" At Campsix, I get to apply the learnings I've gathered from each experience to help founders flourish. Through an iterative process of defining objectives and tackling projects, I am committed to supporting each entrepreneur no matter where they are along the continuum. "
SARAH REILLY ENGEL, FOUNDER
The long story of my personal journey begins and ends with a passion for startups. I founded Campsix in 2013 because I strongly believe that no startup should fail, and that with the right strategy and the willingness to apply it, founders can truly scale successful businesses.
With over 17 years of experience, Sarah has been a part of the ‘start-up’ culture since the infamous dot com era. Venturing cross-country to San Francisco in 2000, Sarah left New York after a 2 year role in Product Marketing and Equity Research at investment firm Donaldson, Lukfin & Jenrette and took on a Research Associate position at Red Herring Magazine, leading startup evaluations, editorial picks for Top Private Companies’ and C-level panels for Venture Market events. When Red Herring folded, Sarah assisted two brilliant women founders at venture backed beauty brand startup, Passport Cosmetics.
In 2002, Sarah landed a covetable Sales position at San Francisco based CRM leader Salesforce.com, and was quickly promoted to manage Customer Success for top Enterprise clients. As one of the first six members of this team, Sarah personally developed Sales and Marketing best practices for C-level executives, led webinars, customer city tours and conducted Business Process Reviews to help clients identify obstacles to success, resulting in recommendations for increased ROI. “This process is one that is invaluable for companies at any stage, simple operational changes can help companies become more profitable and efficient.”
After seven years on the west coast, Sarah was captivated by the buzz of digital advertising and began her migration back to NYC in 2007, where she most notably held positions at native advertising pioneer Vibrant Media and global cloud-based content marketing platform Thismoment. As the first sales hire at Thismoment, the company moved Sarah from New York to Chicago to open the Mid-west office. During this time she developed multi-channel Social Media Strategies for Fortune 500 brands, in addition to managing regional partnerships with agency holding groups and networks including Google, Facebook, and Twitter. “The social media technology landscape was at its peak, with several startups being acquired by large enterprise software companies like Salesforce.com and Oracle.”
Sarah concepted Campsix in 2012, but took on a leadership role at a Chicago based Web and App development startup, who was carving out a niche in the Facebook ecosystem as an Ads API partner. Through her passion for working with early stage companies and entrepreneurs to help develop their vision, build sales and marketing strategies and grow long-term profitability, Campsix was officially launched, in 2013, assisting clients across LA, Portland, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. This initial launch was brief, after Campsix client, Belly, offered Sarah a full-time Executive position, following a month-long consulting project. Belly was funded by Silicon valley venture firm Adreessen Horowitz, and had created a disruptive business model for both mobile apps and loyalty programs.
"They were at the 3-year mark, which is a critical phase for a young company. I saw an opportunity to really make an impact from within.” During her tenure at Belly, Sarah managed a team of over 30 Account and Community Managers. While focusing on Belly's small business and enterprise customer base, she built out Merchant Scoring, Customer On-boarding, Parachute Programs, Small Business Workshops, Quarterly Business Reviews, Wellness Visits, Client Resource Center, Enterprise Operations and developed long-term strategies for increasing customer satisfaction. Her notable contributions included achieving record low churn - decreasing over 1.5% per month, and record high Enterprise growth - multiplying Enterprise locations by over 600%.
In 2015, Sarah was offered an Executive leadership role at global fashion technology startup, rewardStyle. She (along with her husband) packed up and relocated from Chicago to Dallas, to manage Publisher and Retail Development in addition to Product Marketing and Content Marketing teams. Leading the vision and strategy for rewardStyle’s US business teams, Sarah took her passion for building data-driven solutions, world-class customer service and scale for the organization, managing over 40 employees across the country. “From Belly to rewardStyle, there was a natural transition that occurred for me, while they are different business models, both companies serve both B2B and B2C clients, and had reached the ‘what next’ phase of their companies’ acceleration." At rewardStyle Sarah utilized her skills in strategy and management to grow profitable territories. "Just give me a whiteboard...I love to dig into questions like, 'How do we monetize this'...or 'How do I create more value to customers', that is what gets me excited everyday.”
In 2016, Sarah shifted her focus to female entrepreneurs and worked with many early-stage tech clients looking to launch products, attract partnerships and raise capital. In addition to working with startups, Sarah worked with Vox, Omnicom and a handful of digital transformation clients applying her marketing experience to build go-to-market strategies.
“I knew Campsix would not scale, it’s a services business. I wanted to either start an accelerator or join one, so I could work with more founders 1x1.” In May of 2017, Sarah became part of The Circular Board/Alice mission, leading a virtual accelerator for high-growth female founders, and joining two female founders on their mission to build a more inclusive ecosystem for all business owners. She focused on numerous areas as an executive member of the team, most notably leading events, customer experience, monetization strategy and assisting with corporate venture and business development. Sarah continues to be an Ambassador for Alice while building out Campsix and the Small Business Studio, which will offer courses, retreats and guides on how to start and grow your business.
Along with her active roles within startups, Sarah led workshops at Chicago’s digital accelerator hubs at 1871, including Impact Engine, in addition to instructing students at the Chicago Startup Institute. She has contributed to multiple online publications on Digital Marketing, Social Media, Ad Tech, Startup Strategy, Customer Success and Women in Leadership topics. She is also an active mentor to many previous female employees. "I love writing, teaching and contributing to the development of our next generation. I have calls and meetings weekly with women I have worked with, and even their friends. It is huge passion of mine to help others connect their passion to their potential. Nine times out of ten these conversations lead to ideas that launch into companies."