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Meet Sara Freer

By Allison Kooser

This month, we sat down with Opportunity Governor and Young Ambassador Sara Freer to learn a bit more about her and why she supports Opportunity International.

Allison: Hi Sara! Why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Sara: My name is Sara Freer. I work for New England Research & Management - an investment management firm headquartered here in Chicago. We manage all aspects of our clients' finances - from financial planning and asset allocation to the nuts and bolts of buying and selling stocks. I joke that I make money for people by day and help people give it away (to Opportunity!) by night. I live in Oak Park with my husband Andrew (who owns a film & video production company) and our adorable 1 year old daughter Ada. We love to host friends and family for get-togethers in our home and yard, and I love to read and to travel. 

Allison: Awesome. And I agree that Ada is adorable! What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Sara: Helping people. I love that I get to sit down with our clients, learn about their lives and dreams and goals, and then go to work to make it happen!

Allison: If you could invite five people, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would they be and why? 

Sara: First, my grandmother. She is Ada's namesake, but she passed away before they could meet. She was a strong woman of faith who inspired me in many ways and left a wonderful legacy, and I'd love for her to be able to hold her only great-grandchild. 

Next, Jon Stewart. Just because I love him. He's hilarious and responsible for engaging an entire generation of Americans to pay atention to what is going on in the world around them. Not sure how he'd get along with my Grandma, though! 

Then Melinda Gates. I love how she and Bill quietly support people with their money, and would love to hear more about what is important to them and why. And how they teach their kids to handle wealth. 

Fourth, Michelle Obama. What is it really like to live in the White House? How has it affected the way that she has raised her daughters? What are her dreams for them? 

And finally my daughter Ada. I have dinner with her all the time, but I'd want her to meet these diverse and powerful people. 

Allison: Great list. I would definitely come to that dinner party! You and I both live in Chicago - what would you say are the must-dos for people visiting our city? What should they eat/see/visit/experience? 

Sara: Chicago is such a wonderful city! I am a Midwestern girl and there is nowhere else I'd rather live. The food here is fantastic. I would recommend the architecture river tour, eating tons of great food and exploring various neighborhoods. And definitely come in the summer to see Chicago at its finest. 

Allison: I love the architecture tour, too! What is something that you have been learning recently? 

Sara: I just finished "I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time" which focuses on time management for successful working mothers. It was very encouraging to me as I dedicate myself to professional, personal and volunteer pursuits during this time of life with small ones at home. 

Allison: Ok, last question. Why did you decide to get involved with Opportunity and YAO? Why do you remain involved?

Sara: When I finished business school at the end of 2010, I wanted to get more involved in a nonprofit organization and I'm so glad I landed at Opportunity! I love the practical work of Opportunity. I love that microfinance makes sense, that it is empowering the clients to take control of their lives and to work hard to make their world better. Andrew and I are small business owners, and we can relate to the struggle for capital as well as the incredible feeling of empowerment and reward as one's business grows and thrives. We had the blessing to travel to Tanzania in 2011 with Opportunity, and it was so neat for us both to see firsthand the work and to meet the clients. It turns the traditional model of charity (handouts) upside down and empowers clients to build thriving businesses! 

Allison: Thank you Sara! We love having you as a Young Ambassador, Governor and friend! 

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