- Name: Sumele Aruofor
- Role at SketchUp: Sr. Strategic Marketing Manager
- Scale Figure Home Base: SU Pro
- Favorite SketchUp Tool: 3D Warehouse because you can search for pre-made models. I love adding character to projects using furniture, people, or the backdrop of nature. You can literally see your design come to life.
- Two Truths & a Lie:
- I’ve traveled across 5 cities in India solo.
- I am a twin, and I have twin sons.
- I’ve traveled to 36 states in Nigeria, my home country.
We are thrilled that Sumele agreed to grace us all with her presence on our axis for 2021 - her talent, passion, and expertise shine through in all she does at SketchUp, and we know she’ll be a guiding light as you navigate your models. Now, let’s get to know the lady of the hour!
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
I was born and raised in Nigeria, where there was no lack of creative influences and support throughout my childhood. I was always encouraged to express my authentic self, there were books galore and no shortage of National Geographic magazines in our home. Wondering what the thrill of being a rebel and clandestinely switching university courses - a la Fela Kuti (the King of Afrobeats who when studying Medicine in the UK switched to study music much to his parents’ chagrin) - would be worth the potential backlash, I asked my father what he would do if he found out. He dismissed the need for drama and told me to pursue whatever career I was passionate about, but focus on being the best at it.
When I was eight, we moved to a new house, where I was completely amazed by our new stairwell. (Random I know!). Intricate block work cast the most beautiful high-contrast shadow on the wall, and then you burst into a flood of light at the top of the stairs. Absolutely breathtaking. It was right then, that I knew what I wanted to do. For as long as I can remember, I loved watching Grand Designs on Sunday afternoons with my family and looking through Architectural Digest magazines supplied by my parents.
I moved to the United Kingdom to attend university, focusing on architecture in both my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. An internship at Foster + Partners, an interior design masterclass and a short stint in luxury interior architecture later, I chose to shift gears a little and deep dive into the realities of sustainable design. I joined the team at Sefaira in 2013, a novel start-up at the time. A few years later, Sefaira was acquired by SketchUp, and as they say, the rest is history.
How did you end up working at SketchUp?
At Sefaira. I started off doing a ton of sales enablement -- a mix of web, digital, and print design, and content creation. After Sefaira was acquired, I managed marketing for the EMEA region and after a settling in period, started to work on integrating Sefaira into the Trimble-SketchUp brand all in time for it to be offered as part of the Studio subscription.
Initially, I started crossing over into more SketchUp related work by focusing on the professional personas, recognizing the importance of these roles to SketchUp. From my experience in practice I knew that SketchUp was sometimes seen as a ‘lightweight’ early concepting tool. From using the software in my personal practice, however, I knew how robust the product is and that it was more than capable of serving the professional workflow - thus championing this message became a heavy focus of mine. Showcasing our ecosystem of tools to professionals in the AEC industry has meant channeling a focus that goes beyond just the desktop model.
In my current role as Sr. Strategic Marketing Manager, I am committed to understanding our professional AEC audiences even deeper. I hope to deepen and develop strong relationships with industry professionals so that I can understand their needs and provide timely assets that solve these problems in a way that is fun, useful, and built on knowledge. It is important to me that we transmit the collaborative culture we share internally across to our customers.
When you aren’t working in SketchUp, what do you like to do in your free time?
Well, my husband and I have three-year-old twin boys, so that is an adventure all in itself! When we aren’t learning, playing, dancing, or baking, we love spending time with friends and family - both my twin brother and sister live close enough to us! Prior to having twins, one of my favorite pastimes was to frequent the galleries and spend time along the riverside in London. I can’t wait to share these loves with my boys, post-pandemic.
Outside of spending time with all of my boys, I love to travel - next up on the list are Santorini in Greece, Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, and Cap Skirring in Senegal.
What is your favorite memory from your SketchUp career?
Honestly, I have so many! However, if I have to pick, the year that Sefaira was acquired was the same year Basecamp was held in Steamboat Springs, CO. Not only were the activities so fun thanks to the location, but it was a great opportunity to meet the wider SketchUp team and customers who really love the product. The energy was amazing and it really brought me right into the SketchUp mix - both with the team and with our customers. Riding the gondola up to the final party was the cherry on the cake!
You’re stranded on a deserted island, what three things do you bring with you?
I feel like it would be mean to bring my family to that situation, so I’d have to choose my Spotify subscription, a Nigerian jollof rice+peppered grilled chicken meal combo (sounds like more than one thing but it’s a thing…), and The Magic School Bus. The latter turns this whole situation into a solo getaway.
And the lie is....