NWA Entrepreneurial All-Stars: Sarah Goforth

Jul 13, 2021

After more than a year of being forced apart by the pandemic, we are celebrating what makes the Northwest Arkansas venture ecosystem great by highlighting the incredible founders and hardworking entrepreneurial support organization leader – all of whom drive our region forward and make it a better place to start a business!  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing profiles from some of the region’s entrepreneurial all-stars… Be on the look-out for more!  

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Sarah Goforth – Executive Director 

Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation 

Who has had the most influence on you in your professional/entrepreneurial journey? 

I’ve had many mentors in my career, but one person had outsized impact – Kate Forte. She was an incredible leader who accomplished very complex and difficult work through collaboration, and by elevating everyone around her, across teams and management layers and functions. I’ve worked ever since to emulate her style. 13 years later I still say “what would Kate do?” when I have a challenge.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement yet? 

My husband and I both took huge professional risks to move to Arkansas after building our careers in DC. Charting a fulfilling path in the place that I love has been a major life achievement for me. 

What about your biggest setback or challenge; and how did you overcome it?

All entrepreneurial people say this, but my biggest challenge is having way too many interests and ideas. I want another four of myself just to learn the things I want to learn, and another few of me for pilot projects. I need at least one of myself for all the Startup Junkie events. It helps to be part of a team that is very clear about our mission and goals – they keep me in check, mostly…maybe. 😊 

If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be? 

My coworker has a sign that says, “Everything is figureoutable.” I love that. I’d say, don’t be scared to swim out of your lane. Also, ask for feedback. It’s hard, but it gets easier. 

What’s your favorite business tool? 

I’m very excited to hand my calendar and inbox over to the AI overlords – Cortana is amazingly useful for me. I could also not survive without the 2x speed playback on Zoom recordings.

What makes a successful entrepreneur? 

By my definition, an entrepreneur creates value and controls (mostly) where it goes. Success is personal; for me it means creating value while enjoying a healthy life. I love living in a region that makes that not only possible, but pretty easy.

Someone wants to start their own business – what’s the first piece of advice or first step you recommend to them? 

Start with the problem! 

What’s a typical day of work look like for you? 

There is no typical day! Today I mentored two student-faculty technology teams, fleshed out a program pilot in outdoor recreation entrepreneurship, prepared for a workshop I’m giving for student-athletes on how to leverage their Name, Image, and Likeness, and met with collaborators at Arkansas Children’s Hospital who are developing innovative telehealth products. I closed it with a happy hour event for one of our programs at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub. Jealous? We’re hiring!

What keeps you up at night? 

Everything! I am a horrible insomniac. I am trying to give up caffeine.

How do you stay motivated? 

My work is so inherently motivating – I see our impact every day in the lives of students and in our community – that I never have to think about this.