Staff Profile: Sonja Figueira
NCVLI welcomed Sonja Figueira in January as our new Finance Manager. You can read her bio on our Staff Page and learn a little more about Sonja below.
Who or what inspires you?
When I think of what inspires me, it is people who give of themselves to a cause greater than themselves. My father in law Fernando has been a renowned neurologist for 40 years in his city of Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. He is the type of doctor who contributes his gifts to this field in every way possible; committed lovingly to his patients and their families, continuing to research and learn, and sharing everything he has learned by traveling the World and teaching others. And without asking for a dime, he helps friends of mine who have been diagnosed with MS. But it’s not only his contributions to Neurology that inspires me. It’s the way in which he meets the World every single day, caring immensely for his family, embracing every person he meets with respect and open mindedness, and looking at every space in between with a grateful and positive attitude. Even though he graced my life just 16 years ago I know that he is the kind of person I aspire to be both professionally and personally and I’m so proud to call him dad.
What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve done in either your professional or personal life?
Sometimes achievements in life become great rewards long after they are complete. Achieving my college degree took a long and often doubtful eight years. I wasn’t always certain about my path, my focus, my gifts. As well, I got side tracked along the way, changing schools, living abroad, navigating life’s challenges. But after those 8 years, I had done it. And it was not only seeing my goal through to the end that I was proud of, it was learning later that I had been the first person on both sides of my family to complete a 4 (or 8!) year college degree. As someone who lives their life with high standards for myself, I try to now honor where I am at and the roads it took to get there. Recognizing my journey as not always the straight and narrow, but the one that offers me perspective about how I’ve grown and how I can maybe set a new path for those that follow, especially for my children.
Why should someone else get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
Long ago when I was studying psychology I knew I wanted to help those that needed it most give a voice to their circumstances, hurdles, their life seasons. I believe we live in a culture where often times we carry our voice and our story hidden behind walls for fear of being seen or judged or not accepted and I wanted to somehow help people navigate those walls. Years later, my career side stepped and grew into climbing the ranks at an advertising agency and after 14 years I knew that I wanted to re-connect with my core values and support an organization that would help others navigate those walls. Being a part of NCVLI has allowed me to recognize that a victims voice and their story can be the hardest one to tell. Offering advocacy, support, and guidance for a victim through that journey might not only impact the outcome of the case but give a voice to the victim and begin a healing process that might not have been there without NCVLI. And while I am still learning the depths and layers of how NCVLI helps to make positive impacts on those that need it most, I hope that I can contribute to the organization moving forward.
What are your hobbies?
I spend my days with my husband and our daughter, son, and dog Rio. We love being in the outdoors camping, hiking, exploring natural adventures. Those closest to me know I love planning parties, social events, and vacations both near and far at any chance I can get! Entertaining at our home for our family and friends is one of my favorite pastimes. And in between all of that, I am a recreational runner, motivational learner, and dabble in video and photography projects.