Sara Stanley Urquhart was the founding director of Altitude Summit, the premiere conference for creative entrepreneurs, stylish social media influencers, and design bloggers. Past speakers at the conference include Martha Stewart, Ben Silbermann (Pinterest founder), Jessica Alba, Jordan Ferney (Oh Happy Day!), Liz Stanley (Say Yes), and Heather Armstrong (Dooce).

Sara created this successful business as a means to generate income when her husband, Stephen H. Urquhart, decided to run for the Utah State Legislature.

In this two-part interview, Sara discusses:

  • Part 1: How she created Altitude Summit as a stay-at-home mom with four children.  She also discusses the design blogging industry as a whole.
  • Part 2: Her Mormon faith transition.

Additional Bio Info: Sara runs an eponymous consulting business. She sits on the Salt Lake City Planning Commission and board of directors for the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah.  She is the founding board president of the St. George Family Support Center (2007-09). She was a member and board chair of the St. George Art Around the Corner Foundation (1998-2009). Sara has her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and her Masters of Emergency Planning from Jacksonville State University. Sara and Stephen have four children.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. Alma December 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Really great interview. I credit Altitude Summit as one of the integral influences/opportunities that has helped make my career. Most of the greatest achievements/milestones I’ve reached have direct links to relationships that I made at Alt and the opportunities that arose through working with amazing, talented women I met there. Because of Sara’s willingness to take a risk and start this conference, I’ve been able to provide for my family as well. I loved hearing more of her story in this interview. I have a lot of respect for both her and Steve.

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 8:49 am - Reply

      I love Alma. What a sweet comment. Thanks for being another strong woman in the world. And if anyone wants clever, awesome and beautiful design/illustration work done, look to talented Alma and her equally creative husband. A strong team.

  2. Haley December 20, 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    I have absolutely loved this interview!!! It’s such a breath of fresh air to hear a woman speak confidently about herself and to hear the story of a woman who can provide strength to herself, her family and her community. Every story of a successful woman has so much power to empower other women to do the same thing, and I am working on launching my own company right now. A few weeks ago I was at church the lesson was about spiritual gifts, I left in tears thinking that so many of the women around me had been taught not to acknowledge their strengths nearly no one in the room was willing to admit to having a single gift. I’m glad Sarah created a business that centers around empowering women in business. Thanks Sarah.

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Haley, good luck with your company! Whatever your gifts are, own them, use them and celebrate them.

  3. Mensch December 20, 2016 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    “There’s a lot of fake service in the church, and if we would take that time that we were giving to the church for fake service and give real service….”

    Thank you for this. Realizing that you can offer more Christ-like service outside of the church than inside of it is so liberating.

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Ha. I wondered if that comment would be controversial. Thanks for hearing it, validating it and restating it in a strong way. Made my day.

  4. Emily December 20, 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    I loved this!! More women voices in your interviews please! What a breath of fresh air! I really appreciated Sara’s openness, confidence and optimism. Thank you!

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Thanks, Emily.

  5. Cassi December 21, 2016 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I loved this interview. I remember women like Sara when I was growing up in the church – dynamos who made the trains run on time in the ward and stake and held their own in ward councils, etc. It was frustrating that they they couldn’t go all the way and be bishops, stake presidents, etc., or have the cultural and theological support use their talents in the world outside the church to run companies and financially support their families. Great that Sara was able to find her way to doing just that. I loved her candor and lack of faux modesty.

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Wow, Cassi, thanks for this comment. It is sad when any organization chooses not to use the talents and resources that are a natural part of their organization because of cultural dictates. Whether it be businesses, families, communities, neighborhoods, political organizations, or religions. It feels like a gift left on the doorstep that gets ignored, walked past and eventually ruined by the elements. I can’t do everything but I can do somethings well, let me do those things–right?

  6. JW December 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you! I related with so much of what Sara said and the power with which she said it. I feel like we are kindred spirits!! I also loved the art and emotional release of Tyler’s video.. Yes! Yes! It connected with me and I felt he was inspired to create it (he is so talented). Also, and most sad to say, the fake kindness. If that weren’t true we would not feel so ignored and almost shunned from our former ward members. My last day at church was the day a RS teacher talked about the ‘happy’ marriage of Joseph and Emma. My head popped up as I glanced around the room and no one (including myself) spoke up. That was 6.5 years ago and I haven’t missed it. But I never would have guessed that those people, who are still my neighbors, would treat me so coldly. Fake and fearful. That’s why I am bothered by this recent surge to help refugees. Must you be told to be charitable?? Just be good people. Period!!

