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Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Storelli

What is your current position? Why were you drawn to this line of work?

Sarah Storelli, Cal Poly English Alumna
Sarah Storelli

I serve on IBM’s global communications team as an external relations lead for the company’s Digital Business Group plus Collaboration Solutions and Talent Management Solutions businesses. My career more or less “happened” directly post-college, and prior to IBM, I served in additional technology public relations (PR) roles. In those positions, I found that my love and natural skills – advocating for people and representing brands accurately – were refined and strengthened. I love being part of something much bigger than myself, so having the ability to view a business holistically to determine the best strategy for showcasing ourselves to the market, and ultimately, the world, is right up my alley.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career/life?

Over the years, I have been fortunate to have a number of people invest in me. As a result, my accomplishments I am most proud of are the following:

  • Cal Poly’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President at age 21;
  • President of the Cal Poly San Francisco-San Jose Alumni Chapter for four years in tandem with my career, beginning at age 22;
  • Elected representative of San Francisco’s Republican Party at age 25;
  • IBMer at age 26
  • President-Elect of the Public Relations Society of America Silicon Valley Chapter at age 27 (and soon to be President at age 28); and
  • Founder and Chair of Cal Poly Friends for HOPE (Health Outreach and Prevention Education) at age 28

How has your English degree from Cal Poly impacted your career/life?

I use it everyday – personally and/or professionally – whether I am drafting important content for external audiences or interacting with people of differing thoughts. My English degree helped me understand the world from various vantage points, and provided me with more empathy and emotional intelligence to continuously solve minute and complex problems. Having my English degree has hands down been a key foundation to my success.

Do you have any advice for current English majors at Cal Poly?

Follow your passion(s), and not only embrace, but enjoy, your journey. Always remember that no two paths are the same, there are a million different ways to reach your end-goal, and celebrate your small and big wins along the way. I also believe that there is no reason to settle for mediocrity when excellence is available – so as all of my mentors have told me, don’t ever settle for anyone, or anything. Get out there and be your best self!

Favorite author/book and why? (or if you can't choose, favorite genre?)

One of my favorite novels is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because matters of the heart overcome societal expectations. I’m also a big fan of the romanticism and transcendentalism eras, due to their distinctive approaches to emotions and intellectual growth, and enjoy inspirational books focused on leadership, personal progress, and female empowerment.

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