ARAS Feb21 Odessa James 051

Get to Know Sarah Buchan

Sarah Buchan’s brand would show up as a classic serif font with a pop of color and playfulness. Just like her IRL.

We asked her eight questions that uncover her true brand values and why she is so well-suited for her role as production manager at Aras.

What were you like as a kid?

I was very imaginative as a child. I was home-schooled which allowed me to do my school work much quicker, so I got done earlier in the day giving me the afternoons to play and run around in the woods behind my backyard. I was always taking my toys and making something different with them. I liked changing things up and using my imagination to create different worlds. I had a great childhood, it was very playful and fun-loving.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I never really had an actual “thing” I wanted to be when I grew up. I was very carefree and did not think too far ahead or have set plans about what I wanted to be. When I was in high school and looking at colleges and majors, my mom was really helpful. She led a career exploration class and did that work with me. I had been doing photography and taking senior pictures for my friends as a side business, so I knew I wanted a creative, visual career. We looked at course schedules for majors, and I looked at the one for film production and decided that was the most fun thing. It didn’t seem like work, it seemed like fun.

I originally wanted to be a cinematographer, but one of my professors pulled me aside and told me I would make a really good producer, which ended up being the perfect fit. I am so grateful for my mom and for my professor for helping me find what I wanted to do.

What do you love about your role?

I love producing because it is really my sweet spot. I love that it is a combination of a lot of things I really enjoy. Producing is very relational and at the same time it is problem-solving. It uses both sides of my brain - you have to be organized and keep track of a lot of moving parts and details, while at the same time pulling the right team together and making sure they are empowered for their role. I love when you can pull a group of people together that each have their own strengths and come up with something you could have never created on your own. I get really psyched about shoot days because that is when it all comes together and you get to make something. That’s really special.

What do you love about working at Aras?

First of all, I love our team. There is something really special about working with women and something really energizing about working with people who have a shared experience of what it’s like to be a woman in this industry. In addition to that, I want my work to create something that’s meaningful and create good in the world. I love that we have a mission of helping socially-conscious, female and minority-led companies. Marketing is really powerful and it can be used in great ways or not. It’s a tool you have to wield carefully, and I love how we go about selecting what we create and how we create it. It’s invigorating to work for a team that has a mission to create good in the world.

What motivates you about your work? In general?

I am an Enneagram Two, so I just like helping people. Helping people is motivating on a both granular and larger scale level for me.

From a work perspective, I am motivated a lot by my “Two-ness” and my Three wing. I want to get things done, I highly value efficiency, and I have high standards. It’s great to be part of a company that creates excellent work that meets and exceeds those standards. Day to day, I want to make things run smoothly for our clients and our freelance partners. I want to do my part to make their lives easier in the work that we do.

On a grander scale, what’s really motivating to me is honestly making things better for people. I want to make things that matter. There’s so much content in the world, and if we are going to create more of it I want to create content that’s inspiring and helps people.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I spend time with my husband when I can - he is in residency so that adds a whole other facet to our lives. We do a lot of active stuff together, we like hiking and riding our bikes. My husband is outdoorsy and I love that he brings that out in me.

I love doing yoga, and I still do photography on the side. I do work for friends and use photography as my own creative outlet. I am very people-oriented and I love spending time with the people in my life.

What advice do you have for people entering this field?

I love this question because I am very passionate about the next generation that is entering this field. My advice is to be humble and be willing to grow. Work hard on your craft, own your talent but at the same time be willing to learn from somebody else and be open to ideas. It’s a very competitive industry and you have to stand out. One of the pitfalls of that environment is people try to stand out by showing how amazing they are instead of being a team player. Your attitude and willingness to work hard matter so much more than your technical abilities.

If you were a brand, what would your brand attributes be?

I immediately went to design elements - so if I was a font, what I would be. I would be a serif font in some shade of pink or neutrals with a pop of color. Classic with a little playfulness to it. The values and attributes I would associate with that visual are authenticity, kindness, empathy and creativity.