Stories from our Intrapreneurs
Featuring Sowon Sawyer
Director of Scheduling
SundanceTV, AMC Network
“Be Bold and Think Bigger”
What was the hardest part of embarking on an intrapreneurial project?
The hardest part was deciding on one project because I had several different ideas that would have taken me in vastly different directions. Ultimately, I chose a project that I felt I could use within my sphere of influence to have the biggest impact at my company.
Did you find it challenging explaining to people why you were doing your project?
Although I felt that I had the ingredients to bring my project to life, it doesn’t fit squarely into my day-to-day job functions, so I did have to think about how to present it as a solution that I could implement as an extension of my “secondary activities.” I voluntarily co-chair our company’s employee-led Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and through that, I felt I had access to the right avenues to bring my project to life.
What role did your sponsor play?
My sponsor encouraged me to be bold about my choice and to think bigger. I really appreciated this advice and it helped me to get out of constraints I was putting on myself and my intrapreneurial thinking. His enthusiasm about the viability of the project was simultaneously energizing and reassuring. It also helps to have a clear agenda for each meeting and to go into your conversation with your sponsor well prepared. By having all the materials ready and doing most of the problem solving on my end, my sponsor could more easily help me decide between different paths and provide thoughtful feedback that would move the project further along.
What was most difficult about your project?
My project wasn’t easily quantifiable since it doesn’t involve tangible assets or processes that directly affect revenue. But with some research and figuring out the right angle with my sponsor, I was able to put together a business model and customer value proposition. This exercise gave me confidence that my project has real value and quality, and that I was on the right track.
How did this class influence your feelings about the industry?
When I think of the “industry” my mind goes first to the people who comprise it. Getting to know colleagues, leaders and trailblazers across the spectrum was a very positive experience, and it motivates me to work toward advancing our collective success. Entertainment has always been my passion. Learning more about the history of cable, getting to know the different parts of our ecosystem, and discussing future possibilities deepened my connection to the industry and my career within it. I’m excited to be a part of its continued evolution.
Do you have any advice for Intrapreneurs going through the program?
Keeping an open mind to the process as well as fellow Intrapreneurs is a great way to get more out of the IA experience. I was able to really enjoy the lessons, and make the most of getting to know my classmates, each of whom had different things to contribute to the conversation.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 5 years? 10 years?
I see myself continuing to add value to my company, while acquiring new skills and seeking out projects and responsibilities that challenge me to grow. With the knowledge that I’ve acquired through the program, I’m excited to bring even more to the table as a strategic and innovative leader who creates solutions and generates positive change.