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Meet Trailblazer Sara Rewienska

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Rewienska.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I will start this story with my beginnings in Chicago. I arrived here for the very first time five years ago as an exchange student from Poland. It was quite by chance, because I didn’t have any friends nor a family here. I just wanted to learn fluent English and see a little bit of American lifestyle. I truly fell in love with Chicago but after an exchange program was over, I had to come back home, to Warsaw, Poland. A year later I decided that I would return to Chicago with an ambitious plan of pursuing a master’s degree.  Luckily, I passed all the exams and I was accepted into the MBA program.

When I look back in time, it was quite a drastic decision, because I really didn’t know what I’m getting myself into. I left all my life in Poland, family, friends and moved here by myself. I started my MBA when I was 22 years old, which is not a common thing here. In Europe people usually work after earning a master’s degree, I didn’t have much experience, courses were really challenging, and everyone was older than me, but for me it was like a dream come true because I always wanted to have an American master’s degree and live in a fun city like Chicago.

The time at my university was very productive. I received a lot of awards and scholarships, such as the award of best Polish business student from the Zonta organization.  I had an opportunity to participate in amazing programs for the top business students such as Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Program in South Korea, Leadership Conference in Dubai and Beta Gamma Sigma Conference in Florida. I also received a medal for student leadership and civic engagement from Frances Hesselbein, at the University of Pittsburgh. I had the pleasure of meeting the mayor of the city Rahm Emanuel because I was a president of Polish-American Association. Through my hard work at Northeastern Illinois University and thanks to various scholarships, I was able to afford tuition. Reflecting on my student career, I think this was one of my biggest accomplishments by far, especially considering fact that as an international student, I was not allowed to work off campus, nor take on student debt.

I am a very creative person so in free time I started a personal website where I write about business, fashion, lifestyle, travel and motivation. During one of Chicago’s fashion show, Berny Martin – the founder of Midwest Fashion Week said that I “ have keys to the city” which became ironically true because I love to discover new rooftops, restaurants, art shows and participate in fun events, so you can see me often somewhere downtown.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all. After graduation, I struggled a lot. Since I’m a foreigner, it’s not an easy thing to find a good job here, due to employers having to prove that I’m better than an American citizen. That’s why after few months of unsuccessful job research I decided to open my own business consulting, where I was advising people in marketing, branding, and social media management. The funny thing is that when things started to get really good with my business endeavors, I was invited to TV and also did a cover for the USA weekly in Polish I received a dream job offer from a company to whom I applied a few months earlier.

Hence, I decided to stop pursuing my entrepreneurship endeavors for now and focus to work full time for this company in media and advertisement. I learn so much every day, and my office is located right by the river walk and it is one of the best companies in the industry, so I feel very blessed. I also know that one day, if I decide to come back to the entrepreneurship, this job will be instrumental in providing me the right skill set.

My advice to others? Hmm, just know what you want, follow your intuition, surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you, and don’t listen to disbelievers. Luckily, I have great support from my parents, they are my biggest supporters. I was taught be them to be independent and just find own path to happiness and success.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m a digital marketer and branding/image specialist. I think it’s amazing how by a combination of technology and data we can target the right customers, and how rapidly the industry is changing and growing. I also love fashion so as a part of my hobby I like to collaborate with brands, such as during this year’s Midwest Fashion Week.  I’m also a fashion model, I did my first cover and an interview in Poland when I was 17 years old, and surprisingly during that interview I was saying that one day I really want to study in the USA and start my business career here…I truly believe, that our thoughts create our reality. We can attract things we want, so it’s always very important to think positive. My favorite book is “Think and Grow Ritch” by Napoleon Hill.

What sets me apart from others? I think it’s persistence and ambition. When I have a goal, I don’t quit even when people tell me that I’m wasting my time.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
I truly believe that we create our own opportunities. Finding the right work-life balance for busy working women is certainly a challenge. Furthermore, I think that if you are a woman immigrant here, you have work twice as hard and I’m not telling this to complain, but it’s just the way it is.  In this beautiful city, we have so many opportunities everyday so I’m forever grateful for them. I think that regardless where you are from, it’s just up to you if you want to make it or not.

In future, I’m planning to start a non-profit organization. Hopefully, I will be able to give back and use all these experiences and lessons when I’m back in Poland.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Marek Art. Darrel White

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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