Family oriented, world traveler (30 countries and counting), dedicated leader, and a musician may seem diverse, but they are all words that can describe Sara Engber, SVP of Operations North America at Huhtamaki, one of the newest board members for ITC.
Sara has been a along time member of ITC, drawn by her interest in global topics, desire to enhance her knowledge of international trade, and the opportunities to network with others. When starting at Huhtamaki, she was focused primarily on the commercial roles (marketing, brand management, product development , and sales). Now there has been a shift to operations, which has led to a variety of opportunities and experiences. What advice would she give others wanting to get into international business and gain experiences? "Jump in! There is a demand for people who want to engage in international careers, and there are few businesses nowadays that are not involved in international trade in some way." And if someone has the desire to be in international trade, "join groups like ITC and talk to people doing this work" get the experience through internships and volunteering until you can make it your career.
The excitement of her job stems from getting to work with a variety of dedicated people with diverse projects. Since Huhtamaki operates all around the world, she has the opportunity to work globally. And is "humbled by the people who work in our manufacturing facilities, often 12 hour shifts in physically demanding jobs". In fact her main goal is to get the nearly 4,000 employees home every day safely. Focusing on the individuals who make up the workforce, balancing work and life, and taking care of their health in a reasonable way, which is not always seen in a professional setting.
Fun Facts & Interesting Info
Where have you traveled to and what was your favorite place you visited?
- I have been to probably 30 countries, so it would be a lot to list them all, but I can say that I have enjoyed seeing so many different parts of the world and all have things that I could easily point to as “favorites” – some for the natural beauty, others the urban energy, food, adventure, human creativity. It is always a dilemma for me to decide whether to visit someplace multiple times to explore more and more what a place has to offer or to go someplace new.
Name 3 people (dead or alive) that you would invite to dinner:
- My family together for dinner including those who have passed
- My best friends from college and grad school who are scattered all over the world
- I guess that’s more than 3...
What else would you like to share that is not generally known?
- I am very proud to be an introvert. I prefer to listen and observe, and I have learned how to succeed and thrive in a world that often feels like that personality type is less valued and people are talking at me/over me. I always try to advocate for other introverts when I spot them.
- Also I grew up playing the violin and piano and up until a few weeks before I had to choose a college, I planned to go into music as a career.
Who inspires you?
- My family – my parents and sister and my husband. They are all such kind, caring, accomplished, creative and interesting people. I love spending time with them, I owe my education and drive for excellence to them and my world view. I truly see myself as as a citizen of the world.
What is something coming up in your life that you are excited about?
- I am not too many years out from retirement and look forward to finding my second career!