Surrounded by family, friends and fellow alumni, two exceptional University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics alumni were honored by the college April 11. Dr. Claire Pomeroy was inducted into the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame, while Sarah E. Sanders was the inaugural honoree of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
The Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes Gatton alumni who have earned exceptional success in their careers and in their communities. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award recognizes those under the age of 45 who have enhanced the reputation of the Gatton College through their outstanding professional achievement, personal accomplishments and/or their loyal service to their alma mater.
"These inductees join a group of highly accomplished individuals, including Fortune 50 CEOs, top business college deans and professors, entrepreneurs, judges and policymakers, internationally known researchers and philanthropists, who have met the challenge to adapt and succeed in a quickly changing world market," said Simon Sheather, dean of the Gatton College.
Pomeroy is president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, advancing the foundation's mission to “improve health by accelerating support for medical research through recognition of research excellence, public education and advocacy.” An expert in infectious diseases, Pomeroy is a longtime advocate for patients, especially those with HIV/AIDS, and public health. She passionately supports ongoing investment in the full range of research. She has a special interest in health care policy, with a focus on the importance of the social determinants of health. She has published more than 100 articles and book chapters and edited three books. Pomeroy serves on the boards for Becton Dickinson & Company; Morehouse School of Medicine; New York Blood Center Inc.; Sierra Health Foundation; Foundation for Biomedical Research; iBiology Inc.; New York Academy of Medicine; and Science Philanthropy Alliance. She was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine in 2011.
Pomeroy received bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Michigan and completed her residency and fellowship training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota. She earned an MBA from the University of Kentucky. She has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, University of Kentucky and University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Pomeroy was chief of infectious diseases and associate dean for research and informatics at the University of Kentucky. She joined UC Davis in 2003 as executive associate dean and in 2005 was appointed vice chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine. She became president of the Lasker Foundation in June 2013.
Sarah E. Sanders, the college’s first recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, is co-founder and co-CEO of NATIVE, an AgTech startup empowering local farmers to meet the rising demand for local, traceable food.
Sanders began her career working in hospitality at the Tavern Restaurant Group, a family-owned business started by her father in Lexington. Sanders’ passion for the food and beverage industry has been apparent since a young age, but during graduate school she began to focus on technology and sustainability. Upon completing her MBA in 2014 she joined Rubicon Global, a cloud-based platform for waste and recycling services now valued over $1 billion, where she worked for the CEO, Nate Morris, managing investor relations efforts through multiple rounds of fundraising. After tremendous company growth she transitioned to recruiting to create Rubicon’s first SMB (small-to-medium-size business) and mid-market sales teams.
In 2017, she joined Toast, a cloud-based point-of-sale system now valued at $1.4 billion. She relocated to New York City to aggressively grow Toast’s market share in the iconic Manhattan restaurant scene.
In April 2019, Sanders was invited to attend the first ever Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit in Israel. She also was recruited to attend Summit Los Angeles in November 2018 with 2,500 of the brightest emerging global entrepreneurs and participated in the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In 2019, she took the Founders Pledge to donate 10 percent of her entrepreneurial earnings to charities that provide access to clean water and vision care. She also founded a scholarship, which will annually award a college student committed to studying for a career in sustainable agriculture.
Sanders earned her undergraduate degree in business management from the University of Kentucky and her MBA in international business from Xavier University.