Get to Know Noodle Director, Brand Strategy SarahNicole Mahoney
…the more exposure I can have with a wide variety of people, places, or experiences is an unquestionable gift—I become a better human as a result.
SarahNicole Mahoney is a Director of Brand Strategy here at Noodle. Originally from Northport, NY, a small town on the north shore of Long Island, she received her education at UAlbany SUNY. She recalls that education has been an enlightening experience that has helped her be an open-minded active listener and curious person to the world around her and the people living in it. At Noodle she supports new programs being launched across Marketing service teams and helps lead the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) ERG using her desire to collaborate and receive feedback from others, ability to communicate the value of products to prospective partners and openness to learning from others unique experiences.
What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?
A good leader can model courage. Keep their commitments. Embrace empathy and humility. Recognize and turn squarely toward the reality of a situation and hold yourself accountable to make hard decisions.
When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?
Lately, I’m in awe of Bozoma Saint John. When asked how she approaches making tough decisions she once said, “When I make pro and con lists, it’s usually because I am trying to talk myself out of a good idea or talk myself into a really bad one.” When I find myself in a stretch opportunity, this is a helpful reminder to tell those imposter-syndrome gremlins to hit the bricks. Bozoma is a leader who has also endured incredible loss. Her fortitude is remarkable.
How has your personal leadership style evolved?
I think we all live in what feels like a deficit of workday hours. Half-assing interactions with others is not something I personally resonate with. For my personal leadership style, I have developed a real hunger for feedback, asking the hard questions, and productive conflict.
What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.
I started in research and brand strategy in NYC working on brands like Nabisco, Pepsi, Peeps, and American Idol. From there I shifted into healthcare marketing for about six years and have focused on higher ed for the last ten years. The common thread through all of these roles has been determining and communicating the unique value of a product to its best-fit customers. Roughly eight months ago, I moved into the Director, Brand Strategy role here at Noodle. Most recently, that role was folded into a new Product Marketing team that partners closely with Market Research. So what do I actually do? When we have a new program to bring to market with a new or pre-existing University Partner, I am part of the team that determines how to position it to be competitive in the marketplace to prospective students.
How do you support the success of your team?
Hold myself accountable for doing what I commit to. Over-communicate and seek feedback. Know when to reach out to people who can help me when I don’t know something.
Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.
I couldn’t possibly fully answer the scope of this question in this space. However, to build on what I’ve previously shared, the more exposure I can have with a wide variety of people, places, or experiences is an unquestionable gift—I become a better human as a result.
What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?
Modeling, mentorship, and being able to collaborate and find thought partners from people like Laura Hertzog, Jamie McCaw, Melissa Batalin, Chrissy Purcell, Elissa Lappenga, Erin Sutzko, Emily Stoner, Mackenzie O’Brien, and Marcie Gugenheim. Add to that my running shoes, Master Class subscription, and meditation.
Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.
I am an enthusiastic over-sharer, so it is difficult to think of something I wouldn’t have rambled about to someone at some point. Maybe lesser known is that I once participated in (and completed!) a 15K Tough Mudder… a supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again.