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Sarah Conaghan / 2010 Top 40 Under 40

Age 33 Place of Birth Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania Where you live Villanova, Pennsylvania First Job I began working at my Parish Rectory at age 14 - secretarial duties. What it taught me It taught me at an early age the importance of being responsible and reliable. I liked this job so much, that I stayed for ten years! My boss and Pastor, Msgr. Meehan, was the kindest and most compassionate person that I have ever met. He passed away last June and I miss him everyday. One thing that he said to me which has stuck in my head is: "Be good, kind and treat others good (not well, good!)" Status Single Three things people would be surprised to know about me 1. I am still afraid of the dark at age 33! 2. I once hit a "Do Not Pass" sign while trying to avoid a squirrel. The squirrel survived but my car did not! 3. At the tender age of 10, I was let go (aka kicked out) from my piano class-my teacher notified me that I was (and still am) severly tone deaf! Best advice you could give someone starting out Be confident! When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Don't waste any time by staying in an unhappy situation. Make sure to travel abroad before you get tied down - you will learn more doing that than in any classroom.

As children, spending the summer with their family in Donegal, Sarah Conaghan and her sisters, Karen and Mary, would be glued to their granny's TV set watching the Rose of Tralee competition. They scored contestants on their gowns and hairstyles. While most of her friends dreamed of becoming Miss America, Sarah was busy fantasizing about someday being crowned the Rose of Tralee. Conaghan, 33, the daughter of Thomas and Mary, both Irish immigrants, grew up in Villanova, PA, just outside Philadelphia. But there was no Philadelphia Rose competing in the international festival in Kerry until she founded the Rose of Tralee Center in 2002. "My dream of being the Rose of Tralee never did come to be as I didn't enter the contest but in the end I think I won something even better," she says. Three years ago, she started the Rosebud and Rose Petal Programs for girls 5 to 17. This year, Conaghan became managing director of the Mid-Atlantic USA Rose of Tralee Centre, which encompasses Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, as well as other east coast cities. She's actively involved in immigration reform activities, volunteers at the Commodore Barry Memorial Library, is a member of the Donegal Association of Philadelphia, and the Inspirational Irish Women Awards committee at the Philadelphia Irish Center. She is also an animal rights supporter whose favorite quote is, "I only hope that I can be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am."

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