Monitor 2021 Women’s List: Sarah Michael, CLFP

by Monitor Staff Nov/Dec 2021

Sarah Michael, CLFP,
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Digital,
First American Equipment Finance

Sarah Michael began her career at First American Equipment Finance as an entry-level project manager and then later transitioned to a sales role. In this role, Michael began to expand upon what she loves most: building new things. She identified an opportunity for First American to develop a brand new sales channel and then planned and recruited a new department, which is now a successful division at First American.


“I hope to see continued evolution toward inclusivity and be recognized for our industry’s culture of openness and belonging. I would like early career professionals to join our organizations, infusing the industry with new — even abstract — ideas and expertise, ultimately creating value for our clients that does not yet exist today.”

As the consumer world continued to make purchases more convenient, Michael saw an opportunity to create a similar experience for clients and joined First American’s IT team to make it happen. Michael led the development of FA | Experience, an end-to-end digital experience for clients that has revolutionized First American’s service model. Today, Michael oversees the marketing and digital department, with she and her team responsible for driving continued business growth.

The diversity in her experiences has allowed her to gain a deep understanding of the business and how each function works together to delight clients and deliver shareholder value. Over the course of her career, Michael has helped grow First American from $150 million in funded originations to $1.5 billion.

Michael challenges the status quo within the industry by experimenting with new ways of thinking, broadening the traditional definition of value equipment finance institutions can deliver to clients. She channeled this creativity into the development of First American’s digital experience, which now attracts 1,500 active client users each year. While she embraces human relationships as the most meaningful differentiator, she also recognizes the strategic role that automation must play for colleagues to work at the top of their skill sets and for equipment finance providers to deliver new value based on changing client expectations.

She was the recipient of First American’s Operations Person of the Year Award in 2011 and has been the honoree of various excellence awards and other peer nominated recognition. In 2020, Michael was named the recipient of First American’s Chairperson’s Award, the company’s highest honor. While an incredibly proud accomplishment, Michael is most fulfilled watching colleagues that she has mentored grow and flourish. She has enjoyed seeing these early career professionals face big challenges, push through adversity and go on to inspire others.

“As a senior executive at First American, Sarah masterfully leads our marketing and digital functions. She is someone we all count on to challenge the status quo and lead change. In an industry that requires excellent digital experiences, Sarah’s unique understanding of client needs is inspiring,” Alan Sikora, CEO of First American Equipment Finance, says.

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