Steamboat Springs Sara Ferris can’t sit still. So she keeps busy.
When she’s not working as a marketing coordinator for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., she might be coaching volleyball, as the junior varsity coach or as a varsity assistant for Steamboat Springs High School. Or she might be at a meeting of the Young Professionals Network or participating in Leadership Steamboat. Or she might be volunteering or bartending part time at Cugino’s Pizzeria. Or she might be skiing, mountain biking, hiking or camping.
Her involvement has been noticed. Ferris has been named the Young Professional of the Year as part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today and Steamboat Springs Chamber Association’s annual Navigator Awards. Ferris will receive the award during the Chamber’s annual meeting at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.
“Personally, I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving of professional recognition than she is,” said Chamber events coordinator Sarah Leonard, who works closely with Ferris. “I think she exemplifies what a young professional in Steamboat is, as far as character, hard working and community involvement.”
Ferris, 31, was born in Steamboat. When she was 6, her family moved to Boulder, where she graduated from high school. After attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where she played volleyball, Ferris “bummed around for a couple of years.” She worked at the Nantucket Yacht Club in Nantucket, Mass., and taught snorkeling and sailing in Key West, Fla.
Then she decided to get her MBA at the University of Otago in New Zealand. After graduating, Ferris returned to Boulder. While attending a wedding about six years ago in Steamboat, she met some Ski Corp. employees and soon was hired as a sales coordinator, a position that progressed into her current role as marketing coordinator.
Ferris organizes the ski area’s promotions and events. She’s also in charge of local advertising, corporate sponsorships and just about anything else related to marketing, such as putting together the trail map.
From booking the bands that perform during the Bud Light Rocks the Boat Free Concert Series to helping design the new permanent stage in Gondola Square and creating new events like Springalicious and Ski Mardi Gras, Ferris said no two days are the same.
“It’s a cool company,” she said. “It’s the Steamboat ski resort, which is awesome. But I love the events. That’s the best part of my job.”
Karen Schneider, sales and marketing director for The Steamboat Grand, which is managed by Ski Corp., said Ferris “effortlessly” handles all of her responsibilities.
“That’s where I get to see her shine,” Schneider said.
Schneider and her husband, Jim, Ski Corp.’s vice president of skier services, have worked with Ferris in various capacities during her six years with the company. They wrote a letter recommending her for the Navigator Award.
“We have found that Sara’s willingness to not only give of herself at the office but also in the community as one of her greatest traits,” they wrote, referring to Ferris’ participation as a volunteer for the inaugural Ski 4 Yellow fundraising event last ski season and her volleyball coaching duties.
Darcey Johnston, the director of coaches for the local Whiteout Volleyball Club, recruited her to coach for the club three years ago. She coached there before joining the high school program this season. Johnston has known Ferris for years, having played with her younger sister in high school.
She said Ferris is knowledgeable about the sport but also has a unique ability to explain concepts to players. Johnson added that Ferris has a way of commanding respect while being a friend to the young women she coaches.
“The girls absolutely adore her,” Johnston said. “She’s constantly made herself available to them, not just as a coach but as a mentor if they need someone to talk to or if they’re struggling with things outside volleyball.”
Ferris said she likes to stay busy, which is easy in a community like Steamboat where people are active and involved. She said it’s “incredibly humbling” to be named the Young Professional of the Year by people she looks up to and respects.
“I don’t blush very often or embarrass very often,” Ferris said. “It’s a huge honor, I think, to be recognized for being involved and for hard work.”