Sophia Fairweather – Founder, Start UpbySophia | 2017 Women of Inspiration Millenial Leader | UWN Youth Ambassador | @StartupbySophia
Meet Sophia! At age 8, she is the youngest Award recipient of the Women of Inspiration Awards for our official Canada 150. Now at age 12, we are excited to welcome Sophia as our National Youth Ambassador!
She is a very interesting leader and award winner in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She is a Board member to AWSN.org, a Policy Influencer, an Entrepreneur, and an Inventor . Sophia’s online presence can easily be found on Google by Googling Sophia Fairweather, going to Twitter / LinkedIn, or her Site StartUpBySophia.com. She has won 6 Awards and many other recognitions: Canada 150 Women of Inspiration Award, ASTECH Award, Manning Innovation Award Alberta, TECVenture Award, ATB BoostR Award, and Alberta’s Leaders of Tomorrow Award. For her efforts she has been recognized in both the Alberta Legislative Assembly, the Canadian Senate and the Parliament of Canada; as well as being invited to speak and present.
UWN: Every woman has a story. Tell us about your story!
SF: When I was younger I was fascinated by the idea of making things and creating this by yourself, and learning made me feel and still made me feel content!! With this at 5 I started making cookies and coffee and selling them to my parents work, which I remember walking through the hallways and putting then things needed for coffee at the coffee stations.After a while I wanted to move on to something else so because I went to an art school I went with making something ugly into something pretty, and voila I made funcro but at the time called it decals and named the company declsbysophia!! At that stage and that time I learned A LOT in how to present myself, how to accept help and not accept help, and I just have found that at that stage I learned A LOT!!! Then I came up with more products by using the falsify “ find a problem and fix it” not the other way around!! My newest is SASSI, a Smart Air Sensor System and the I stands for IoT [ internet of things]!!
Also I am focusing a lot on my education which this online and tech explosion has helped a lot with, because before this I was taking University courses and other things online for learning!! Now that everything has gone online it has made it quite nice and easier!!Now I am expanding and trying to get more out there, and promote STEM and women and girls in STEM because if you see someone like you in something you’re more likely to go into it!! I am a huge proctor of peer to peer learning!!
UWN: Are you finding inspiration in stories of courage, bravery, perseverance to support you through this time?
SF: I find it amazing that even during this time and where you need to be careful that people are still standing up for things, but also saying goodbye and farewell to others like Ruth beta ginsberg and the many flags at washington monument!!
UWN: How does it feel to be acknowledged as a Women of Inspiration™?
SF: I think it is amazing and another opportunity to meet and talk to other amazing women and people, and hopefully get out to more girls so they can see how to get too many opportunities and take advantage of every opportunity step by step. Even if the opportunities are small, like now with there being many learning opportunities around, so you can get two degrees or three and use your extra time to explore and learn more!!
SF: UWN: We are honoured to have you part of our journey. Why did you make the decision to become a National Ambassador?
Well I had the amazing advantage of Monica actually reaching out to me!! I took it because I thought it would be an interesting experience and help me get them and me out there!!
UWN: Why is recognizing women in leadership roles critical? Why now more than ever should we recognize the achievements of leaders at all levels, including the unsung heroes.
SF: To be honest it has always been important to get the unsung heroes recognized but now it’s happening a little more often, every opportunity to prove the quote “ bad things happen to good people ” wrong is amazing!! It’s important to help those who help others so they can help others, and they can help others, and want to do it more and more often and feel excited to keep the loop!!!
UWN: How has your adversity, and journey prepared you to lead through a crisis? What is one thing that you swear by that has helped you when faced with uncertainty or a challenge?
SF: I will do the one I swear by is online learning and platforms, they help me still be out there also I don’t need to show my face and will be taken seriously! Learning and having the amazing people I do around me that have taught, and have helped me see and connect things for opportunities and to be sometimes have an advantage!!
UWN: Has this time of PAUSE given you time to gain a new perspective? What are some of the realizations you have made?
SF: Yes, they have and I have said this the millionth time but with online learning also seeing how many amazing platforms are out there! That we can now help and can use!! Be proactive and think ahead as well, because it helps for what is now the present. Plus the problems that are going to need some time and thinking to get through that are going to happen in the winter. Also give people the chance and time and they can do amazing things!!
UWN: How has the Global Pandemic affected you personally and professionally? Tell us how this has changed, motivated or inspired you?
SF: I have found some of my friends are feeling down and sad, and of course miss each other and I miss them. Also I have my grandparents living with me so I have to be extra careful. Perfetinaly not too much besides I am probably getting rusty with talking and presenting.
UWN: What words of inspiration and wisdom would you offer for leaders to through this historical time?
SF: Thank you it is definitely needed and keep it up but make sure you listen to the people while helping, you never know how you’ll meet and what you’ll learn!!
UWN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
SF: I would say doing the same thing as now and everything, but in truth I don’t have a clue where I will be but I hope something like what I am doing now because it’s amazing!! Also I really want to still be in school and learning!!