    • Sara Urquhart December 22, 2016 at 9:05 am - Reply

      JW, great comment on many levels. I think one of the saddest parts of the leaving the church was learning how alone I was in this neighborhood where I served tirelessly for years. I felt connected to these people, to whole families, to individuals, to children. It became clear to me that the connection was one-sided. I don’t think they wanted failure for me but they couldn’t even have a conversation with me. It broke my heart. I am sorry you had a similar experience. For me, that was very painful.

      • JW December 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

        I must say, it was probably quite a shock for them to see me go. However, I had been reading, studying and questioning for years. Like you, once the light bulb came on, I was done. I tried asking friends and ward members for their opinions, but I mostly heard, ‘Oh, I don’t let that bother me’, which made me feel foolish. No one would engage in any conversation. I craved an intelligent discussion with those, like you, whom I had served alongside for years in YW, RS on ward and stake levels. Oh well, it’s been a learning process for sure! As I read the scathing comments today by people angry that the MoTab is singing for Trump, I wonder how they can stand by Joseph with their heads held high yet judge anyone else??? Makes for interesting news days! Cheers

        • Sara Urquhart December 24, 2016 at 6:18 am - Reply

          Ha. I remember saying those exact same words to people who were wanting to talk, “Oh, I don’t let that bother me.” But that is such an unsatisfying statement when you are really looking for answers and conversations. It is a comment that just shuts down all further conversation.

          I’m glad you’re finding your way.

  7. Wondering Wanderer December 24, 2016 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Sara, thank you. You are such a delightfully candid and strong woman, a great role model for young women. There is definitely a waste of talent, and misuse of talent in the church as they try to force square pegs into round holes. I am so glad to hear someone say out loud what many are thinking . . . that there is a world of difference between voluntary, genuine, personally chosen, creatively fashioned, and joyfully rendered service and the expected, obligatory, assigned, routine, proscribed, and dutiful service in the church. I eagerly pop out of bed now to go to my chosen service outside the church, rather than dragging myself out to check one more thing off my list.

    • Sara Urquhart December 28, 2016 at 7:48 am - Reply

      WW, thanks for the kind comment. I love to hear you are serving in the world. As we all do more of that this world will heal on many levels. Keep it up!

    • Sara Urquhart December 28, 2016 at 7:50 am - Reply

      WW, thanks for listening and for the kind comment. I love to hear you are serving in the world. As we all do more of that this world will heal on many levels. Keep it up!

  8. Amy Rich December 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Considering how many people have responded saying they feel exactly the way you do, and add to that my experiences and feelings mirroring yours (frighteningly similar!), I am certain there are HUNDREDS of LDS women, if not more, who are in the same boat as you are/were. They just don’t know it yet. You and I are blessed to have supportive husbands and families to cheer us on as we sludge through the mud. Happy to hear you have made it to the other side. I am right behind you, SISTAH! GO SARA!!!

    • Sara Urquhart December 28, 2016 at 7:53 am - Reply

      Thanks Amy. I am glad to have discovered there is another way. Strong women are stifled in the church (in many cases so are strong men–but women face additional barriers). I love hearing of women and men who challenge what they are taught and find a path that works for them. It seems that we are raising a generation of women and men who are doing this organically. They will not have the artificial walls of restriction that were built up around us. This makes me so happy.

  9. Hal December 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks ….. great messages. I hope this reaches a lot of member ….. so TRUE. Happiness awaits! Shackles take you down every day !

    • Sara Urquhart January 6, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Shackles. Yep.

  10. Kathleen January 4, 2017 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Loved this podcast. Love the fact that you own who you are, what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are. I am fascinated by how many Mormon women bloggers have left the church in the last few years. I think this would make a fascinating podcast topic also. I know you’re not a blogger, Sarah, but I wonder if this subject has come up in your circles.

    The issue of working for no pay is one that has haunted me my entire adult life. I swore I wouldn’t work again without being paid but here I am again, just having committed to a full year of service to a secular group. I really appreciated everything you had to say.

  11. Sara Urquhart January 6, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Kathleen, thanks for the comment.

    Yes, the topic does come up in my circles and has for years. It is interesting to watch this shift in members as we leave the church and as we raise our children to be thinkers and not just acceptors of what leadership has to say.

    Also, work can be fulfilling without being paid. I currently work and serve on non-profit boards, I give time to groups that are doing good and I give to my local community by serving the city. But I am no longer pressured into serving where little is improving or serving because someone else told me to serve. I own my time and will share it as needed.

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