Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


My name is Sarah Saftich, I am currently a team lead, senior account manager at Top Hat – a high growth ed tech company! I am active, social and like to explore new hobbies. As an athlete I like playing most team sports – curling, soccer, gymnastics, dance, volleyball and basketball to name a few.


I grew to love basketball beyond all else but am so happy that I got to explore a variety of different sports, learn different skills – both physical, skill based and inter-personal skills.


I was captain of my University Basketball team, the Queen’s Gaels for 3 years, went to nationals twice, have two silver OUA medals, I graduated as one of three of the most winningest Queen’s basketball players in history and have now been working for two years. Within this span of time I was able to use a lot of the same skills which lead me to find success in sport to be promoted twice, exceed my individual goals and be recognized as a rising star at my company.

What are a few qualities of a great teammate? How did you embody those qualities?


I am fortunate to have not only played under great coaches, but with great teammates alongside me prior to and in my university career. I strongly believe everyone on the team brings something unique – and being a great teammate can mean different things to different people.


That being said, in my opinion, the most important qualities of a great teammate are:


A ‘we’ before ‘me’ mentality: having an understanding of the larger goal at hand and understanding your role in that is Important – although I was an important member of the team, and as a captain, I did not play much especially in my first three years. The work I did was for the team – to help propel us to our goal.

Commitment: whether you are there to reach your individual goals or team goals, committing to being on time, giving it your all and understanding there are sacrifices is important.

Coachability: Being coachable, listening and adapting is crucial to improve. Although I was very vocal as a leader – I also listened to coaches and my teammates on where my strengths lied and where I could improve.


How has sport helped you be a better leader?


Sport, especially team sport, in so many ways mimics the team dynamics in the workplace. Sports teams differ from families in that you rely on each other, but you are not innately committed to each other – that takes work. You motivate and strive for the same goal but each person equally contributes – unlike a family where mom and dad do most of the “work”.


This dynamic has allowed me to use my voice, enthusiasm and positive energy to motivate others and better understand how to form relationships that are professional and personal in nature.


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?


I was fortunate to have coaches, male or female, who empowered me to lead. Regardless of athletic ability or my ability to dribble or shoot a basketball, no coach ever made me feel like I couldn’t use my high basketball IQ and loud voice to fill a much needed spot on a team – someone who brings the team together and becomes an on bench or court coach.


Coaches need to encourage all their athletes to lead, and that comes in different forms. Some by example, some with their voice, some in games, some in practice. Put different players in positions where they can develop these skills and listen to their needs – what is holding them back?


What motivates you?


I’ve never had a particular song or quote that motivated me – to me it’s more a mindset. To motivate myself I often think put it in the perspective of doing my absolute best which will ensure I do not let my teammates down. I always remind myself anything hard will be worth it and I will learn from it – that looking back I will feel much more satisfied knowing I challenged myself to persevere.


Instagram: @ssaftich