Sarah Ditkoff is fearless in her willingness to drive change. She’s naturally iterative, experimenting with new ideas, platforms, and technologies, and understands how to “fail fast” and move on. As the head of marketing and key member of the proposals team, Sarah knows FableVision’s portfolio and in-house talent inside out and back again, and her deep knowledge of the company is matched only by her passion for the studio’s mission. Her eloquence and flair for language shines in every communication, written and spoken, and her voice has become synonymous with FableVision’s.
Ascending the studio leadership ladder to her current role as Communications Director, Sarah has built a seamless bridge between the marketing and sales departments—the engines of FableVision Studios. In addition to managing the direction of the marketing department and the highly competitive marketing internship program that she has carefully grown and cultivated over the years, Sarah is part of two different teams that help shape the culture and strategy of the company, and strives to present and consider a diversity of viewpoints to ensure that everyone—from staff to clients—is heard.
“I’m an open ear and an objective point of view—both for our production team, and for the client. Part of my job is to help ensure a project’s success at every stage: from proposal, to production, to launch—and beyond,” shares Sarah. “I hold my own work and the work of my team to a high standard. FableVision is a special place and each encounter a person has with our studio should have that ‘special’ quality that’s in our brand’s backbone.”
This month, we’re kicking off the New Year with a feature on one of FableVision’s leaders. Step into Sarah’s shoes to learn more about her leadership style, her tenacity to think strategically and on her feet, and the array of talent she brings to every project her hand touches. From creative insight to a strong head for business to superb interpersonal skills, see how Sarah does it all.
With over five years at FableVision Studios working alongside the various departments, how has the marketing department evolved during your time at FableVision?
We have a small team that handles the strategy and implementation of the studio’s marketing and communications efforts. With a group that nimble, it’s to be expected that our marketing efforts mature and evolve based on whose hand is touching which campaign and platform.
FableVision’s Communications Strategist, Mitul Daiyan, has brought a great sense of order to our marketing efforts by creating a more formal way of tracking long-term and short-term campaigns. Under her eye, we monitor, interpret, and report back on what’s working and what could be better next time. This helps us shape our efforts in thinking about how each campaign funnels into FableVision’s larger story and mission.
We’ve also been lucky to have creative, passionate, ambitious marketing interns during my time here. Their talents diversify our team’s skillset and we love to have voices come in with new ideas that are both innovative and actionable.
In what ways does your position as Communications Director expand on your previous role? How does a more external approach to communications influence your relationship with clients?
We use the word “communications” broadly at FableVision. On the marketing side of my role, I direct the studio’s communications efforts for the services side of our business. That covers everything from social media and campaign strategy to submitting conference session proposals for thought leadership opportunities. I’m also the primary marketing contact for our clients, and consult with them to identify opportunities to amplify their marketing and outreach efforts through studio channels.
On the business development side of my role, I work to streamline the proposal to production process. If you’re a client and you communicated with me during the proposal phase, I’ll be with you at the project kickoff to ensure that all the knowledge I have about your project’s goals are transferred to the team that will actually be doing the development work. You’ll also hear my voice on big deliverable calls. In addition to having the project’s producer as your day-to-day contact, I’m always available to the client for praise or concerns.
How do you juggle being part of both the marketing and business development / proposal team at FableVision? Is there any insight to be found in having a hand in both departments?
As with many small companies, there’s a lot of crossover between departments. To do my job, I need to be especially fluent in our portfolio, which gives me a unique vault of knowledge to pull from when I’m communicating with potential clients and in thinking about content, scope, or audience overlaps when I’m putting together proposals.
Every client gets personalized attention and everything we make is custom-created to match their vision—but it helps to have some touchstones in mind, especially in those early discovery phases and conversations.
If you had the opportunity to work with any client on any project what would it be?
I recently vacationed in DC and was reminded by how much I love that city as a place of learning, history, and knowledge. I’d love to continue to do work with the Smithsonian, and maybe one day with the Newseum.
I’ve always had a soft spot for museums. Informal learning spaces are so valuable—no matter who you are or which walk of life you come from, those doors are open to you.
You mentioned that you’re always thinking about what’s next. What would you like to see over the next few years from FableVision?
We could always use more kindness in the world. I’d like our portfolio to continue to contain projects that have themes of inclusivity, empathy, and diversity. Additionally, it will be important to do work that promotes growth mindset and teaches all learners critical thinking skills so that people understand not just what to think, but how to think. We strive to fuel others to do their part in moving the world to a better place.
You’ve impressively risen through the ranks in a matter of a few years. What advice would you give to other hardworking women like yourself?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was, “no one is going to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.” Believe in the validity of your own unique voice. You are valuable. You are talented. There is room for you at the table. Stay focused. Pick your battles. Be kind to yourself. Do the work.
Favorite personality to follow on social media: Simone Giertz
Favorite cooks: Ladies know what’s up. I will forever love:
- Ina Garten
- Nigella Lawson
- Sarah Carey from Everyday Food
- Julia Turshen
- Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen
- Joanne Chang
Favorite calligraphy resource: Calligrafile, founded by my favorite calligrapher, Molly Suber Thorpe. I was able to take a class with her last year at GrayMist Studio in Cambridge, which was so incredibly cool.
Favorite books: This is a terribly unfair question. How about a current favorite author? Roxane Gay killed it in 2017 (and earlier than that, but she had such a good year last year). My favorite “coffee table book” from last year is In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, which I read cover to cover.
Favorite pun: I ate too much Middle Eastern food. Now I falafel.