by Emily Wurst

University of West Georgia alumna Sarah Burek has been blazing her own trail and making great strides in the marketing industry. A member of UWG’s Class of 2014, Burek currently holds the position of marketing specialist for the Gem Shopping Network.

Sarah Burek“As the marketing specialist at Gem Shopping Network, I am responsible for all of our digital marketing and communication efforts,” said Burek of her work. Her duties include managing the company’s social media accounts, creating content and implementing email campaigns.

Since her graduation from UWG a mere three years ago, Burek has earned her master’s degree with a concentration in social media and has been featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of their “People on the Move.” She was also selected as a UWG “30 Under 30” notable alumna.

For Burek, the path to being a successful professional began here at UWG. She chose to go west because she wanted an environment where she would feel comfortable and could get involved. As a result, she became an active collegiate member of Chi Omega Fraternity.

“Through Chi Omega, I was able to connect with other strong people and was given the opportunity to hold several leadership positions,” Burek said. “Holding these positions challenged me to become more confident in myself and my ideas.”

Another opportunity that allowed Burek to build confidence was the time she spent as a UWG tour guide and orientation leader, connecting with prospective and new students to educate them about UWG.

“The tours I gave were an hour to an hour and a half in length and consisted of me doing the majority of the talking,” Burek explained. “Giving a tour to more than 15 people three times a week got me out of my shell, and I became more comfortable speaking in front of others. As a result, I am much more self-assured when delivering presentations at work, and I can laugh if I make a mistake.”

While these leadership experiences were valuable to Burek and her future, they were not the only involvement opportunities available to her at UWG.

“My favorite things about West Georgia were the experiences I was able to have,” Burek said. “My junior year, I was able to study abroad in Ireland. I know I would never have been able to do this on my own, and it was an incredible experience. Getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to meet new people and try new things, and you’ll get some amazing memories from doing so.”

Burek said the UWG marketing department proved to be a perfect place for her skills and interests to collide, allowing her to find a major that was just the right fit.

“As a creative person, I wanted to major in something that would allow me to express myself creatively. I also wanted to choose an area of study that I felt would be stable in the changing job market but also allow me to grow. This led me to consider business, and I landed on marketing.”

Burek’s experience in UWG’s Richards College of Business and the marketing department gave her the foundation of knowledge and understanding on which to develop her future, and her professors served as mentors along the way.

“The professors and course work also gave me confidence in not just my work, but also in myself,” Burek said. “When you’re new to the work force, it can be intimidating, especially if you’re working with others who have been on the job for 10 or more years. Building that self-assurance and understanding of the marketing field prepares you. I felt like I had all the tools I needed to succeed; I just needed to put them into practice.”

Posted on April 26, 2017