Sara Finalist in Business xCellence Awards

Sara Barron graduated from Santa Maria in 2011 with plans to study biomedicine. She realised very quickly that this wasn’t the direction she wanted to take, so took a risk and changed to commerce. Fast forward to 2022, Sara owns her own business Bear Agency and has just been announced as a finalist in the Business xCellence Awards. We caught up with Sara to find out more. 

What have you been doing since leaving Santa Maria?

After leaving Santa Maria, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at UWA. I then made the move to Melbourne and went on to study for my Master’s in Marketing whilst working in a full-time marketing job. I worked extremely hard in those years and, after finishing my Masters, managed to go from an entry-level marketing role to a marketing manager role to overseeing the Digital Marketing department within a year. Around the time COVID hit, I decided to risk it all and quit my secure full-time job, which I did love. At the time, I was running some drop shipping stores and freelancing. Bear Agency was birthed after I was working with a few brands and realised my passion to help grow other brands and inspire business owners on a larger scale. I am based on the Gold Coast for the moment but will see where life takes me!                                                                       

Why did you decide to start Bear Agency?

To be honest, running an agency never appealed to me. However, I was starting to get clients, and people approach me to assist with their marketing, and I wanted to help them all! I now love it. Helping inspire business owners and brands to grow so that they can continue to do what they love is what lights me up. I hate to see people working in jobs they hate. I encourage everyone to take the risk and start that business they have been thinking about. We work with small brands and start-ups, which is what a lot of agencies don’t do. I love being able to offer something different to the standard agency and personalise our services, as no two brands are the same. Plus, I have a passion for marketing, and being able to share my knowledge and skills within an industry that is so fast paced and ever-changing is exciting. There’s never a dull day.

What does a typical day at Bear Agency look like for you?                                                          No day is ever the same apart from my morning and night routines. Before getting stuck into work, I’ll start the day early, go for a beach walk or swim, head to the gym, meditate and have a cold shower. In terms of work, I’ll either be working with clients, briefs or proposals, business development and strategies, in meetings, speaking with prospects or I could be off on a photo or content shoot. At night I’ll try to switch off, although I usually work quite late, meditate, and read before bed. My job is quite flexible, and I can work from wherever, so no day looks identical to me!                                                              

What does being a finalist in Business xCellence Awards mean to you?                                       

It’s really an honour to be nominated as a finalist. The Business xCellence Awards celebrate small businesses working hard to achieve their dreams, and I think it’s such an important thing to recognise. Having a business is a lonely process. You’ll spend years working hard in silence with no one rooting for you but yourself. It takes a lot of self-motivation, accountability, and resilience, so it’s great to be recognised!                                          

What do you do in your downtime?

I love going to the beach, working out, getting a drink, or enjoying a meal with friends, travelling, and playing the piano.

I make sure to get out in nature when I can. Most Sundays, I’ll attempt to get away or go for a nature hike to reset for the week. What I’ve learned more so in the last couple of years is the importance of work-life balance. I used to be all about the hustle and work 24/7 mindset but overworking and burning out doesn’t serve you or your business. It’s inefficient. Self-care comes first. The success you have in your career will never be greater than the state of your mental health. Your level of self-care will reflect in the success of your business.

Who inspires you?

I draw inspiration from a lot of different people, but my family has always been my biggest inspiration and motivation. I wouldn’t have excelled if it wasn’t for my dad, who always saw potential in me and set me up with a strong mindset. My Nanna is a big inspiration to me, and I am so fortunate to have her in my life and growing up. She built her empire with no money and barely an education and shaped me to believe that women can be independent and successful on their own. She taught me that anything is possible, your dreams are never too big, and hard work pays off. As she says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am if I didn’t have my family’s support and inspiration, so I am extremely grateful.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’m not much of a planner. I like to go with the flow, as life takes you where you’re meant to be at the right time. However, I do have big goals. I hope to take my agency international whilst having other businesses off the back of Bear, including an in-house e-com brand. If, in five years, I have the freedom to travel wherever I want, own a few thriving businesses and have a healthy, happy family – I’d say I have succeeded. 

Did you have a favourite teacher or subject at Santa Maria?

I loved Physics and found it so interesting, despite it being my worst subject! I had a few favourite teachers. One of my favourites was Miss Morey – my English teacher. She was so calm and passionate about teaching English. I always felt comfortable and inspired in her class. The best teacher I think I had was my Politics & Law teacher, Miss Kidd. She was incredibly smart, dedicated and really helped me excel and push harder as she showed a lot of care in my grades. 

What advice would you give to your 17-year-old self?

Everything always works out, so remove the pressure on yourself to have it all figured out straight away. Don’t chase security, money, or validation. Chase your passion or have a go at everything until you find a passion. During my first year at uni, I was studying Biomedicine on the path to becoming a doctor because that was what my family wanted. I’m lucky I realised early on that it wasn’t what I actually wanted to do but was rather a safe career choice. 

Be risky, make mistakes, lose money, move cities, get your heart broken, say yes to as much as you can and risk it all. The years after high school (and your entire 20s in fact) are all about experimenting and learning. Everything eventually works out when it’s meant to, and you’ll find your groove.

At the same time, I think it’s important to have a strong work ethic which is what got me to where I am. If you outwork everyone and never give up, you can never fail.

Last, as corny as it sounds, stay true to yourself and don’t adapt or follow the crowd. Understand that who you surround yourself with shapes who you are going to become. You’ll meet a lot of different people along the way, so choose who you spend your time with wisely. Surrounding yourself with others who are where you want to be, is a quick way to level up.

Absorb as much information as you can and master your craft. Eighty per cent of success comes from just showing up and staying committed.

Have fun but also work hard, and don’t expect things to come for free. There is no such thing as luck, and many people that are deemed ‘overnight successes’ have years of hard work under their belt.

Your life is really just beginning, so stay present, be grateful and enjoy the ride. 

the Winter Appeal and Outreach Mass at Santa Maria College.

Term 2 – Empowering Students and Community – Jennifer Oaten

As we conclude another remarkable term at Santa Maria College, we celebrate the myriad achievements and growth of our students. Term 2 was filled with empowering opportunities, from faith-based activities and learning innovations to social awareness projects and community engagements, embodying our Mercy values and commitment to excellence.

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