Sarah Stramel has discovered a career that suits both her professional talents and personality. In fact, Stramel PR & Social Media is a perfect melding of her experience in multimedia journalism and her enthusiasm for building relationships. Recently, Sarah added one more dimension to her public relations career. In response to her own interest in healthy living, she has created a niche for promoting the good things in life.
Welcome Sarah, today’s FACE of Memphis!
Have you always called Memphis “home”?
I am actually a native of North Little Rock, Arkansas. My family and I moved here when I was 9 years old. I have lived several other places including Denver, Miami and Knoxville.
When did you begin on the path towards a PR/social media career?
I always knew I had a gift for connecting people, but really became aware of it when I worked in TV news. My co-workers always came to me when they needed interviews for their stories.
I began my path towards a PR/Social Media Career after I left news in late 2008, when I began working with the group Save Libertyland. I finally made a Facebook account and started using Twitter. Social media opened up a whole new world to me, actually leading up to me getting both of my next jobs.
Name three benchmark moments that you feel turned you in the direction of becoming a public relations professional?
Working with Save Libertyland, I began to realize the value of my contacts with Mid-South media. As I spent more time networking on social media, I began to meet new people and widen my reach in the community and beyond.
My love for Twitter led to my getting an interview at Memphis Botanic Garden (MBG), thanks to Marketing Manager Jana Wilson letting me know there was a position available. I would definitely describe working as public relations manager at the garden as a benchmark moment. I loved getting the word about all the wonderful programs and events at MBG. From small children to adults, there is truly something for everyone.
It was when I was living in Miami Beach last year that I decided to go out on my own. I was taking private yoga sessions from a teacher there. One day my teacher, Sadhu, and I were in a cab and he said, “I want to let everyone know about the power of Kundalini yoga, and you’re going to help me do it.” And that was that, Stramel PR was born.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
How is the mission of your PR business unique to other similar businesses?
Stramel PR is unique because it promotes people and businesses who are doing positive things for the community. People are waking up to other ways of living, and it’s our job to let people know about entities in the Mid-South that support the new wellness movement.
What do you like (or dislike) about the digital age of media in comparison to traditional communication methods?
I miss letters. I remember waiting for the mail for days to receive that postcard from Europe or a letter from a best friend away at camp. Nowadays, all I get in the mail are bills. It doesn’t make walking to the mailbox nearly as exciting.
I like the expediency of email and texting, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes you just want to hear someone’s voice. I’ve actually worked with people who refuse to talk on the phone at all. It can be frustrating, but you have to adapt to everyone’s quirks if you want to stay in business. Flexibility is key.
What must-have fashion item is in your closet?
Scarves. I am in love with them. There’s a certain elegance about scarves. They dress up any outfit and they are great for the summer. That spaghetti strap dress you are wearing may be great outside, but when you walk inside a restaurant, you are going to be cold. A scarf is the perfect way to warm up and look great.
Do you have a specific mentor? How has that person influenced you?
You know how they say it takes a village? Well, it’s taken the expertise of many of my mentors and peers to get Stramel PR going. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I truly appreciate those who take the time to assist me in achieving my dreams, and I think that has a domino effect. People see me doing my thing and they think, “Hey, maybe I can start my own business, too.”
Best advice you have ever received? Favorite quote?
I used to be a people pleaser to a fault. Now I try to do things that please myself, like doing my yoga or making myself a nice meal. I am no good to anyone if I am not right with myself.
This goes right along with my favorite quote by the very wise Eleanor Roosevelt: “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
How do you unwind/recharge your battery?
Being in nature is my favorite way to unwind. I love being outside, without my iPhone or iPad. To truly just be… sitting under a shady tree with the breeze on my face and the sounds of insects and animals who make a magnificent orchestra.
Favorite escape or guilty pleasure?
Day Dreaming of my Prince Charming <smile>
Favorite vacation or travel destination? (If there’s one place in the world you’d suggest someone visit, where would that be?)
My favorite place in the world is Miami Beach, Florida. The energy is indescribable. I feel so free there. The beach is beautiful. Healthy eating options are everywhere! So much great architecture. Love the fashion too. I always shop for new clothes when I am there. It’s changed a lot over the years but I can still walk down Lincoln Road and run into someone I haven’t seen for 10 years. You never know who you are going to meet! Like I said, I’ve never met a stranger.
Are there any charitable organizations where you volunteer your time or support? What’s meaningful about this outreach to you?
I just started volunteering with a new charity as its PR Specialist. The Community of St. Therese of Lisieux will provide safe housing and structured educational and life skills training for up to two years for women who find themselves homeless through circumstances or prostitution, addition, or trafficking.
What books are you reading, or have you most enjoyed reading lately? Do you prefer a Kindle or e-book, or just good old-fashioned paper?
Right now I am reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s about a family who left the desert of Arizona for farm life in Appalachia. I’ve grown up my whole life around fresh foods. I remember Sunday dinners at Mamaw’s picnic table, complete with heaping helpings of fresh new potatoes, green beans, corn, butter beans and more!
My Grandpa Stramel also had a huge backyard garden in Little Rock and my dad has carried on the tradition for many years now. Right now on our counter we have fresh grape tomatoes, Hollywood tomatoes, squash and jalapeño peppers. The vegetables just taste better. He even asked me the other day if I would help him set up a blog. He wants to get the word out about healthy living too. Living life well is contagious, in a good way, I believe.
Of course, I am online a lot so when I unplug, I prefer to read a real book–to touch and smell the pages.
What three lighthearted things could you not live without (other than family, friends and God)?
Yoga, clean food and water with lemon.
Thank you Sarah!
Learn more about Sarah’s past achievements and Stramel PR & Social Media here: sarahstramel.com
And thank you to photographer/web designer Keith Montgomery for the wonderful images of Sarah!