As part of the Southeastern Conference’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the conference will highlight alumni-athletes who have gone on to successful careers outside of athletics.
Sarah Fraser Hollis began her collegiate career in 2010 as a walk-on for the Kentucky softball team. Sara shares with us her story and her thoughts on Title IX, in her own words, in today’s headlines.
I was always attracted to the art world – photography, filmmaking and graphic design – but wasn’t sure how to make a career in it. With the help of my sister, who was the UK’s Head of Journalism, and the brilliant people at CATS, I changed my major from Kinesiology to Integrated Strategic Communications, with a minor in Arts.
In May 2014, I graduated from Kentucky as an academic All-American, the softball team headed to the World Series for the first time in the school’s history, and I was accepted to the Chicago Portfolio School.
Over the next year, I took classes introducing me to the power of storytelling, how to create a 360-brand campaign, and how to leave this program with a portfolio that would eventually land me an art director job in the advertising industry. Took it.
In October 2015, I got my first job. From my first day at FCB Chicago to my last day in January 2021, I worked a lot. I worked on campaigns with some of the NFL’s most valuable players such as Doug Baldwin, Emmanuel Sanders, Stephen Diggs, and Tyler Lockett. I helped people feel more confident on airplanes, I re-imagined what incontinence felt like and what a female aerospace engineer looked like, and I worked for products that would help mankind move away from this planet and into new ones. Will take people.
During the global pandemic, I created a daily Story Time in partnership with the Chicago Public Library. Millions of children around the world have lost access to libraries and the books they love. ‘Live from the Library’ was created and books were virtually read to children with the help of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Common, John C. Riley, Jane Lynch and Obama. The celebrity reader I was most impressed by was Jenny Finch. It’s hard to put into words how great it was for one of my softball role models to be a part of this campaign I did!
In five years, I grew from a junior art director to a senior art director. I gained experience conceptualizing big ideas for some of the biggest brands in the world, and have earned several advertising awards, including a Bronze Telly Award, a D&AD Wood Pencil, One Show Gold Pencil, and several from the Top Advertising Awards Show. Qualifications included. The work I created over those five years led to FCB being named the “Top Creative Agency in North America” in 2021.
Since October 2020, I have been living with my husband and animals in Austria, where I am now a freelance art director, working with various agencies on local and international brands, such as Red Bull and McDonald’s. I have also taken the time to pursue my other passions of photography and filmmaking by documenting our European adventures every week on my blog, www.thepackmama.co,
The benefits I gained through sports carried over into my professional career, where I continue to build my self-esteem and focus on setting new goals while having the discipline to achieve them.
Although I was born 20 years after Title IX passed, and the thought of not being able to play never crossed my mind, I felt the impact of Title IX throughout my college career. Joining the softball team and graduating with a scholarship, transforming our field into one of the top facilities in the country, would not have been possible without passing Title IX. I competed at the highest level and my team kicked home runs out of the ballpark before we even slid down the barrier to do so.
Because of Title IX, I was free to play.
I was able to play because of the University of Kentucky.