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Apr 30, 2013

In the Spotlight: Angela Sakell, Bach to Rock


This week’s edition of “In the Spotlight” features Angela Sakell, vice president of marketing for Bach to Rock in Bethesda.

Sakell previously was vice president of marketing and sales for D.C. nonprofit BoardSource.

What’s the biggest challenge you face day to day? Managing growth and success is the biggest challenge. The positive energy you get from successfully growing an organization is phenomenal, but also can be exhausting. Bringing on new staff and ensuring everyone is focused on the right things are the keys to keeping the energy positive without burning everyone out.

What businessperson, living or past, would you most like to have dinner with? And what one question would you ask? If I could go to dinner with Steve Jobs, I’d ask what advice he has to share with an organization that is young and growing and is heading toward being a national brand, but isn’t there quite yet.

What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about your job? Our kids at Bach to Rock gig out a lot, and I go to many of these events. It’s great to watch kids having fun and to see their parents having just as much fun.

Your most unhealthy habit: Not getting enough exercise.

Biggest pet peeve: Not taking responsibility for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Own up to them, figure out how to prevent them moving forward and get on with it.

Best lesson you ever learned from a mentor: Never let them see you sweat.

What keeps you up at night? Finding high-quality franchisees throughout the country to grow the brand.

Most interesting project you ever worked on: Training 2,300 franchisees and their employees in six weeks, which required managing a team of 70 trainers traveling to 35 cities to deliver 150 small-group training sessions.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? The Dalai Lama. A day of meditation would do me good.

What’s one thing you’re glad your company didn’t know about you before you were hired? I take all my vacation days!

What is your greatest extravagance? I love to travel and hike. This year, my family is going to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and the Great Smokey Mountains national parks and Ireland.

Favorite place to do business: At the Starbucks on Old Dominion in Arlington, on the top floor next to the fireplace.

What word or phrase do you most overuse? “It is all good.”

One piece of advice for young, aspiring business leaders: Start doing the job now that you aspire to. It is often in hindsight that others recognize your abilities.

What D.C.-area business leader do you most admire and why? I admire Diana Wells, president of Ashoka, a global nonprofit leading profound societal transformations through social entrepreneurship. Under her leadership, the organization has grown exponentially, helping thousands of people throughout the world. More importantly, Diana has been able to do this while successfully balancing being a mother and wife.

One question you always ask a potential employee: Tell me your greatest success story.

What do you must most value in an employee? Honesty. Without honesty there is no trust, and without trust you cannot rely on someone.

One thing you wish you could change about your job: That I didn’t have to cross the Chain Bridge to get there.

What’s one thing you can’t live a day without? Coffee.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Erma Bombeck. If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.

What is one thing about which you are consistently dishonest with yourself? That wrinkles are laugh lines, and gray hair is a sign of wisdom.

Read the article on Washington Business Journal.