September 20, 2018
Meet a Matriot: Sophia Fifner
Sophia is the Community Relations Chief for Columbus Recreation and Parks, where she helps ensure that Columbus residents have access to health and wellness opportunities. She has more than ten years of experience working in both the private and public sector, including as a Senate staffer on Capitol Hill and as a political fundraiser for a Fortune 100 company in Columbus.
You are a Founding Member of The Matriots PAC and serve on our 88 Woman Campaign committee. What about The Matriots PAC’s work appeals to you?
I am fearlessly passionate about women and girls. I support The Matriots PAC because its goal to ensure women hold at least half of all public offices in Ohio by 2028 is ambitious, inspiring, and necessary. If we are going to change the trajectory of our community, support for women must extend beyond the walls of our home and office. The Matriots PAC serves as a nonpartisan vehicle to challenge the status quo. Therefore, as a mother, leader, and conservative, supporting The Matriots PAC is simple.
You are a community activist and a huge advocate for women and girls, as well as a woman of strong faith. How do these commitments complement one another, in your view?
My Christian faith is the foundation for every element of my life and serves as the lens through which I view the world. I keep my faith by demonstrating my values and returning to scripture for guidance when faced with difficult decisions. Thus, my advocacy for women and girls is purely an extension of my faith. A verse that truly resonates with this belief is Proverbs 31:8-9, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” I speak up because I aim to give voice to those who are voiceless.
As the Community Relations Chief for the City of Columbus Department of Recreations and Parks, can you share an anecdote about how this work has shaped you?
In my role, I have gained a significantly deeper understanding of how access to our programs, services, and facilities has a transformational impact on the lives of everyone. From the casual jogger to the child who receives one of the more than 500,000 meals we serve over the summer, recreation and parks is fundamental to the fabric of our community. This work has shaped me because I see first-hand how leveraging public-private partnerships can move the needle on building communities. Through collaboration, we are able to extend our services and reach key populations where services are needed most. Currently, one of our biggest projects is rebuilding the Linden Community Center and Park. I’m excited to be part of the team working to bridge and steward these relationships with the ultimate goal of providing equitable access to all.
You are also a mother of a young girl. Tell us a little about her and what you hope for her future.
Caroline is the apple of my eye. She is passionate about being outdoors, playing with George Washington (our standard poodle), and reciting the alphabet song at least a dozen times. At nearly two years of age, I’m confident she is destined to accomplish great things. There’s a piece of wall art that hangs in our kitchen, which reads in part, “be fearless in the face of adversity.” This simple phrase encompasses everything I hope for her future. I hope she is an advocate for others. I hope she is a bold and fearless leader. I hope she lives in a world where all women are equal.
Now for something fun: Tell us about a family member, hobby or a personal interest.
My affinity for and support of pageantry and specifically the Miss America Organization is no secret. As a former state competitor and current volunteer, I love its mission – to prepare great women for the world and prepare the world for great women. Nearly 15 years ago, this organization gave me the opportunity to use my voice to advocate for women and girls. And, by the age of 25, I had the confidence and gumption to champion character education in local schools, advocate for legislation like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and interview Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In addition to the glitz of pageantry, I enjoy watersports and traveling to historic places with my husband and visiting one of Columbus’ more than 350 parks with my daughter Caroline.