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Sarah Friar

Taking Risks in Career and Life


In this episode

Sarah Friar learned about the power of community from an early age. Growing up in Northern Ireland during a time of tremendous violence showed her the importance of finding common ground and taught her how to create resilience from within, both of which are lessons that she continues to live by today. Even in moments of fear and despair, Sarah was able to find her resilience and take risks throughout her career.

After checking all the boxes that she thought would lead her to become a partner at Goldman Sachs, Sarah received the news that she wouldn’t be getting the promotion she had been striving for. She could have stayed at Goldman, but her husband said something to her that she couldn’t shake — losing the promotion has set her free.

From there, Sarah considered what she’s good at, what she’s passionate about, and what the world needs, which ultimately led her to her current role. As the CEO of Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods, Sarah is now working to strengthen the power of community — a reflection of her lessons learned early on.

In this episode, Randall and Sarah discuss how curiosity and resilience are the keys to finding your path; how finding common ground can unlock social capital that allows you to get things done in the world; advice to women today who are working in a sexist environment; what to do when you aren’t passionate about your work but are making good money; why searching for an emotional connection helps to build stronger companies; why you should be taking risks in your career frequently; the role politics has in the workspace; how to use moments of failure to help you rise; and more…

Topics include:

-The power of community

-Why it’s necessary to do the nitty-gritty work

-Why it is important to learn both inside and outside of the classroom

-The importance of finding purpose at work

-How to use your fears to spur you into action

-Whether or not you should have a plan B

-Why extreme preparation matters

-Prioritizing mental health

-Why job hopping is a red flag

-How to strike the right work-life balance

-The secret side of philanthropy

-Why having a diversity of experience is advantageous

Sarah Friar is the chief executive officer of Nextdoor, the neighborhood network that connects neighborhood stakeholders, including neighbors, businesses, and public services, online and in real life to build stronger, more vibrant, and resilient neighborhoods.

Prior to Nextdoor, Sarah served as the chief financial officer at Square. Under Sarah’s leadership, the company launched its initial public offering in 2015 and added $30 billion in market capitalization.

Before her tenure at Square, Sarah served as senior vice president of finance & strategy at Salesforce. Sarah also held executive roles at Goldman Sachs, as well as leadership positions at McKinsey in both London and South Africa. She is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Finance Leaders Fellowship Program, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and co-founder of Ladies Who Launch, a network that mentors and inspires women entrepreneurs and business owners.

Sarah grew up in Northern Ireland and earned her MEng in Metallurgy, Economics, and Management from the University of Oxford and her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where she graduated as an Arjay Miller scholar.

Resources mentioned:


Books mentioned:

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized W



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