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Best Under 40: Sarah J. Ponitz

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:35 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 8:38 a.m. CDT
(Mike Greene -
Sarah Ponitz

Age: 38 Occupation: Executive director, Faith in Action Residence: Belvidere, at least until our daughter graduates from high school Hometown: Peoria Family: Husband, Joe; daughter, Sydney, 17 Education: Bachelor's degree from Bradley University (magna cum laude); juris doctor from Southern Illinois University Favorite McHenry County restaurant? Café 20 in Marengo Favorite movie? "Braveheart" One word that describes you? Tenacious

What is your job and what makes you so good at it?

I am currently the executive director at Faith in Action of McHenry County. This wonderful not-for-profit organization provides no-cost services such as transportation, friendly visits, light yard work and minor home repairs to seniors, age 60 and older, who live at home or with a loved one in McHenry County or Sun City. Our mission is to help each person maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life for as long and as safely as possible.  

I absolutely enjoy helping others, particularly those in need. How many people can say that at the end of every week they can read countless thank you notes about how their efforts have made a real difference in the life of another person? There is no greater motivation to succeed than that.  

What accomplishments and innovations are you most proud of this year?

I would say being chosen as the director at Faith in Action has been an accomplishment and I am very proud of our dedicated office team and all of our volunteers. I feel that I also made some important changes to the program, which have helped it grow and become more effective.

SFlbHow do you give back to the community and what drives your service?

My husband and I are very dedicated to giving back to the community and we do so whenever we can. Whether it is a direct donation, participating in an event to raise funds or getting friends involved in an important cause, we do what we can to help. We feel that when we can give of our time, we should, especially if it will truly help someone else.  

What is something you have never done but want to do some day?

I would want to see more of the world and travel as often as possible, especially in the Mediterranean.  

What is the best career advice you have received? 

If you’re not willing to complete a task yourself, it is unreasonable to expect that someone else should do it for you.

Nominator’s comment:

“Sarah has been able to utilize her educational and professional strengths locally as executive director of Faith in Action of McHenry County since October 2011. She is accountable for program activities and operations in their entirety, oversees all financial matters and ensures appropriate funding for the organization’s success,” said Susan McCoy, a staff member. “To simply list Sarah’s accomplishments without mentioning the compassion that drives her work ethic would leave an incomplete vision of her and the qualities she demonstrates. Sarah has intended to work with underprivileged populations since law school; utilizing her knowledge to propel social service agencies to successful providers of care.”

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