Inspired by a passion for seeing things grow

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Sarah Kobsa (Master of Arts – Integrated Studies, 2014) squeezes more out of a day than most people even attempt. In the last year alone, the recipient of Athabasca University’s 2014 Future Alumni Award found time to complete her degree, volunteer with an organization empowering women and girls, continue managing her own national company and take on a full-time job with a U.S.-based publishing firm.

SarahKobsa-fullKobsa is proof that “you can balance all of these things” — and have a successful, rewarding, and albeit busy, life.

“I’ve always been passionate about education,” Kobsa says, “and AU made it possible to complete my degree while managing my own company and my volunteer commitments. I believe that if education is important to you, you can have it.”

Her studies provided an important professional boost, enabling her to develop a global perspective and skills that will be key as she expands her company beyond Canada. “I had initially intended to create myself an at-home job for part-time income as I completed my degree,” she says with a laugh. “But it went big — fast. There will always be a need for these services, and my growing company is proof of that.”

And if running her own company weren’t challenge enough, the lure of a contract with an Arizona-based publishing firm proved irresistible. Kobsa completed her degree early so she could take on a full-time contract heading up external marketing and advertising. “I shifted out of school and knew exactly what I was going to do.”

Kobsa also knew that she was going to maintain her significant volunteer commitment with Swiggtalk — the Strength Within Girls Group — an online community empowering young women and girls to share, learn and lead. She started to work with the group at its inception in 2005 and continues to play a key role as the Content and Acquisitions Manager.

“Swiggtalk is a place where women and girls can be inspired,” she says. “Young adulthood is a major transitional period in life, and Swiggtalk is a positive space where parents can feel comfortable with their daughters participating in a safe online community.”

Kobsa’s own achievements have become one of those positive messages. “I am able to share what I do with Swigg girls,” she explains. “I help young women see that hard work and dedication will help them to overcome obstacles and challenges as they work towards achieving their goals.”

She admits the combination of work and volunteer commitments can result in long hours, long days and often not quite enough sleep, but says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t feel like I work long days. I enjoy what I do, it’s very rewarding — and I see the growth and potential in all of it. In fact, I’m sure more could be fit in there somehow!”

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Future Alumni Award

Sarah Kobsa
Master of Arts – Integrated Studies, 2014

Sarah Kobsa squeezes more out of a day than most people even attempt. While completing her studies, she continued to manage her own company, which quickly became a full-time commitment for her and her team. She added a second full-time commitment immediately after finishing her degree, taking on the responsibility of managing external marking and advertising for an Arizona-based publishing firm. During it all, Kobsa maintained an important volunteer commitment to Swiggtalk — the Strength Within Girls Group — an online community empowering young women and girls to share, learn and lead. Doing it all, she sets a powerful example for the young women she works with. “I help young women see that hard work and dedication will help them to overcome obstacles and challenges as they work towards achieving their goals,” she says. “I don’t feel like I work long days. I enjoy what I do — and I see the growth and potential in all of it.”

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