In 2011 alone, Steven Sorrells, '99, traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Bogota, Caracas, Istanbul and Brussels as the director of strategy & commercial solutions in Pfizer's Emerging Markets Business Unit.
Sorrells is a member of a small team called Rapid Response whose members are brought in to lead projects that are strategically important and in need of immediate support to help ensure their success. Prior to his current role, Sorrells held a number of different positions in sales, management, operations and marketing over his 12-year career with Pfizer, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company.
Sorrells is currently leading the launch for a novel oncology product in the emerging markets of Latin America, Asia and Europe.
"When I am not traveling, I'm usually on conference calls early in the morning or late at night because my work crosses many time zones,” Sorrells said. “But like most people, the rest of my day is usually filled with meetings and appointments. I work across many diverse functions, so on a typical day, I collaborate with colleagues in finance, medical, marketing, strategy and operations. Also, given the global nature of my role, I am fortunate to work with incredibly bright people from all around the world."
Beyond the excitement of international travel (stand-out destinations include Turkey and India because of the people and food), Sorrells said his job constantly challenges him, creating many opportunities to learn.
Steven's competitive, team-driven nature was fostered while he was a student at Richmond, specifically on the football field. As a center on the Spider football team, Sorrells’ team won the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1998.
"Being a student athlete taught me prioritization, time management and the individual accountability required for teams to be effective," said Sorrells, who majored in finance. "It was a challenge, but I did my best to work hard both on and off the field to stay on top of my academics and enjoy a full college experience."
In addition to classmates, Sorrells connected with Professor Roger Schnorbus, who made the business world come to life by mixing textbook information with years of business and leadership experience.
It's these types of connections that stand out for Sorrells when he thinks about how his Richmond experience prepared him for his career.
"I hope Richmond students take every opportunity to connect with each other, seeking out diverse perspectives and opinions, especially those different from their own," he said. “Pay attention to what classes, projects and people you enjoy or have a passion for, because this can help you identify your strengths and talents as you transition to your career."
Sorrells is putting his experiences on campus and in his career to work to assist the next generation of Spiders. As a member of the Office of Alumni and Career Services' Advisory Council, Steven helps develop programs to assist current students in their internship and job searches.
"I'm proud to be a Spider,” he said. “The University provides an outstanding environment for students to develop and be their best whether in the classroom, the community or any type of playing field."
Spider in the Spotlight is sponsored by the University of Richmond Alumni Association.