Sabina Ramsey never realized she had the “entrepreneur gene” until a job loss in 2004 inspired her to take control of her destiny. “I was a consultant for a large union in Sweden, but I was almost too ambitious for the role,” she recalls. “I said I’d never work that hard again unless it benefitted me and my family.”
When her husband received a job offer in Newark, Delaware, the couple thought, “Wow, the land of opportunity.” With two small children and one on the way, Sabina’s goal was to devote time to motherhood while launching a communications career in the U.S. It would be a formidable challenge for any woman, especially one who was adjusting to a new country (she missed Sweden’s lengthy parental leave) and still learning English. “I had no connections, just a will to be on my own and succeed. That’s when I made my most courageous move.”
Sabina pitched website ideas to a department at the University of Delaware. She’d never created a website before, but launched one the department ultimately kept for 12 years. “That first project helped me realize I could be successful in communications even if I’m not speaking my native language,” she says. “Plus, I was able to carve out time to be with my family and eventually began running, which helped clear my mind.”
When the family moved to Buffalo, New York, Sabina met a local NAWBO-Buffalo Niagara member who invited her to a meeting. She recalls feeling like “the shyest girl in the room afraid to contribute.” Of course, Sabina warmed up to the group and NAWBO helped her gain confidence, develop her strengths, set higher goals and think strategically.
In 2008, Sabina launched Insight, a female-led strategic branding and marketing agency. “I realized that communication requires a lot of strategizing and courage to meet with high-level CEOs,” she says. “I needed to grow into that.”
The support she received from the women at NAWBO fostered a belief in herself—so much so, that she took their advice and became president of the Buffalo Niagara chapter in 2016. That same year, she reached out to other women in the community who felt isolated as she once did and invited them to meetings. Her goal was to double membership by making women feel confident and proud of what they’ve accomplished. That, she believed, would infuse enthusiasm into the chapter. She launched a campaign called “Owning It” and the chapter grew two times the size that year.
Sabina applies that same tenacity to her company where she recently improved communications for both the area’s leading parking company and largest transportation agency, and anticipates similar results from work she’s beginning for a prominent hospital brand. In fact, Insight is positioned to double its 2018 revenue this year. “I’m proud of where we are as a company,” she says. “I’ve learned that if you just keep going, you will reach your goals. It just takes courage and endurance to get there.”
That endurance comes in handy at home, where Sabina keeps up with her husband of nearly 20 years and three children: 22-year-old Nora who is earning her master’s degree; 17-year-old Liam, a high school senior who is working at a pizzeria; and 15-year-old Sean who is completing high school. The active family enjoys Buffalo living, where they hike, camp and explore nature. Sabina is also challenging herself to beat her best 5K running time of 22 minutes, 50 seconds (aka, a 7-minute mile). With perseverance and courage, she’s sure to get there.