Marketing and branding company owner gets master’s to hone her customer journey skills
A week into her marketing internship with Gates Corporation, Sarah Goodlaxson had already met with agencies in Taiwan, managers in China and social media teams in Germany. Then, she capped it all off with a presentation to her supervisor.
“I’m having so much fun already, and they’ve told me they want to offer me a job,” she said. “My goal is to work in-house for a multinational company. Global marketing has always been my path.”
A Master of Science (MS) in Marketing student at Daniels who started in fall 2020, Goodlaxson secured the Gates internship through the Daniels Career Services Department. Hitting the ground running in January, she started work for Gates’ global mobility team, focusing on marketing for bikes and e-bikes. She hopes to soon expand to motorcycles, scooters and ATVs.
“Gates uses Power BI, and I’m familiar with it because of Daniels,” she said. “I’m able to speak everyone’s language, and it’s fantastic.”
Goodlaxson also praised her Daniels’ Consumer Behavior class, taught by Assistant Professor Gia Nardini, for exposing her to cutting-edge marketing techniques and methods for measuring their success.
“I’m obsessed with consumer behavior,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to marry psychology and marketing. I decided to go into marketing because it uses both sides of my brain. I’m logical and analytical but also extremely creative.”
A nontraditional student, Goodlaxson graduated from high school in 2007 but didn’t head to college immediately. Briefly a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, she went on to manage female MMA fighters, who represent a small minority of what she calls “a very male-dominated sport.” In that capacity, she worked to create fairer terms for these women, helping with contracting, marketing and reputation management.
Later, Goodlaxson went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Wayne State University in Detroit. After graduating, she worked as a digital marketing manager at a Detroit agency for more than four years. Moving to Denver in 2017, she took a position as a category operations manager at U.S. Foods where she was responsible for an inventory of about 15 million and a customer territory that spanned from El Paso, Texas, to Wyoming. She then opted to return to marketing and launch her own business, which focuses on helping women-owned, small businesses with their marketing and branding.
Eager to further her business education, Goodlaxson turned to Daniels’ MS Marketing program as her first choice. Her husband, Nathan Wellein, who manages a dialysis clinic, was in the midst of getting his MBA through Daniels’ MBA@denver program at the time, so she already knew about the College’s many strengths. She was particularly intrigued by its strong focus on global marketing. Sarah also observed firsthand Daniels’ emphasis on inclusiveness as well as its initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I watched what they did for the students—like implementing pass/fail for some of the classes in the first quarter,” Goodlaxson said. That option was great for her husband, who was extremely busy managing care for chronically ill dialysis patients.
“That solidified it for me, and I finally got the courage to apply to Daniels,” she said. “It’s always been a bucket list thing for me to get a master’s and a doctorate. I have the experience in analytics, but I really wanted to hone in on the messaging and customer journey, and that was the side of marketing I was missing.”
Not only was she accepted, she was named a Daniels Scholar, receiving a generous scholarship. When she graduates in December 2021, Goodlaxson will join her husband as a proud Daniels graduate, fully prepared to launch her dream career.