Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

Integrated Innovation Institute

Sarah Georges (MSTV '19)

Defeating Self-Doubt and Pursuing One's Passions

 “There's so much to do in this world,” Sarah Georges (MSTV ’19) said upon reflecting on her initial interest in the health care industry.

“That [interest] is still there, but I’m broader now. I would love to see how that interest could potentially incorporate into other fields that I haven't even thought about yet. I'm really just open minded to seeing how it could evolve.”

Georges joined virtualization software developer VMWare, Inc. as a program manager in August. She helps to manage the innovation lab – a team of five solution architects – by ensuring all tools are in place to deliver a successful project: defined workflows, resource allocation, and stakeholder buy-in.

“The team is so wonderful and supportive. They have taken the time to help me learn. I do take on some projects where I do more individual contributor work. So I'm not losing my skills, and it satisfies that desire in me. It’s the role I need for what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to have my own innovation lab, and I’m building that foundation now,” Georges said.

 The VMWare Team and Sarah on Zoom
Sarah Georges (top row, center) and her team at VMWare connect over Zoom.

Before VMWare, Georges’ trajectory had pointed towards health care: She studied biology as an undergraduate, and while a dual-degree student in the Master of Science in Technology Ventures program, she interned at healthcare investment firm Button Capital.

“Right before I started [at CMU], I had a conversation with my uncle. His background is in mechanical engineering, and he owns his own consulting firm. He told me to take a business class. When I saw the MSTV Program, I thought, ‘This is a sign,’” Georges said. “One year in Pittsburgh. One year in Silicon Valley. It was an opportunity to push myself outside my comfort zone. I knew something would come from it.”

The summer internship at Button led to a position there as a business development manager. Georges then joined Intuitive Surgical Inc., which develops and manufactures surgical robotic instruments, as a business analyst. After her contracted ended, though, Georges found herself at a crossroads.

“I wanted to get more into engineering, but I didn’t look at those roles because of my non-traditional background. Who would invest in me without that?” Georges said. “I let a lot of people's negativity get to me and make me feel like I was less than. But I realized that I could define my own type of engineering. It doesn’t have to look like what other people have done. I do bring a unique experience to jobs because I do think differently.”

Georges leaned on her network during the job hunt, crediting at least 10 women with helping review her resume, LinkedIn page, and interview preparedness. Most importantly, she built back her confidence – something she believes is key to being a changemaker.

“You can't help the world if you don't really love yourself. So when I think of change, I think of helping other people to get on that journey – for people to understand, or at least begin to uncover, who they are. It becomes a bit easier to overcome obstacles or to achieve whatever it is that you want because you're in alignment with yourself,” Georges said.

“I saw a talk by Dr. Cornel West. One of the things he said is that you don’t need a million people. You only need one person and something you’re passionate about.”

Georges refuses to limit herself anymore. As she grows into her position at VMWare, she has her eye on what’s next. Her immediate goal is to become a better program manager and to learn as much as possible from her team.

In addition to an innovation lab, she also hopes to open an international school for underrepresented girls, a passion which formalized when she started the nonprofit “Women in STEM and Health Wellness” (WSHW) as an undergraduate.

“With our program, we wanted to give young girls back that power: You are great as you are. We helped them at school and made sure that they had academic and career training. Those are just elements that I found that I really needed help with and that helped me succeed,” Georges said.

“Inner confidence is really what any person needs to succeed. There still must be that thing in you that will continue moving forward - despite failures and setbacks.”