Fellow Spotlight: Sara Cullen, Cornell University

Sara Cullen ’12 joined VFA after graduating from Cornell. As a VFA Fellow, Sara worked for RPM & CO, a boutique brand agency in New Orleans where she had a hand in all things digital marketing. Now, Sara is the founder and CEO of GEM, the first real food multivitamin for women. Read below for an interview with her from 2012 on why she chose to join VFA and click here to learn more about GEM.


Name: Sara Cullen

Hometown: Astoria, Oregon

University: Cornell ‘’12

Major: International Agricultural and Rural Development


What led you to apply for Venture for America?

As an international development major I was initially drawn to public policy and non-profits as way to pursue my interests. The insight into the inner workings of public bureaucracies frustrated me yet inspired me to deliver pragmatic solutions from an innovative and enterprising perspective. VFA became this perfect opportunity to work in an impassioned start-up environment where visions are boundless, impact is evident, and innovation is critical.

What were you doing when you found out you were accepted?

Just finished lunch with my friends at the Mate Factor in Ithaca, NY.

Now that you’re a fellow, what are you most excited about with regard to VFA? What do you hope to accomplish?

I’m really excited to immerse myself into a network of entrepreneurial driven individuals where big ideas are the norm. While with VFA I hope to learn all that I can and work with the other VFA fellows to accomplish great things.

If you had to live one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

I often refer to myself as a nomad. I grew up in Oregon, studied and worked all along the East Coast, and spent significant time both in Africa and Europe. I believe there is beauty in every corner of this world and no matter where I end up I know I can find the energy and culture to thrive. However, if I had to choose, I guess it would be San Francisco…I know, so cliché of me, but it is America’s current heart of creativity. Nevertheless, I am optimistic and believe that VFA has the power to change my choice and incite a proliferation of innovative cities!

Best thing about Cornell: Passionate alumni network

Favorite Book: The Story of Ferdinand (or also known as Ferdinand the Bull), 1936, by Munro Leaf.

Favorite childhood TV show: Anything TV Land–Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Happy Days

Favorite meal: I’ve always been and always will be a sucker for a bowl of warm oatmeal with berries and Greek yogurt.

Role model: Anyone who loves what they do and does it well.

Favorite holiday: Easter! A humbling day of appreciation, dedicated to competitive egg hunts and feasting on yummy food!

Best class you’ve ever taken: Controversial Topics in the Global Economy—A class taught by the amazing Professor Barrett that was comprised of four topic areas: obnoxious markets, intellectual property rights, sovereign debt, and corporate social responsibility.

Favorite movie quote: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” –Rick in Casablanca

Favorite thing to do on Sunday: Reading and yoga

Favorite entrepreneur: Muhammad Yunus

Favorite cereal: Blueberry Optimum

Most worn article of clothing: Button-down blouses

Favorite sports team: Oregon Ducks and Oregon Beavers. Now that I am living out of state I don’t like to choose sides.

Best trip you’ve ever been on: Riding in a herd of wild horses outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Favorite historical figure: Great-grandfather

Accomplishment you’re most proud of: I’’m happy that I am able to continue to do what I love!

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