April 29, 1999
23 Ash Lane
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
I am so sorry to hear about Sara’s death, and I am so angry to hear about the irresponsible circumstances that caused it. As a Senior Partner here at J. Walter Thompson for many years I meet many young people exploring career opportunities in advertising. Frankly, I don’t remember most of them.
Sara is the prime exception. I remember her as smart, charming and engaging…characteristics that mark real success in the advertising business. At the end of our interview, I decided that she would be a terrific participant in Thompson’s highly selective intern program, reserved for the best college and MBA graduates. I asked Sara when she would graduate, assuming all through our interview that she was a senior at Georgetown, my alma mater. When she replied, “In two years,” I was dumbfounded. She had shown in our interview more maturity, direction, enthusiasm and grace than most college graduates, not to mention MBA students. I told Sara to call me back the minute she graduated.
I remember joking with my wife that I had met Sara and that she was years ahead of me in maturity and focus at that age. Sara has become and will continue to be my “gold standard” for hiring young people. So far, no one has surpassed her in an interview. The most famous advertising woman in the world, Charlotte Beers, has recently taken the reigns of J. Walter Thompson. After my first meeting with her a few weeks ago, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll bet she was just like Sara when she was in school.” The smarts, the wit, the charm and grace were all there.
What a loss for you and your family. What a loss for my advertising community. You have all my sympathy, and may God bless you and your family in your endeavors to keep these kinds of tragedies from happening int he future.
Director of Strategic Development
J. Walter Thompson
900 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611