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Random Rochesterite - Sara Gettman

One resident, numerous anecdotes

Sara Gettman

Name: Sara Gettman

Age: 41

Occupation: Clinical specialist for medical device companies

Where we found her: A Chair Affair

You work for medical device companies, plural? I’m on contract with two companies. I don’t do either full time. I’m also a substitute school nurse in Byron.

How did you get into that position? [After college], I worked as a nurse for five years, then stayed at home for 10 years with my girls. During this time, I was at a conference with my husband and I was in the exhibit hall, speaking with someone from a medical device company. He said, “Are you interested in coming back to work? ...”

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. It’s a completely different style of nursing than I used to do—coordinating the inventory and flow of product usage for these device companies.

How did you meet your husband? We met on New Years Eve of 1999, when everyone thought the world was going to end. We were both working in the hospital that night.

On New Year’s Eve? Bummer. It wasn’t bad! The nuns had such an amazing spread for New Year’s—shrimp cocktail and ice sculptures. We were both taking a break and got to talking and realized that we were born only 15 minutes away from each other in small towns in Ohio.

An instant connection! He called me at home the next week, and he said, “This is Matt Gettman,” and my first thought was, “Oh crap! What did I do?” He was a resident, and I was a nurse. But he was calling to ask me out on a date.

Where was your first date? Redwood Room. Aren’t all first dates there? I wonder how many love connections have been made at the Redwood Room!

How did you get involved in A Chair Affair? I started a few years ago when a friend of mine asked me to help out with the after-party. This year was my first time managing the auction. Holy cow, was that hard work.

How many auction items did you have? Over 230. The silent auction hit 136 percent of our goal. It was fantastic.

Five things you love? That reminds me of a story! My daughter, when she was in first or second grade, had to write three interesting facts about her mom for Mother’s Day. Her first two said, “My mom loves coffee” and “My mom wears contacts during the day and glasses during the night.” The third one was left empty. She only had two facts and that’s what they were! I told myself, “I’m sure she ran out of time. It cannot possibly be because she can’t think of a third interesting thing!”

But you do love coffee? I do love coffee. I love family time. I love watching my kids in their element. I love to go out to eat. I love shoes. I love my dog.

What kind of dog do you have? A French bulldog. He’s full of attitude and sass. His name is Marcel and he kind of runs the house.

Most humbling moment? I ran for the Byron school board last fall and lost by 10 votes. I came in fourth, and the woman who came in fifth was ineligible to serve because she had become an employee of the Byron schools. So she was not going to be able to serve, and despite that being in the media, she still received 936 votes. I just needed 10 of hers! It’s been a lesson. I’ve tried to impress on my girls that you need to be an informed voter. At first, I was extremely disappointed, but I have faith in the three people who were elected.

Biggest adventure? There are two. I went with my husband to South Africa for a meeting, and that was amazing. The other adventure was, when we got married, we left our family and everybody and moved to Europe for a year.

Whoa! Let’s start with Africa. We did a safari. We’re on this drive and these lions are chasing antelope—it’s a near kill, but they missed it. Then 500, maybe 1,000 yards later, we stop to get out and have drinks and snacks. And I’m thinking: We just saw hungry lions with a near kill and we’re getting out HERE? To have drinks? Seriously?

And Europe? My husband had a fellowship for a year in Europe right after we got married, so we didn’t do a honeymoon and moved there instead. We lived for nine months in Innsbruck, Austria and three months in Paris. And we really left everyone we knew. This was 2001, so we didn’t even have cell phones. In Innsbruck, people were kind, but there was no one to have conversations like this with, just the two of us, so we really just had each other.

Best advice you’ve been given? This wouldn’t have been my best advice 10 years ago, but now that I’m 41, I truly believe that some of the best advice I’ve received is something you once wrote in your [Post Bulletin] column: “Don’t look in the mirror at yourself for the first 10 minutes of the morning.” I cannot tell you how much better you feel if you don’t look!

It’s true! Let the lines fade! Also, think before you speak. Be kind. And do what makes you happy. I have a 15-year-old daughter and everybody is starting to ask her what she wants to be. I tell her: Do what makes you happy. Pick a major, study something you enjoy, and you’ll find the job later. My kids think there are 10 occupations, but there are so many opportunities. Until two years ago, I hadn’t heard of “clinical specialist.” I hadn’t even heard of my own job.

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Jen has an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and writes for the Post Bulletin and Rochester Magazine. She enjoys live music, adventure, and teaching writing classes. She lives in Rochester with her husband and two sons.

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