Sara DeSantis jokes that she wasted three years of her undergrad because she was shy. “Going back, I would definitely raise my hand when I had a thought and ask more questions,” she says.
But DeSantis got over that shyness when she was completing her Master of Library and Information Science degree. She needed to be able to find answers, and that required asking lots of questions, so much so that it became second nature by the time she graduated in 2018.
That newfound confidence has been put to the test in her newest role as a content acquisitions specialist at Sling TV, where she fields pitches from potential TV programmers. But she didn’t go straight to streaming. Before joining Sling TV, DeSantis dipped her toes in many different sectors of librarianship.
After working at a public library, she moved to academic librarianship and a job at USC Upstate, where she discovered her knack for research. From there, she moved to pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, where she worked in their corporate library doing acquisitions.
“This was a new side of librarianship that I had never done before, and I really liked that,” she says.
Then one day DeSantis saw a job opening for a content acquisition specialist at Sling TV and knew she wanted to give it a shot.
“I knew that I had a lot more potential outside of traditional librarian skills,” says DeSantis. “I really like working with people. I have a lot of ideas, so I just kind of knew that I wanted to leave kind of that role.”
While it may seem like a big jump, DeSantis explains that her background and education made the switch to media easy.
“I’m really organized, and I think that really helps with my job because I have to keep everything very organized and know exactly what I am doing, and I have to know how to find answers,” she says. “I think that’s what a librarian is really good at, just knowing where to find the answers.”
Going from librarianship to the media/tech sector did come with challenges, but she says the confidence she developed in graduate school has served her well. She offers other women entering male-dominated sectors some simple advice.
“Be confident. Even if you aren’t exactly sure what you’re doing, just fake it,” she says. “I’ve heard that my whole career, just fake it, everyone’s faking it, and eventually you will become successful that way.”
Of course, DeSantis isn’t actually faking anything. She is simply figuring out how to navigate the workspace.
“It definitely makes some of the guys feel really awkward when I’m raising my hand,” she says. “No one else raises their hand but me, you know? I think that kind of helps. I’m a little bit more aggressive than I probably would naturally be, just so I can make sure that my projects are being taken care of, my programmers are being taken care of and my ideas are being heard.”