it fully." – Valerie Harper.
  • Life never throws you what you expect. I have found that it’s easier to cope when I can smile and be grateful. What’s the alternative? Be thankful that you even have the experience.
  • My 1st boss with Marriott told me once when I was completely overwhelmed and emotional, “Sarah, I don’t pay you enough to get this upset. You are great at what you do, so just take a deep breath.”
  • I find myself using this advice each day, and I pass in onto my hotels each week.  Change can be overwhelming, and not many of us get paid in dollars what we are truly worth, so it’s not worth getting overly upset about any situation.  Everything works out in the end the way that it was intended to.
  • Always sleep on it.
  • I am a very passionate person, and feel very deeply. I know that I tend to overreact immediately after a situation happens.  So, I have learned that I always need to sleep on it before I make a big decision, or react to a challenge. That situation never seems as bad the next day. Then I am able to make a more level-headed decision.
  • I am a List-Maker! Pretty self-explanatory. My dad taught me during high school, to keep a list and be organized. This has helped me immensely in my academics and professional career. When I can see it on paper, I can visualize it getting done.
  • Be Kind to One Another - You never know what another person is going through. Be kind to one each other, it will be returned to you.
  • A Glass of Wine Always Helps! 
Please share a moment where it all broke down, and how you got through it.
That’s Funny! I can’t target one particular moment or situation, but my coping methods are always the same:
1.      My friends – I have a fantastic core group of friends that are always there to listen and talk me off the ledge.
2.      My family – Simply couldn’t get through life without them!
3.      Never being too proud to ask for help. – If I have bitten off more than I can chew, I always ask for help. I think that people sometimes mistakenly think asking for help as a weakness. I don’t. I look at it the opposite, that I am a confident enough person to ask for help when it is necessary.

Do you have any balance role models? Anything you try to avoid because it wouldn't work for you?
My Parents have always been my role models – in every way. They are both strong, smart, hard-working, loving, kind, supportive people.  My sister and I did a ton of extra-curricular activities growing up; competitive swimming & dancing, played instruments, participated in show choir, musicals, and a bunch more. My parents both worked full-time and always took us to and from our activities, never missed a piano performance, dance recital or swim meet.  Each time I start to feel myself losing balance, I think, “What would my mom do? How would my dad handle this situation?”  

As I have gotten older, I have realized that Always Saying Yes does not work for me. At one point in my life, I would never say No.  This does not work for me, and it took a lot of personal growth for me to not look at this as a failure, but being more productive and available to those I did say Yes to. 

Think back to your 18th birthday. How is your life different from how you expected it to be then? 
That’s the funny thing about expectations, they don’t normally turn out the way you envision them.  On my 18th birthday, I don’t know if I knew how to dream to achieve what I am living now. Did I think that I would see myself a 35 year old, single, career-focused woman, probably not. It amazes me each day as I wake up that I am living this crazy fun life.  Each day may not be perfect, that’s to be expected, but each day a door closes, another opens and I walk through to the next experience. 
I have always lived by the following statement, There is more road ahead of me to experience and conquer than there is behind me.  So I lift my chin and move forward with a grateful smile on my face. 

I cannot wait to see what life has in store for me next! 

Relate to what Sarah is saying? Leave her some love in the comments. Read other posts from The Having It All Project here. Want to participate? Send me an email at

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