Sonya Barnes International
Current graduate student Savannah College of Art & Design M.A. Luxury & Fashion Management
Current personal or leadership goals: Learn some new cooking techniques and recipes and perfect my tennis game. Raise awareness of the new scholarship foundation I just launched; Sonya Barnes International, and raise money for aspiring female seniors to pursue a degree in the fashion industry. I also want to increase awareness and deepen my involvement with Lily Pad Haven for young girls and women to get out safely from sex trafficking.
If you could describe your Leadership Charlotte experience in a few words or phrases what would they be? Community. Insight. Connectivity.
What do you remember most vividly from your Leadership Charlotte experience and why? Wow! Besides the friendships? I remember Opening Weekend and standing around and determining to see how we were all connected. In a group of more than 50 people, we ALL were connected or had some commonality one way or the other. My connection was with my classmate Rob Cummings…we LOVED the 80’s music. To this day, we’ll see each other and catch up or bring up a song.
What’s a lesson that you learned through LC that has stuck with you and why? We are all community. Although this city is very divided by it’s communities, each and every one of us makes up the whole and that ONE person can make a difference by just starting or being into action and then enrolling others. We are a WHOLE community; one person at a time.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment and why? Personal accomplishment….I completed a half marathon a few years back and I tell you the mental space needed to train, run and finish was serious! It really let me know; mindset is key to anything you want to accomplish. Most recently, going back to graduate school to obtain a Masters of Arts in Luxury & Fashion Management at Savannah College of Art & Design. It reminds you time management and mentality must be managed carefully!
What do you hope to be doing (differently) in five years? Ahhh…I just re-branded my business to become a life & style coach for women over 50 and launched my scholarship fund for senior girls pursuing a degree in the business of fashion. So, in 5 years, I hope to have an established business of my Sonya Barnes 2.0, taken my scholarship national and be a guest lecturer at fashion schools worldwide! That is really a big dream of mine.
What’re you doing in the community these days? Well, I’m serving as Ex-Officio on the Leadership Charlotte Board and served as Board Chair 2015-16. I am finishing graduate school this year and I’m very involved with Women’s Impact Fund, Women’s Executives and Mitchell’s Fund, an organization founded by my LC 29 classmate.