Sarah Rumfelt (MBA, 2020) is the Head of Marketing at Soda Health, a rapidly growing tech company in the healthcare sector. She visited Manderson on January 27th to meet with several Manderson students and discuss open roles at Soda Health, as well as to offer general career advice. We caught up with her after her meeting for a few questions.
What has your career path been since Manderson?
I started right after school at Walmart corporate in Bentonville and did merchandising. So I was helping to buy products for the store, helping decide where things went on the shelves and pricing those items. We were creating, at the time, an omni-channel experience, so the same team buying for the store was also buying for online. So, we were deciding a strategy for what went in store versus what was carried online, what distribution centers those items were stored in, and overall marketing strategy of those items. I was at Walmart for eight months, and then left to help Robby Knight found Soda Health. I was the first non-founder to join the team, and I did a variety of things. When I first joined, it was all hands on deck, just like any startup. So I was doing anything from pitch decks to data analytics, finance, and slowly started moving more and more into the marketing space, which is where I am now.
What does Soda Health do?
Simply put, we’re building technology that will transform social care. How we’re doing that is partnering with sponsoring organizations (such as health plans and non-profits) and taking a look at their populations to help them really personalize healthcare. There are a lot of groups of individuals who start to fall between the cracks. So if we start giving out benefits and resources to broad groups of individuals, there’s folks who might not need that type of benefit, there’s folks who can’t access it. So accessibility doesn’t always mean that it’s equitable. Also, giving something to everyone is not always the best solution. So we’re able to look at a variety of data to pinpoint where some of those care gaps are, and then serve up resources to address them. Rather than a health plan having to go to one organization to start to find those resources, then another organization to engage their members, then another organization to actually administer the benefits, we’re bringing all of that together.
What has the journey been like from “all hands on deck” to an established company?
It’s crazy–so now we’re nearing 40 people. When I first joined in June of 2021, we had four–I was number four. We’ve been scaling very quickly, which is exciting! When a company is young like Soda Health is, you have visibility into other departments and work cross-functionally with those teams. It feels incredible to be building something that will help people live their healthiest lives.
What advice would you give students who want to undertake a similar career path?
Be willing to learn and take on challenges. Something I wasn’t afraid to do at the very beginning was to take a risk. I left Fortune One to join Robby at Soda Health because of how much I knew I would learn and grow. That was what I told a lot of students today, too–just be willing to learn. The first role that you have out of college likely isn’t going to be the job you have for the rest of your life. You want to make sure the things you are doing, the skills that you are getting in that first job or internship are pushing you in the right direction and building a strong foundation.