Sandra Nomoto, BA’05
PR & Community Liaison and Executive Assistant
After running my own Public Relations agency for 10.5 years, I'm now working part-time for two amazing female serial entrepreneurs. Primarily I'm the PR & Community Liaison for Intengine.com, the search engine for good, and I'm also the Executive Assistant to Barinder Rasode, former Surrey City Councillor, CEO of Grow Tech Labs, and Board President of NICHE Canada, the National Institute for Cannabis Health Education. I feel fortunate to have roles in which I work closely with these passionate, values-aligned female leaders and use all of my past experience in PR, operations, and project management. CSR and cannabis are also two industries that are only going to grow in the near future, which is exciting to see and be involved in.
If you weren’t in your current professional role, what would you be doing?
I would love to go back to school and learn a combination of neuroscience and therapy. As much as the world is becoming more connected and technologically able to solve our biggest problems, I believe that emotional intelligence and mental wellness are some of the most significant barriers to us moving forward as a human race. I would love to help people become the best versions of themselves so that we can all use our talents and skills to benefit each other and the planet.
What did you envision your job or career to be when you started university? How has that vision evolved?
I had no idea what I was going to do or be when I started university. As I began following my passions of the written language and visual arts, I envisioned a career in Communications. I've now fulfilled that career by running my own agency - witnessing the huge changes from traditional to digital marketing - and am excited to learn more in my new career paths.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
If I could go back in time as a student, I would get more involved in extracurricular activities that reflected my passions and potential careers. It was great to join the Poetry Club and be involved in several poetry anthologies to express myself and meet people. I also had a big volunteer role in fundraising for our grad class gifts, which gave me an introduction to Communications. I wish I had used my summers not just to work or study, but perhaps take on a volunteer or internship position at a company that aligned with my interests, to give me an even clearer sense of what it would be like to work there.
What are some of the ways you build and nurture your professional network, and how has this benefited your career?
Starting my own Public Relations business helped me to naturally build a professional network as I had to develop relationships with media, clients, potential clients, and other partners. Early in my business, I used Meetup.com to find events to go to and meet people, and I made a habit of putting business card information into my digital address book and connecting with people on social media, primarily Twitter and LinkedIn. Especially on Facebook, I find that people are always looking for a specific product or service, and having someone to refer to them is a great way to keep engaging my network and helping others. When I closed down my business, I was able to make a smooth transition into new roles simply by tapping into my professional network.
How have you been able to leverage the skills and knowledge acquired in your degree and during your time at UBC to grow your career?
The written communication, presentation, and project management skills I learned in school were absolutely crucial to the working world, and especially when I started my business. By working at the UBC Call Centre, I also got to speak and work with a wide variety of students and alumni, and that gave me great listening and sales skills, which are required in many positions.