Most people get involved with AMA Lincoln one of two ways: A friend or coworker ropes them into coming to an event, or they muster up the courage to head to one on their own. Either way, Programming plays a huge role in our chapter. It’s those events where random connections turn to lifelong friends and you can snag an insight or two while you nibble on lunch or sip your morning coffee.

Making sure it all goes smoothly is one heck of a job. In 2023, Sara Horner began her first year on the AMA Lincoln board, taking on the role of leading our Programming team. And she’s been killing it so far. Her leadership — and the effects it has had — spans beyond her own team and we couldn’t be happier to work with her. Get to know Sara by checking out her interview answers below!


Tell us a little about your full-time job. What do you do? What kinds of people do you work with? What do you enjoy about it?

I work at Ameritas in marketing as part of the research, insights, and analytics team. By trade I’m a market researcher, which means I explore what’s happening in the industry or with consumers more generally. That usually happens by asking people questions or conducting traditional research lit-review style.

Nowadays, I mostly just try to take care of the people on my team: a group of hard-working market researchers, user experience researchers and data scientists. Our goal is to create a larger marketing insights engine that covers more information and provides more value to the organization. That means working with folks from across the business, which is really fun; you get to dabble in a bit of everything.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is taking care of my team and exploring consumer behaviors and drivers that inform strategy. Marketing analytics isn’t a function you hear a lot about so if you have questions/interest, reach out!


What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies you enjoy? Things you do to decompress?

My hobbies include walking, lifting weights, and golfing. I enjoy reading — mostly lightweight or comedic narratives these days — and going to the park or library with my daughter.


How does your perfect morning start?

The perfect morning starts before the world is awake. An ideal weekday for me goes something like this: up early, exercise, coffee and organize my day, family time to get the kid out the door, and a walk while my husband takes her to school. Then coffee again. 😉


What professional achievement are you most proud of?

I don’t tie a lot of my self worth to my career, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about my profession. I’m really trying to be a good leader for this small pocket of culture I can work to cultivate. Part of that means I need to be more organized and strategic than I’m naturally inclined to be. I am proud of the progress I’ve made thus far and if I can create habits around these areas I will be exceptionally proud of that. 


What personal achievement are you most proud of? 

I became a first-time mother to a sick baby during peak COVID. It wasn’t easy, but I’m proud of being 90% of the mother I want to be to this small creature that has to learn how to exist in the world by my guidance (a horrifying thought). Also, I’m proud of earning a Master’s degree. 


What advice do you have for young professionals in the area?

I really do advise people to have a career plan (to a degree). Key word: Plan. Give yourself the grace to be flexible. If you’ve got a specific job in mind, go for it — but don’t close the door on opportunities because it’s not a 100% fit. The jobs you have turn into the jobs you get, because that’s what you’re qualified to do at the moment. If you’re a marketing strategist who wants to be a designer, create a plan on how you’ll get there. It’s not impossible, but it will take work. No one cares as much about your development as you will. Own it.


What’s your favorite part about Lincoln and why?

I think my favorite part of Lincoln is the trail system. I didn’t really value it until I moved away, but it’s so commuter-focused and creates accessibility to all parts of the city. A close second (OK, it’s probably more of a tie) is how we rally around small business owners and the small business community in general. As consumers, it feels like we show up for small businesses. It takes a support system and I think Lincoln has that in spades.


Connect with Sara on LinkedIn!