Where Are You Now?

Sarah McAloon

Sarah McAloon

BA (Hons) Business Studies 1995

Sarah, a British-born, recently naturalized U.S. citizen, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sunderland and a master’s degree in marketing management from Middlesex University in London. She held marketing positions in the UK at Whitbread PLC, Diageo, and Pizza Hut before moving to the States in 2003.

Sarah McAloon is now chief marketing officer of the Texas-based CiCi’s Pizza. Prior to joining CiCi’s Pizza, Sarah was chief marketing officer at Sbarro LLC where she was responsible for creating the global marketing strategy for more than 1,000 eateries in 40 countries. Previously, the 36-years-old worked at Yum! Brands Inc where she led national marketing and media for Pizza Hut. During her nine-year tenure at Yum! Brands, Sarah implemented programs that grew Pizza Hut’s business during a weakened economy and also launched the successful WingStreet brand, recognized as a “Hot Concept” in 2007 by Nation’s Restaurant News.

In 2014, Sarah was recognized by Brand Innovators as one of America's Top 50 Women Innovators for her work. Even though this was a big recognition to her, the Sunderland graduate explains: “I don't focus on awards but on setting inspiring goals for myself and team and getting there together”.

Sarah has still abiding memories of Sunderland and her time living in the city: “My year out as an intern at McDonald's was a turning point for me, a breakthrough on a lot of levels. Actually at Sunderland I remember giving a horrible speech in my first year. I was so nervous. It was truly cringe-worthy. After that I took every opportunity to speak to get over my fears. For fun we used to go to a club called the Blue Monkey on Thursday nights and we enjoyed some shenanigans there.”

Sarah also gives some hints on how to get a foot on the career ladder: “Plan ahead. Be doing the next job before you get it. Get experience and do projects that show you have initiative. Be yourself and be nice. To get in the door, sometimes you need to climb in the window!”

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