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Author's Note:
The fighter

sara vasquez

Sara is the account director for Character and brings to our work the production, management and story skills she learned in the film, comic book and advertising industries. Sara grew up in LA and, consequently, the film industry. She spent five years working in film production, juggling responsibilities as diverse as coordinating film premieres and managing an office building, before moving to Oregon to take a job with Dark Horse Comics, the third largest comics publisher in the U.S. Rather than ending her film career, the move to Portland and comic books actually kept her working in the movies as Dark Horse comic book heroes like Barb WireThe Mystery Men and Hellboy made the transition from page to screen.

After a four-year stint with Dark Horse, Sara joined Will Vinton Studios (currently Laika) where she helped to manage the Studio’s television and feature film development efforts. It was in this capacity that she first met the rest of the Character team. Sara came to work for Character in the spring of 2003. 

In her ongoing effort to use conflict as an asset in her life, she trains, competes, and coaches in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, serves an ambassador for the organization Girls in Gis, and has been appointed to her city’s new Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Steering Committee.

“For B2B businesses, Character is a powerful tool. I have used Character three times in my leader marketing roles, 2x were in B2B businesses. The Character work was the foundation of a transformation in product innovation/commercialization, rebranding, M&A, sales growth, and employee engagement. Character’s work helped us take dead brands and make them relevant again and helped us establish lesser-known brands with high share in a B2B market. What’s so unique is that you don’t create something that the ‘marketing talking heads’ think the company needs, you use the history, culture and DNA that is already part of the company to bring out the true story that is unique to only your brand. The Character team is so special, genuine, and has the perfect mix of creative and business knowledge to lead cross-functional executives through this process. ”
—Melissa Minihan, Head of Digital Commerce & Marketing, Veritiv Corporation

“Character gets to the heart of what good storytelling is all about. They’ve helped Wendy’s focus on what makes us unique, different and special and that’s helped us to get people’s attention, keep their interest and keep the business growing. We compete with much larger brands, but by being overt about how we want to attack those differences, we’ve been able to have a lot of tension and conflict in the story that we are telling. That allows us to keep the story fresh and to fuel it. The more we do that the more positive attention we get as a brand and the more the brand continues to grow, which, in turn, builds our confidence in our storytelling and keeps the courage level high.”

—Kurt  Kane, President U.S. & Chief Commercial Officer, Wendy’s Corporation

“I’ve been through Character’s story framework process four times in my career, and it has always added extraordinary value. It was a central piece of Walmart’s rebranding effort in 2006, as we sought a new articulation of our brand narrative and our purpose. It’s an equally powerful tool for us now, as Walmart defines its place in a rapidly transforming retail environment. And we are currently using it to do the same for Sam’s Club.”

—Tony Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart

“Character’s approach to brand building is unlike any other in the business. Jim and his team use the timeless truths of human storytelling to unlock story potential and connect deeply with brand audiences. I’ve worked with Character throughout my career, and my experience with Tabasco was as fascinating, inspiring, and productive as ever. 

Character worked with our team not only to help us re-examine and re-articulate the elemental truths of our iconic global brand but also to develop and apply practical tools that make the brand story framework user-friendly for our entire organization. 

I whole-heartedly recommend Character to any brand marketer who is looking to make intuitive and durable connections with their consumer.”

Lee Susen, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Tabasco / McIlhenny Company