Sara Wroblewski '09 returns as 2016-17 Waring Prize Recipient

Sara Wroblewski '09 returns as 2016-17 Waring Prize Recipient

The entrepreneur is the head of the 501(c)(3) company, One Bead, which she founded while a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. On April 7, 2017, she told the WRA community how it all happened and what she learned along the way.

The Waring Prize can be awarded to a person at any age, but more often than not, the prize recipients who are recognized have put decades into their work and field.

"Sara Wroblewski is the exception," Don Husat '64 summarized aptly in his introduction of the 2016–17 Waring Prize recipient.

Wroblewski graduated from Reserve in May of 2009 and set off for Hobart and William Smith Colleges. It was there that she pioneered her own company, One Bead, which grew from a first-prize-winning entry in an entrepreneurial pitch competition into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. One Bead gives students access to leadership programming through the profits generated from sales of glass-bead jewelry handmade in Nairobi, Kenya.

In her talk, Wroblewski told a story — One Bead's story — and she was unerringly honest throughout the presentation. As she discussed both her achievements and her setbacks, she showed her audience, particularly the student body, what persistence and ambition can accomplish.

Wroblewski has had enviable and astonishing success, but for all that she amazes, she does not intimidate. In her talk, her natural exuberance, friendly demeanor and obvious passion was just as inspiring as her accomplishments and helped her connect with those seated in the pews, where she sat not too long ago.

Indeed, all visiting speakers set wonderful examples for students to learn from and emulate, but the resounding applause and eager questions from the students perhaps indicated how this young, enterprising alumna stood out among the outstanding. After all, Wroblewski is proof of a lesson often taught at Western Reserve Academy: You don't need to be a certain age to do something remarkable, to be a leader and to make a profound difference that impacts many.

Watch the full video.