Passions for developing people, connecting the community, and sustainability: Meet Sarah Small

Sarah Small is one of the newest members of the Local First Arizona team. Please join us in welcoming her as the new Business Sustainability Coordinator!

Tell us a bit about your background.

I've had the privilege of living in the Valley of the Sun since I was two years old. Arizona's dramatic landscape, filled with sunshine, cacti, and brilliant mountain views, has become my favorite sight in the world. I grew up in Phoenix, and a concern for the lack of gratitude and connection people felt towards our planet led me to study sustainability and urban planning at Arizona State University. I was always interested in the way people interacted with the earth, and I like to tell people that I fell in love with the earth in college. While I was always an outdoorsy kid, never wanting to go inside, taking it so far to nap outside, my studies really grounded me in my love for our planet. I received my yoga teacher-training certificate and began teaching during my junior year of college. After college I worked on the leadership team for Lululemon while simultaneously teaching yoga and meditation. I've spent the last two years diving deep into my passion for developing people, connecting with the community, and fostering personal growth.

What drew you to Local First Arizona?

Every once in a while you come across a company whose vision and mission aligns with your own core values. I remember exploring the Local First Arizona website and feeling goose bumps across my arms. I had finally found an organization that was taking a stand for something that mattered more to me than anything - community. After learning more about the organization and the way it celebrates the local and diverse communities, I Knew I Had to be part of it all.

What is your favorite local business and why?

My favorite local business is Sweet Republic. They make amazing ice cream using local, seasonal ingredients. They get all of their milk and cream from independent Arizona dairy farms, make all of their toppings by hand, and use sustainably harvested wood to make their ice cream sticks. When you walk in, you are always greeted with a smile and the sweet smell of fresh treats. It's Also The Best way to cool off from the Arizona heat.

Tell us about one of your life's passions?

My greatest passion is teaching yoga and meditation. The practice I offer focuses on helping people fall in love with themselves and their worthiness. Humans, it's easy for us to forget our radiance, potential, and capacity for fulfillment. Life gets in the way, heartache creeps in, self-doubt plants its seeds, and all of a sudden we are no longer the radiant beings we are were. I like to think of myself as a gentle wind that helps guide us back. Deep breaths, belly laughter, long hugs, and a few gentle allow us to exhale find ourselves on the path to self-love.

What makes you proud to be an Arizonan?

I was raised here and have always been thankful for the laid-back, happy culture most Arizonians have. I currently live in Tempe, in a community where neighbors interact with each other, go out of their way to support one another, and care about the safety of our neighborhood. I'm proud to live in an area that makes an effort to support and celebrate local businesses. I also love that Arizona offers farmers markets almost year round where you can indulge in spicy salsa, amazing locally grown produce, and connect with like-minded people.

What are you most excited to be working on at Local First Arizona?

I'm excited to help businesses and individuals realize their full potential to be sustainable. I see the immense opportunity businesses have to implement more sustainable practices, and I know that education is the key to planting seeds of change. I am eager to connect with, teach, and learn from businesses and individuals to see how I can support them in this season of change as we move towards more sustainable future.