Commenting on changes from the pandemic - Sophia said “Our digital adaption in all areas of our businesses leapfrogged to five years in a span of a few months. It allowed great opportunities for creative disruption and accelerated a big shift to remote work and virtual meetings. It also forced us into rapid decision-making, with very dynamic talent reallocation.
The workforce and leadership had to be flexible and adaptable and learn new skills, and we had to accommodate that shift as we reimagine the new normal. We changed vertical leadership to lateral by developing shared core values and goals across key areas of our business model, replacing our single corporate mission statement.”
She went on to say That the pandemic was a great accelerant for developing mindful habits from healthy eating, managing mental and physical stress, and financial insecurity.
Asked what strategy she would have to get the business back to normal Sophia said “Reimagination through digitization. After the downturn, we all have an opportunity for a reset for growth for the next normal — both for business and industry.”
Looking forward to her favored accomplishments for next year – “Learn how to make a perfect martini and publish my book on the most amazing journey of my global escapades!”
Sophia noted some good advice she had received - "Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find yourself" from her older sister; and "Great lessons are learned when the stakes are high" from her father.
On female leadership challenges, she explained “That we don’t have a playbook for female leadership, and therefore need to reconstruct it! We were all taught a masculine model of leadership and everyone expects us to use that. Also, how to use our sisterhood to our advantage.”
Sophia signaled out to one woman she admired Madam C.J. Walker — she has carved the path for women entrepreneurs.
Sophia said it may surprise people that she believes her power of deduction is uncanny and gives her superpowers.
She went on to describe a time in her work that gave her pride as the moment now, and when she recognized she had impacted millions of lives across the world with her work in technological, legal, and policy initiatives that set precedents in the Internet and tech industry, plus financially empowering thousands of women in Africa through a seed-fund award program she initiated to increase their digital opportunities in tech-related entrepreneurship, training, and leadership roles.
At a personal level, Sophia described a typical work week – “An intense and focused 27 hours a week. I believe in work-life balance. It gives me the clarity of thinking I need to be creative. At the same time, I enjoy delegating a lot to my staff, as I get the pleasure of building their personal capacity in their various roles.”
Relaxing after work - Yoga, a glass of wine, and Netflix.
Looking back to her first job Sophia indicated it was as a rookie tech auditor at Bank of America, a company she admires and which helped her stand on her own two feet.
Finally, Sophia described some new discoveries during the pandemic - Binge-watching "Narcos" movies on Netflix and learning war strategies, the 2020 U.S. election which has turned to drama, endlessly scrolling on Instagram and TikTok, and inventing my own pop-culture on my lifestyle Instagram account to keep my friends and followers entertained and informed.