The Network of Executive Women (NEW) is one of the longest-running Executive MBA student organizations, and we recently caught up with newly-elected NEW President Sarah Powell (Class of 2022) to about her background and what attracted her to her leadership role. Read on for more!

Interested in connecting with NEW members firsthand? Join Darden Admissions and the Network of Executive Women student organization next Wednesday, 28 July at 5:30 p.m. EDT for a women’s virtual networking event. After brief introductions, we will break into small groups for easy icebreaker questions and conversation. We hope to see you there!

Register for the Women’s Networking Event

Interested in the Part-Time MBA format? You are also encouraged to register for the session! Executive MBA students are a great resource for you as you learn more about juggling work, life and school as a working professional student. We also expect the Executive MBA student organizations will be an important source of community and connection for Part-Time MBA sutdents.

Additional Listening. Sarah and her fellow NEW leadership team member Hannah Poland (Class of 2022) recently joined us on The ExecMBA Podcast. During the wide-ranging conversation, Sarah and Hannah reflect upon their respective MBA journeys, what led them to Darden, the role NEW played in their MBA decisions and what led them to serve as student leaders.

And now our Q&A with Sarah Powell!

What is your background? What is your current role?

I have spent my entire career in media and tech focusing on advertising technology for TV.  I started on the agency side of the business and made the switch to the tech side about six years ago and have been privileged enough to work at some incredible companies that are pushing TV advertising planning, execution, and measurement to the next level.   I’m continuing this work in a new role that I am going to begin in late May leading product strategy for TV at Oracle.

How did you decide to pursue an MBA?

As I was advancing in my career, I was noticing the gaps in my experience and understood that I had a lot to learn in order to become the leader that I saw myself becoming one day.  For me, an MBA was an obvious choice, and the hardest part was figuring out when the timing was right.  Spoiler, the timing is never quite right so you just need to pull the trigger and do it!

What is the Network of Executive Women?

NEW is an organization for the EMBA program with a mission to advance the professional development and advancement of women in the Darden EMBA program.  We aim to create an inclusive environment that empowers women to reach their potential and keep growing in their careers during and beyond their time at Darden.

What has this organization meant to you during your time as a Darden student?

Having a network of likeminded women in my corner as I’ve been navigating this transition to Darden and now a new role has been invaluable.  Especially during Covid, knowing that there was that additional connection point, a network to reach out to with questions and draw strength from was so impactful for me.

What attracted to you serving as NEW President?

For me, the mission of NEW is both deeply personal and inspiring so I knew fairly early on that serving in a leadership role in the organization was something I wanted to do.  I was particularly drawn to the fact that NEW was an organization that can live on in a meaningful way for its members beyond their time in the EMBA program.  It was very exciting to me to be a part of an organization that has so much longevity and applicability for the women of the program throughout their lives and careers.

You are approaching the one year mark in the program – What has been the impact of your Darden experience so far?

Being nearly a year in the impact this program has had on my life both personally and professionally have been incredible.  The opportunity to learn and immediately put those learnings into action has made me much more adaptable at work in a year where adaptability was the name of the game.  Additionally, the relationships that I have built over the last nine months, completely virtually up until very recently, have been an amazing lifeline through this experience.  I am truly humbled to be amongst the group of incredible professionals we have in the class of 2022.  I would say beyond that this program has challenged me about my own conception of my own abilities. I’ve been surprised at how I’ve been able to flex and grow in classes and topics that would have intimidated me prior to the program.  That confidence has made me feel more able to trust my abilities and take some chances at work that I may never have before.