Sanky Spotlight: Alexis Sachdev
Welcome to the Sanky Spotlight, where we shine a light on the talent we have at Sanky. For over 45 years, we have succeeded because of our team of trailblazing fundraisers — who are not just invested in what fundraising looks like today but what it could look like tomorrow. This month, our spotlight is on Senior Copywriter Alexis Sachdev.
Alexis joined Sanky as a temporary copywriter when Associate Copy Director (then Senior Copywriter) Megan McDonell went on maternity leave. “I met with her I think the first day she came onboard, thinking we would have two luxurious weeks to train and get her ready. But my son had other plans, and I went into labor that night! Alexis didn't miss a beat, jumping right into our projects like a champ,” Megan says. Alexis didn't miss a beat then, and she still hasn't since she became a permanent member of the Sanky team.
Alexis started her career as a journalist, where she worked at the news desk of a very small, local paper. “Beat reporting has two speeds: slow, boring news days when you have to make a township board meeting sound like Game of Thrones; and tragic, when your assignment exposes you to just the worst people are capable of,” she says. Over the next few years, she hopped around outlets and worked on a few pieces she was really proud of, including an investigative piece about a women's shelter that allegedly misused state funding and food stamps, and a long-form piece following a man struggling with heroin addiction through the drug landscape in South Jersey.
But by the time the 2016 election rolled around, she was beyond burned out and felt like she didn't have a life outside of the news. “The morning after the election, I was walking to work and saw swastikas graffitied all over South Philly. One side of my family fled Poland during WWII and escaped the Holocaust, so seeing this was just like a WTF moment. I had to swallow down my emotions and report on a hate crime in my own neighborhood. I was so fearful of retaliation, and was terrified to leave the house for weeks. That was the moment I knew I couldn't do that job any longer,” she says. After leaving her career as a journalist, she got a job in fundraising at a veterans nonprofit. “It touched on the aspects I loved about journalism: interviewing people making a difference, connecting me to my community, and telling a compelling story that people want to listen to.”
Alexis finds all of those things she loves at Sanky too. “To me, copywriting, especially in fundraising, is all about telling a story that inspires action. And it's always so affirming when you're able to do that successfully. I love when clients let me be my weird self, which usually comes out in the form of writing from an animal's perspective,” she says. For North Shore Animal League America, Alexis developed a cultivation email from the perspective of a senior dog, Kimber, whose owner had passed away. That email, and the unique angle Alexis took with it, really touched constituents.
Alexis recently toured North Shore Animal League America with Designer Kira Dunleavy. You may remember reading about Kira and Alexis' friendship in the Sanky Spotlight piece about Kira. “Seeing Alexis at NSALA, I stood there and felt in my core — Alexis is living out her dream and passion. She has answered her life's calling. Alexis was beaming on our site visit,” Kira says. “On our tour you could see the wheels in her head in motion: Asking the NSALA VP questions about volunteers and employees — the people who are at the heart of this organization. What's their story? How are they making a difference? How can we showcase this in our next campaign? She was smiling ear-to-ear with every question she asked and oozing with joy while she held puppies. She creates and shapes the messaging and voice for campaigns that save lives. My best friend is a rockstar.”
That rockstar status is evident in the non-writing work Alexis takes on at Sanky, as well. She is a member of DIG, our diversity and inclusion group, where she helps facilitate discussions and resource sharing. She's also co-written some blog posts on diversity and inclusion topics, like the post on community-centric fundraising or our most recent one on the history of women in fundraising. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are real passions for her — she's volunteered with the Anti-Defamation League as a youth facilitator for a few years now, delivering anti-bias and anti-hate programming. “It's so rewarding spending time with high schoolers and sometimes educators, too, taking these concepts that are so hot-button and misunderstood, and guiding them through this process of recognizing our shared humanity,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, when asked about her favorite part of working at Sanky, her answer was: “Definitely the people. I'm in awe of our Creative team for their passion and, well, creativity! They inspire me all the time, and have a great sense of humor. Especially my bestie, Kira!” And the feeling is mutual! “She brings the same wit, intelligence, enthusiasm, and passion she puts into her writing to our Creative team meetings, and you always learn something new and fascinating about her. We're so lucky to have her on our team!” Megan says.
The most recent thing the Creative team has learned about Alexis is that, not only has she joined a roller derby team, but she also did artistic roller skating as a kid, which is apparently exactly like ice skating but on wheels. She is a trained pastry chef too, which comes in handy during the busy season. “Our busy season coincides with the holidays, so there's lots of recipe development and testing going on, which sounds like more work but really is my favorite form of creativity and brain detangling. Plus you're rewarded with chocolate chip cookies,” she says.
When she's not writing, roller skating, or baking, she's probably reading (“If you ever need a book to read that isn't written by a stuffy European guy, give me a ring.”), gardening (“My bread and butter is indoor tropical plants, but this year I'm branching out, pun intended, into edible gardening. We have jalapeño and carrot sprouts growing right now! UPDATE: these have both died.”), or hiking with her older pup, Huck. In addition to Huck, she and her husband have Honey Pie, a puppy who was recently rescued from a dumpster in Texas, and a cat named Hana.
Needless to say, Alexis has a lot going on! Luckily, with Summer Fridays just around the corner, she'll have some extra time to just relax. When asked how she plans on spending those afternoons: “Drinking a beer in our pool. Am I allowed to say that?”