Alumni Spotlight: Sabrina Elfarra ’07
Sabrina Elfarra ’07, posing with a flower at Instagram’s headquarters.
After graduating from Westridge in 2007, Sabrina Elfarra worked for Google for two years, analyzing their data and trends. Now, she works for Instagram’s data communications in Menlo Park, San Francisco. Spyglass talked with her about what she does currently, why she wanted to go into communications, and what her favorite part of her job is.
Q: What are you doing currently? What is keeping you busy?
A: I work at Instagram, looking at what’s trending around special events and generally what people talk about on the platform. I try to give our team a comprehensive view on what matters to our users based on things like hashtags. I will look at trends around events like the Grammys as well as Ramadan or the World Cup.
Q: What do you do with the trends?
A: I work closely with our Communications team. They work with reporters and share the trends that I find to create interesting stories around our super diverse user-base. For instance, we recently partnered with the Food Network to share up and coming food trends on Instagram.
Q: What made you want to go into communications, and why specifically Instagram?
A: I worked in news for a couple of years, and then I got my Masters [degree] at Stanford through their journalism school where they had a data science component tied in to it. After my Masters, I worked at Google, where I was similarly looking at trends around Google Search data, including searches around the Elections and the 2016 Olympics. Later on, an opportunity came up at Instagram that sounded interesting as it’s a platform that is super relevant to so many of us. I think it is a great place to keep pulse on what people care about in the world. Over 1 Billion users log in to Instagram every month to connect with people or communities they care about, which is amazing.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Definitely the people I work with. My colleagues are so passionate about what they do and truly care about the Instagram community as a whole. I feel very lucky to work with such amazing people while helping tell the story of Instagram.
Q: How has Westridge affected your career and where you are today?
A: Westridge really shaped my independence and taught me to stand up for myself and those around me. I think I am a strong woman because of Westridge, and I learned to elevate other women around me because of Westridge. I am so grateful for my time there.
Q: What advice would you give students who want to pursue a career in communications?
A: Make sure you’re really passionate about whatever path you want to take in life, even if you have a few steps ahead of you before you get there. It’s really easy to get caught up in thinking you should be a certain way or do things a certain way, but if you follow your gut and follow your heart, you’ll end up where you need to be. I also recommend taking opportunities whenever you can for the sake of learning. For instance, trying all different kinds of internships even if they’re not what you think you want long term, or being the assistant’s assistant. There’s nothing too beneath any of us, and I think every opportunity teaches you more about who you are and what you want.