Drew Sannes, Director of Marketing & Operations, Light Consulting

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I joined Light Consulting in May 2020, a big shift from my previous job as a professional basketball player in Germany. I grew up in Hawley, MN and was a student-athlete at Minnesota State University Moorhead, receiving my undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration. In the community, I currently serve on the Board of Managers for GiGi’s Playhouse Fargo, referee high school basketball and recently wrapped up my position as chair of the FMWF Chamber Young Professional Network’s Marketing SubCommittee. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, checking out fun breweries and restaurants, working out, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

The people on my team and our company mission are what fill me with a sense of pride and fulfillment in the work I do. My team does business the right way, leaning into our values and focusing on making business light for our clients and community. We help small businesses be the best they can be by taking the finances off their hands and helping them reach their unique goals.

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why?

I have so many incredible people in my life! However, three women have played a big part in helping shape my journey: my mother (Jennifer Naatz), my college basketball coach (Karla Nelson) and my boss (Sarah West). These women have shown me how to be someone who goes about life with confidence, integrity, discipline, self-belief, love and faith. They have also instilled in me a drive to continually work to be the best version of myself in whatever I may be doing.

What drives you?

What drives me is living in a way that is authentically me while bringing out the best in those around me. As a maximizer, I am constantly striving to positively impact people and situations, wanting to inspire and lead whenever possible. I am energized and driven when I know that what I’m doing is making a difference for the better.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your lifetime?

My stepdad has always said that “good things happen to good people.” Although I know that’s not true in the literal sense, I have always held onto this idea when going through life. It’s a little reminder to always do the right thing and go about life with positive intent. The good things will make their way to you!

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

I love going to breweries and locally-owned coffee shops in our community! My favorite breweries in town are Junkyard and Drekker, while my favorite coffee hangouts are Twenty Below, Babb’s and Bully Brew.

What is your dream job and why?

If 12-year-old Drew was answering this, she would have said she wanted to be a cartoon voice actor. Now, I would say my dream job is not a specific role or title—it is one that aligns with my values and allows me to work at my highest and best use.

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our readers?

A book I would recommend is “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. This is a book I recently read and it opened my eyes to how you can intentionally build meaningful relationships with those in your life. A few podcasts I would recommend are “On Purpose with Jay Shetty,” “Oprah’s Super Soul,” “Dare to Lead with Brené Brown” and “Girls Gotta Eat.”

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I hope to walk away from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program with many things, tangible and intangible. I hope to gain new friendships, lasting leadership and interpersonal skills and more confidence in what I have to offer as a leader.

What do you think can be improved in our community?

This community is one I grew up in and one I will always be a part of in some way. I have been able to see it grow so much in the past 5-10 years, bringing a new feeling of excitement and community with the growth. A hope I have for our community is that it continues to flourish as a true “community.” It might be growing in size, but I think it feels more like a community than it ever has. I want to see people continue to come together and create positive growth.

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

I still feel fairly new to the business community, yet I already see there are big things happening in it. We have so many great companies based in Fargo, from startups to major organizations. Our business community is one filled with companies that want to help one another reach success. This area recognizes how important it is to lift each other up instead of pitting against one another. I am anxious to see what the next years have in store for this community.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

My passions outside of work include reading, checking out fun breweries and restaurants, working out, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.