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 Passion drives position. 


Sophia N. Hall ’01

As supervisory management and program analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, Sophia N. Hall ’01 is responsible for the accountability and control of personal property, including fleet assets for the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations (RAIO) Directorate. As part of the RAIO Property Team, she helps to manage 2,500 assets valuing close to 1.4 million dollars. Sophia says there are definitely more men than women in her career field, partially because women are challenged at a higher rate than the men and that women’s work is scrutinized much more than their male counterparts. 

“At our agency, we do have women in leadership positions, unfortunately the grooming process is very selective and exclusive. Sometimes it is not just the men you have to be concerned with, but with other women who are a part of the male-dominated mental state. When these situations arise, the women are often more critical of other women than the men are.”

Sophia says that in general, women tend to gravitate to more collaborative, team-oriented positions in training, communications, human resources, travel, accounting, public affairs, etc., whereas men are more likely found in positions in the areas of information technology, budget, security, and asset management. She believes she was denied promotions because supervisors and leaders were intimidated by her drive and determination to succeed. She also says she could have moved up in the ranking sooner, but she had to stay in a position which was more conducive for someone with a family. She had to make a choice.

“The challenge for me was to continue to move forward; to find the ‘hole’, fill it, and come back stronger; and to gain respect and peer legitimacy. Work/job proficiency is paramount. Once I was comfortable in my duties, I could begin to address some of the work climate and work landscape shortcomings I perceived. Fighting for recognition in doing the same job and often doing the same job better than my male counterparts was and still is a great challenge. When the opportunity arises, I am happy to prove my abilities and stand toe-to-toe with anyone. Wesleyan helped to shape this mindset.”

What’s most important is ensuring you have a passion for the work.

Because of the obstacles and challenges you will face, you will question if the pursuit is worth the trouble. The passion you have for your work will empower and rejuvenate you on the days when you feel lonely and exhausted from the pressures of trying to succeed and fighting for fair treatment and equal opportunities. For me, I never look at the situation as ‘male-dominated.’ I look at work and in everything I do, as I am setting the standard…and my standard is high.

-Sophia N. Hall ’01

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