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Alumni Contributions

Introducing Sabra Purtill, CD alumna

Sabra Purtill

Like many former Cav Daily staffers, Sabra Purtill found a home in the Newcomb Hall offices in a way that impacts her career to this day.

A 1984 graduate from the College, Purtill now works as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations at the Hartford Financial Services Group. In this role, she is in charge of communications with investors, analysts, and other individuals.

“The CD and my background in journalism was foundational for what I’ve done with my career on the communications side,” Purtill says. “There is a lot of really bad business writing out there. But being able to write succinctly is a skill.”

Purtill specifically cites the lede as a good way to start whenever she is creating business communications in order to center and focus her thoughts. She also still finds herself copy-editing memos that are handed to her at work, saying that she “can’t help but to proof things.”

This hearkens back to the start of Purtill’s journalistic career in junior high and high school, when she was involved with the school paper and the yearbook. Though she never wanted to be a serious journalist, she enjoyed participating in her free time. It was this attitude that she carried to U.Va.

In her first year, she worked for the University Journal, a startup conservative paper. She switched to the Cav Daily her second year because, she joked, she wasn’t as conservative as other members of the Journal.

The Journal was fun though,” she says. “Just like all start-ups.”

At the Cav Daily, Purtill started as a copy editor and a member of the production team. One summer she served as the summer editorial page editor. A dedicated student in the Government Honors program and a worker part-time, Purtill was on a rigorous track that kept her from joining the Junior Managing Board or Managing Board. However, the production schedule fit in well with her hectic life.

“Copy editing came at the end of the day, so it worked for me,” Purtill says. “If you were there for production at the end of the day, it was all hands on deck. There was glue everywhere, gluing pieces of copy to the print, and then we would have to rush to Crozet to get it printed.”

The chaos and busyness made the 5th floor of Newcomb Hall a community for Purtill, who today is still involved with the CD. She currently serves as a member of the Financial Advisory Committee on the CDAA Board. She has big hopes for the future of the paper, having seen the growth of digital channels from a position of authority within the financial services industry.
“I’d like the CD to be able to successfully transition to the digital age while remaining relevant to the University audience and remaining financially viable,” she says. “And these are huge challenges. But I am guardedly optimistic… the University and the CD are full of smart, hardworking young people that understand the digital age well.”