Sarah Q. Hargrave slid diagonally (sideways and up) from her career preparation for apparel design and fashion merchandising to her present position as vice-president of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation in Chicago.
''No, I didn't set that goal and make a five-year plan for reaching it,'' she says with a laugh.
''But there are lots of parallels between the career I thought I wanted and the position I have - and like.
''Fashion design involves looking at future trends, designing a product, making a management plan to achieve the end product, and following through until the job gets done.
''Foundation work has the same requirements: looking at trends, being sensitive to future needs, making a plan for meeting the needs, and making sure that the goals are accomplished.''
After graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree, Miss Hargrave worked in the management training program of a department store.Then she transferred to Sears, Roebuck & Co. as fashion publicity director for the Central Virginia Group. She organized and announced fashion shows, made media appearances, and ran schools Sears provided for its women customers. At that time particularly, charm schools and do-it-yourself decorating schools filled a need felt by many women.
She was transferred to Chicago headquarters to become the national director of Sears Decorating School, and, subsequently, national director of Sears' programs for business and professional women.
Because of her involvement with women's groups and her awareness of their needs, and because at that time there was no one in the Sears Foundation handling women's programs specifically, she became increasingly involved with foundation work. She was later appointed program officer and then vice-president of the foundation.
At present she ''wears two hats'' at Sears: She is with corporate contributions to organizations like the United Way, and she designs programs and makes grants for programs like the intergenerational dialogue program.
In 1976 she was chosen outstanding young woman of the year for Illinois.
She has just completed four years as a member of the board of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, St. Louis. She was chairman for two.
Miss Hargrave is on the Business Advisory Council of Walter E. Heller College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University, Chicago.