Look up words synonymous to “purpose” and you just might find Saralynne Donovan’s name somewhere in the mix. The Quincy, Massachusetts native has been amazingly successful with the launch of her jewelry line, Sara Allie Bracelets, along with her business partner – Allie Findley.
When Saralynne’s not busy designing chic wrist candy for her fellow fashionistas, you can find her studying to become a radiation therapist at Laboure College. Although her plate is brimming with ambitious goals, her unwavering attitude and supportive loved ones keep her pumps planted firmly on her path of purpose.
Interview by N. Renee McFadden
Where do you currently reside?
I live in Quincy, Massachusetts – just south of Boston.
Where did you attend college?
I attended quit a few! I got my Business Management and Marketing Degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. I also participated in the Nation Student Exchange where I attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina (I discovered my LOVE for the south here). I currently attend Laboure College where I will major in Radiation Therapy, and in two years, I will work in Oncology!
What is your current occupation?
As of now, I go to school full time, work in retail full time and I teach Barre classes while co-managing a company, with my close friend Allie Findley, called Sara Allie Bracelets where we specialize in handmade stackable bracelets.
What are your hobbies?
I am truly blessed with great friends and a supportive, loving family and so I really enjoy hanging out with them whenever I get the opportunity! I also enjoy spending time with my Golden Retriever, Bailey. But my all-time favorite has to be shopping…I have a true addiction!
Where are some places you’ve traveled?
I can’t say I’m much of a world traveler – but, I really enjoy going down south! I have family in Florida, and friends in South and North Carolina as well as Georgia. As long as I’m with good company I could really go anywhere.
What can you absolutely NOT leave home without?
I CANNOT leave home without lipstick! I truly feel naked without it! I’m a slave to anything made by Bobbi Brown.
What are some of your favorites?
I love the color “pink”. My business partner and I laugh because we could both make all of our bracelets pink and see nothing wrong with it! I love shopping! Working for the JCrew company for almost nine years has helped me build a pretty impressive wardrobe. I also love country music. I love rolling my windows down and turning on a good Luke Bryan song on a warm, summer day. I also really love working out. I am lucky to teach classes at a nearby gym where I can share my passion for Barre.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I’m a pretty open book! No surprises here!
Describe your “Power Pump” and how it makes you feel when you step into it.
My power pump is the Madewell Mira Heel in black. When I put this shoe on I feel like I own any room I walk into – they are the perfect mix of sexy and chic!
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about making sure my life has purpose. I always thought that I would work in marketing or sales. They’re both things that I found I have a natural knack for. While working in the fields, there were many times where I would say “I am not making a difference” and felt unsatisfied. It wasn’t until my mother got sick with cancer, and I did things that I never in a million years thought I could do, that I discovered a career path that would be perfect for me – Radiation Therapy.
What do you feel is your mission/purpose in life?
My purpose in life is to bring my positivity and determination to a Radiation Oncology center and help make patient’s experiences more bearable. The one thing that helped me find my calling was when I would take my mother to her treatments. I saw first-hand the impact that just a smile and showing that you care can make on a patient’s mood.
Who do you admire most and why?
I’m lucky to have two people in my life that I admire. First is my mother. She fought cancer with such grace and dignity. I saw a true fighter in her because she never once felt defeated or sorry for herself. I would be blessed to become only half the woman my mother is! I also admire my father. He’s the most hardworking and determined person I have ever met! I admire his pride for his work, but also his commitment to his family. I strive to emulate his work ethic and positive, upbeat attitude.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in life thus far?
The best piece of advice I have received is to do nothing half-assed (excuse the profanity). Everything you do in life, you should be confident and proud of whatever it is! When I started Sara Allie Bracelets, I won’t lie, I was afraid of what people would say. You’re always going to get some type of negative feedback – it’s just the way life is. But it will never outweigh the positive! Not trying and not giving it your all, including the countless nights we stayed up for hours working on new designs and planning everything that goes into creating a jewelry line, is what got me on the path I’m on today. As long as you put your all into something, you will feel nothing but satisfaction at the end of the day.
What is the last book you read and what did you learn from it?
Honestly, the last book I read was for an ethics class – not my personal choice, but I did learn quite a bit about doing the right things to ultimately achieve a good life. My professor would be so proud!
How do you stay motivated?
I write to-do lists. I feel very accomplished when I finish them! Also, a former co-worker of mine challenged me to write down what goals I have, why I want to achieve them, and how I plan to fulfill them. I must say it actually works! Sometimes I feel silly, but I also feel writing these things down helps me plan and execute how I WILL achieve these goals!
Where do you see yourself in three years?
In three years I see myself just as busy as usual! If all goes according to plan, I will be working at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Sara Allie Bracelets will be dominating the fashion market, and I also hope to incorporate the two and design a charity line that benefits all illnesses.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I have to say I’m most proud and VERY shocked at how popular Sara Allie Bracelets have become. I started the business in January 2015 as a way to keep my mind off of the stress of what was really going on in my life. I honesty had no intention of selling the bracelets until Allie joined me and suggested selling them. As of May 2015, we were in three retail locations, launched our website, and were featured on two fashion blogs.
What has life taught you thus far?
This is a hard one but I have to say life has taught me that if you’re truly passionate about something then go for it! Disregard the timing, the cost, or the negativity you might face and do it. It will always be worth it in the end.
If you could go back and speak to your younger self, what would you tell you?
Please put the glitter hair gel and blue eyeliner down!! Kidding! I would say “stop trying to please others and focus on yourself.” If you don’t love and respect yourself, who will?
What have been the most important successes in your life thus far?
Figuring out what I was meant to do. I always imagined myself doing something to help others, but honestly I don’t have the stomach to handle being a nurse, though I truly appreciate what they do! Caring for my mother was one of the most difficult things I have ever done but it taught me that I am capable of a lot more than I ever thought. There’s a saying “with tragedy comes triumph”. I can say my mother’s illness, although tragic, has brought me to where I am today and helped me discover who I want to be.
If you had the power to solve one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
I want to cure cancer. It is the most unfair disease. It does not discriminate or care about your family. It is the most emotionally draining, time consuming, life altering, and bank breaking disease there is. Although I’ve been studying really hard to achieve a degree in radiation oncology, I would be happy to be out of my future career if it meant no more cancer.
Where can we find you when you are not working?
With my friends! We’re always laughing and making great memories I am blessed to have so many that I can honestly say that they will be in my life forever.
How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who you could always count on. The friend you would call, and no matter what, was there for you. And the coworker that went above and beyond, and the daughter and sister who always made you proud!
What is your greatest fear?
Failure. Not to say that I’m afraid to fall, but in the long run, not accomplishing my goals is a fear.
What is your hope for women?
I hope that all women can learn to love themselves for who they are. Nothing breaks my heart more than a woman who can’t see her self worth and lets someone else determine it. Be who you want to be and do what makes you happy and let everything else fall into place…I promise it will!
Shop Sara Allie Bracelets online at www.saraalliebracelets.com.