Trailblazer interview: Q&A with Sarah Kim, Chief Marketing Officer at Iron Bow Technologies

Meet Iron Bow’s CMO Sarah Kim, a Fairfax County career trailblazer

Iron Bow Technologies, an information technology solutions provider, recently opened a brand-new headquarters in Herndon. With its mantra of “What We Do Matters,” Iron Bow Technologies is a place where employees are empowered to grow professionally, according to Sarah Kim, Chief Marketing Officer at Iron Bow Technologies. A trailblazer for corporate success, Ms. Kim graduated from the University of Toledo in 2008, and has climbed the career ladder to C-level positions, including her current role at Iron Bow Technologies.

Are you early in your career and looking for some career inspiration? If so, read on. Ms. Kim sat down with Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to tell us about Iron Bow Technologies, her background, tips for career success, and why Northern Virginia is a great place to work, live and play.

FCEDA: Provide us with a brief overview of what your company does.

Sarah Kim: Iron Bow Technologies is an IT solutions provider serving public sector, healthcare and commercial markets.

FCEDA: Tell us about your background before you joined Iron Bow Technologies.

Sarah Kim: I’ve served as a marketing leader for government technology (GovTech) companies for the last 15 years, helping Software as a service (SaaS) and Information Technology (IT) organizations design and implement digital-first go-to-market strategies, develop robust demand generation campaigns, and build marketing teams from the ground up.

FCEDA: Do you consider yourself a career trailblazer?

Sarah Kim: To me, a trailblazer is someone with a hunger to be the best version of themselves by learning from the smartest people in the room, taking calculated risks, and prioritizing how they make people feel, regardless of their position along the way. By that definition, I could say I consider myself to be a humble member of that class.

FCEDA: How has your experience at Iron Bow been beneficial to your career?

Sarah Kim: Being a member of the Iron Bow family has created a tremendous opportunity for not only myself, but the incredible marketing team I’m a part of, to prove what marketing can really do to drive growth for a GovTech brand. Iron Bow partners with the biggest tech companies in the world, so the exposure to best-of-breed technology and subject matter experts is a dream for a marketing professional. It keeps me sharp, excited, and proud of the work we do every day.

FCEDA: Can you share with us a few examples of how Iron Bow is an impactful, corporate citizen in Northern Virginia? 

Sarah Kim: Iron Bow is the model corporate citizen and brand ambassador for Northern Virginia. It’s a bold statement but here’s why: first, our people: a group of genuinely kind human beings who happen to also be the best at what they do and have a shared passion for putting customers first. It’s in our corporate mantra: customer first and mutual respect for all members of our community, hung beautifully around our stunning new HQ in Herndon. And secondly, what we do matters, from our work with paws4vets to sponsor eight service dogs for veterans suffering from military-related traumas to assembling more than 300 meals for local schools, giving back is embedded in the DNA of Iron Bow.

FCEDA: What are the top reasons to choose Iron Bow for a career?

Sarah Kim: Iron Bow is the destination for professionals looking to work with best-of-breed technologies, and incredibly intelligent and kind people in an inclusive and empowering environment. If that sounds like you, head to ironbow.com/careers to learn more.

FCEDA: Could you please talk about a few initiatives you have led which has brought more awareness around diversity in the workplace?

Sarah Kim: Last May, I led our first Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration at Iron Bow with support from our DE&I committee. We highlighted various local Asian food vendors and artists outside our beautiful new HQ in Herndon. Shoutout to FCEDA for attending and promoting our event! And I am looking forward to leading this again in this year!

I’m also currently also working with our Senior Vice President of Human Resources on a partnership with Monumental Sports to launch a new “Believe in Women” series featuring members of the Washington Mystics, WNBA leadership and other major women leaders in the area. We are so excited to kick-off this amazing initiative, but at the same time we’re also always looking for even more ways to celebrate the differences of everyone who makes up our workforce!

FCEDA: What advice would you give women like yourself wanting to go down the same path?

Sarah Kim: Develop a hunger for your own power. Many times, we are tasked with doing all the hard work in the shadows, i.e. the power behind the positions of power. It is okay to step into that power and take ownership of it. And if you happen to look like me, know you can do this – be a leader, take up space and do great work as yourself – not always in the background.

FCEDA: What are the qualities you find most valuable in a potential employee?

Sarah Kim: These are the three things that I find most valuable:

  1. Coachability – not being coachable is the kiss of death regardless of what your position is
  2. Humility – staying humble is a must for any great leader or teammate
  3. Emotional intelligence – the ability to read the room and really understand what is needed to help people around you feel motivated, valued and important

FCEDA: Why is Northern Virginia a great place to live and work?

Sarah Kim: I have lived in Northern Virginia for 15 years. Nova is a great place to live and work because it’s thriving in all ways – economically as a destination for tech companies, socially with new restaurants, retail and entertainment sprouting everywhere, all populated with such beautiful diversity in our residents and visitors.

FCEDA: What are some of your favorite places to go in Northern Virginia?

Sarah Kim: Here are some of my favorites:

FCEDA: What would you tell someone that is considering moving to and starting a career in Northern Virginia?

Sarah Kim: Don’t stop exploring and connecting. Subscribe to FCEDA e-newsletters, read the Washingtonian’s “Things to Do” issues and build your local network with fellow professionals in the area.

FCEDA: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Sarah Kim: On a personal note, I’d love to highlight:

  • I’m a working parent like so many in our industry. My goal is to show my sons, Isaac (7) and William (4) that mom can do her best to be a strong leader and that they can also do the same as they grow to be kind, smart and giving humans in this world.
  • I’m proud of my blue-collar roots and believe it’s at the foundation of who I am as a leader today. This work ethic was instilled in me by my immigrant parents who started from nothing to build successful businesses in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • I’d be remiss not to give my husband, Stephen a shoutout for his role in all of my winningest moments in life. He’s a successful professional and combat Army veteran who is the glue that keeps our family together.
  • Shout out to all the Boston Terrier parents out there! We have 2 crazy BTs, Charlie and Bernie.

Find out more about Iron Bow Technologies at https://ironbow.com.