Sara Jean Thoms

Honored by:Janine Whipps and Mary Gunderson
Brick location:A:23 and C:27  map

Sara Thoms, an outstanding, hardworking, entrepreneur who tackles her business and personal pursuits with zest and flair.

For me, Sara has been a mentor. Sometimes by example, sometimes by suggestion, Sara has shown me the fine points of being a team player, doing ones best work, and always pushing for that next good idea. I think Sara is the smartest person I know in business. One of her co-workers said, "Sara combines intelligence, experience, and honesty with a sprinkling of fun--a rare combination." Sara contends that she's not so smart she just does her work. That again reminds me just how remarkable Sara is.

Sara is an Iowa State University graduate in journalism and home economics with a foods concentration. She is president of S. J. Thoms and Associates, Inc. a Minneapolis-based marketing communications/public relations agency specializing in service to the food and food-related industries. This steadily growing business is just the most recent of her successful endeavors.

Sara began her career working in publicity at Pillsbury and by age 24 was ready to launch her own business. As an independent contractor, she was a key player in the development of cookbooks and cookware for users of the microwave oven. She garnered clients' loyalty and admiration for her creativity, persistence, sense of humor, and clear sense of purpose.

Sara received a master of international management with a marketing concentration from the American Graduate School of International Management, Phoenix, and studied at the Institute for International Studies and Training in Japan. She broadened her business scope by opening the full-service public relations agency that she has nurtured from a two-person shop to the eight-person staff she directs.

As a volunteer, Sara has been active on local and national committees for Home Economists in Business. In 1991 she was co-chair for local arrangements for the HEIB Annual meeting in Minneapolis, including working with dozens of committees that created the first Corporate Consumer Forum. She's been a board member of the Kidney Foundation of the Upper Midwest.

Sara is accomplished in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. She has traveled all over the world and taken extra time and attention for Japan and Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic. She is currently planning a Japanese garden for her yard.

When Sara Thoms does something, she does it well and she generously shares the results.


Mary Gunderson
JLMC/HE 1977

Submitted on 4/15/94