Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Campbell
by Lacy McKee
Sarah Campbell came into UNC-Chapel Hill as a biology major on the pre-med track. The track she’s on now?
The race track.
As an account executive of brand marketing for NASCAR, Campbell works in the fast lane to manage NASCAR’s intellectual property and licensed branding. It was her experiences at Carolina, becoming a Hussman School of Journalism and Media student and working on the storytelling team for the 1893 Brand Studio, that steered her in this direction.
Campbell had her heart set on a career in the science world. However, her curiosity inspired her to seek academic advising and explore courses outside of her major. Taking journalism classes with professor Stephen Bouser was, as Campbell described, a “catalyst” in her journey to becoming a storyteller.
After discovering her passion for writing, Campbell took a leap and applied to the Hussman school. She first found her footing in media and journalism at the Daily Tar Heel writing stories for the arts and culture desk, but she desired experiences that were more advertising- and public relations-focused. She soon heard about the 1893 Brand Studio, and becoming a member of the storytelling team helped Campbell gain exposure not just to the copywriting world, but to campaigns and brand management in a real-world setting.
“I just think it’s a really good introduction to what actually working a professional job looks like because you’re basically doing the same tasks–you’re just students,” she said.
Campbell described the 1893 Brand Studio as “an experience that is really hard to get a lot of the time.” She cited the invaluable chance to work with real clients on strict deadlines and the importance of seeing the impact of her work as a student, something that doesn’t happen as often in her other experiences working for larger agencies and companies.
The skills she gained at the 1893 Brand Studio helped her to land internships at agencies like Evergreen and Oak and FleishmanHillard. She even worked in media relations for the Carolina Hurricanes, fulfilling her dream of combining her experiences in marketing and PR with her lifelong passion for sports.
Although Campbell currently works at a large company, she has never let go of her roots at the 1893 Brand Studio. From producing short-form writing to learning how to advocate for herself, Campbell’s experiences in a professional setting at the 1893 Brand Studio have been integral to her career. She credits the brand studio as a whole and its former managing director Paige Ladisic for dramatically improving her skills as a writer.
“I hear Paige’s voice in my head all the time when I’m writing an email,” Campbell said.
One of her guiding principles throughout her collegiate and professional career has been storytelling, something she has found herself doing no matter her position. Through the power of storytelling, Campbell elevated the clients she worked with at the brand studio through strategic copy and discovered the behind-the-scenes world of athletes as a story editor for Behind the Racquet.
“I feel really rewarded when I’m able to tell a story through whatever I’m creating,” she said.
Campbell is still guided through the stories she tells at NASCAR, albeit in a different way, crafting NASCAR’s story through supporting and managing internal and external branding.
Campbell’s experiences working for the 1893 Brand Studio provided her with the ability to dip her toes in different industries, preparing her to enter the world of NASCAR and work on a variety of projects to accelerate growth and reach broader audiences.
Sarah Campbell’s journey has been fueled by a diverse set of experiences, driving success for multiple clients she has served throughout her career. And with her new crew at NASCAR, she’s not planning on taking a pit stop anytime soon.