ACOEP’s Director of Member Services, Sonya Stephens grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from the University of Florida. She moved to Chicago to attend grad school, decided it wasn’t for her and then tried law school for a semester, before making the decision of not attending anymore school for a while! Sonya has lived in Chicago for 14 years, and 11 of those have been with her Italian Greyhound, Rocco. She spends her spare time doing silks, traveling, and running.
Get to know a little more about Sonya below!
What’s a nickname your friends or family call you? I’ve never had an official nickname, but usually some mispronounced version of my name will stick around when someone hears it like “Sonjay” or “Songa.”
How long have you worked at ACOEP? Almost 6 years!
What was your very first first job? Wrapping presents and working in customer service at a department store at Christmas time. I hope that I never have to do that again.
What’s your favorite app on your phone? I don’t know about favorite, but most used is probably Uber, sigh.
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life what would it be? Probably pizza. So delicious and cheesy and wonderful.
Favorite color? Blue or red, depending on the situation.
Favorite item in your wardrobe? A pretty, grey winter coat that has a huge collar and a sash and wearing it feels like wearing a cozy bathrobe. All that I really want when it is cold is to be comfortable but look put together.
Do you have any hidden talents? I don’t consider my silks skills a talent – but more like the result of really hard work and determination. So I’ll say that I have a great memory instead. I can remember obscure, details from conversations and situations.
What is your ideal day off? Would not be spent doing any errands, that’s for sure.
Pick a favorite season. Why? Fall/Autumn “the year’s last, loveliest smile” I don’t like extremes in weather and fall is the best time to be outside, in my humble opinion.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago? Publican. Hands down. Their brunch pork schnitzel is so good.
What sports teams do you root for? Blackhawks and Cubs. I don’t care about football or basketball.
What’s one of your favorite parts about working at ACOEP? We all get along well and can laugh and joke with one another like friends, which is key since we travel together and spend a lot of tired hours together at conference.
If we went to look for you on a weekend, where would we find you? Probably at Aloft doing the silks thing or at home reading a book cuddled up with my dog.
What are words to live by? I always come back to this… “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” – Rumi
Favorite part about your role at ACOEP? Having a good department team, which really only means Gina and me, but we work really well together.
Where do you dream of traveling one day? There are too many places I want to go in the world and I plan to go to all of them eventually, but Easter Island and Antarctica are a tie for “dream destination,” because I know they’re going to require a lot of planning and money.
What is one spot in Chicago that you think everyone should visit? The Chicago Cultural Center (it is underrated)– entrance is free, it has a gorgeous Tiffany glass dome, free concerts several days of the week under the dome, and there is always an interesting display of art and architecture exhibits and projects.
What book are you currently reading? Station Eleven and All the Light We Cannot See