Sarah J. Buek

Brown School Alumna; Adjunct faculty, Brown School 

Sarah J. Buek’s work with non-profit organizations may technically be “behind-the-scenes,” but the impact on each group she has come into contact with is immeasurable. With over 14 years of experience in the non-profit sector, her career is built on a deep sense of knowledge, a wide-breath of involvement, and a sincere passion for each and every project she takes part in. Through leveraging her strengths in managing performance, advancing outcomes, and evaluating strategy, she has left a lasting impression on countless organizations throughout the St. Louis Region.  

Sarah’s nominator communicates her sense of character best: “Sarah has a one-of-a-kind mind. She is a brilliant thinker who can bring clarity to almost any problem, and finds true joy in doing so.” 

As a graduate of the Brown School at Washington University, Sarah has a devotion and ingrained sense of pride toward the Washington University campus and community. She now works as adjunct professor at the Brown School where she serves as a professional development workshop presenter and an instructor for the Brown School Summer Institute. In this role she is able to combine her devotion to the St. Louis community and expertise in performance operations to embolden aspiring social workers. 

In 2016, Sarah founded her consulting firm, now called The IllumiLab. The IllumiLab helps non-profit organizations increase their impact through articulating their goals and measuring their performance. Sarah supports mission-driven organizations in defining and aligning their “Why, What, and How.” She gives a sense of authority and agency to team leaders, allowing them to carry and utilize their newfound skills into the future.  

Abby Clavin, an associate at IllumniLab, conveys that “Sarah’s drive to enhance the capacity of the organizations with whom she works is unparalleled. Her focus isn’t on changing what organizations do, but helping organizations do what they do better and equipping them with the tools to serve our community with confidence and integrity.” 

Sarah has significantly changed the ways in which numerous local non-profits determine, measure, and communicate their strategies and outcomes. She not only has a tremendous impact on the individual organizations she works with, but will also have an undeniable lasting impression on the St. Louis region for years to come.