We had the good fortune of connecting with Soraya Sutherlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Soraya, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always wanted to change the world, and while it may sound cliche, I believe I can make an impact. Working for both the private and public sectors afforded me so many fantastic opportunities to learn, grow, and find my focus on emergency management. After having children, my focus shifted slightly, as my time had to be better managed and more efficient. As a working mother, I saw for the first time in my career how hard women work to be invited to the table to have a conversation. As a working mom, I’ve never worked harder or more efficiently in my life. I now had the same job, with less time to do it. Late nights weren’t an option anymore as others depended on me. After the birth of my third child, I needed more flexibility to continue my career and meet the needs of my children. My current situation didn’t allow for that, so I had to make a hard choice; take a HUGE chance on something unknown. Initially, my focus was to maintain relevance in my field by taking on small projects. I volunteered on many committees and collaborated with others in my field. I had many days where it seemed impossible, and others where the small successes carried me through. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but my children get to see me doing something I love, and that’s incredible, especially for my girls. It was hard the first few years, very hard, but I had a vision and a passion for what I did, and failure wasn’t an option. It made every little success mean so much more.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I absolutely love what I do. I believe when you are passionate about what you do it shows in all areas of your work and life. Complacency is something I challenge everyone on. If you aren’t showing up every day with your mission/ the mission in mind, you have lost something and need to move on. I have had incredible mentors in my career that invested in me as a person and growing me as a leader. Like many, I started at the bottom and volunteered to get the experience I needed to get a job in my field. My first boss set the tone on how to treat employees, foster talent, and build capacity within people. Those lessons have always been in my head as I meet new challenges and obstacles along the way. The lessons I have learned that transpired into all areas of my professional and personal life are this; Be humble and grateful for your opportunities, Never lose your eagerness to learn, Your education will always give you choices, Admit when you’ve made a mistake and move forward; how you react is what defines you. Be reminded every day of why you are doing what you are doing, Listen more than you speak and; Always challenge yourself to be better. Find what makes you excited in life and follow that. There will be detours and challenges ahead. Accept them with humility and grace.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In the non-covid world, ha, we would start the day on the beach, soaking up the sunshine, doing yoga, feeling the sand beneath our feet. We would follow that with coffee and a little french bakery on the pier so we could chat and enjoy the sunshine. After that, we would window shop at all the little beach stores and end with lunch at a little organic farm to table hot spot. Because we are a little city, I would expand to go outside the area to the places that really make our area special. The lookouts along the Palos Verdes Pennisula and eventually end at the Terrenea for a drink watching the sunset overlooking the pacific ocean.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Paul Watkins, President, and CEO for Dignity Health. He has been an incredible mentor. Also, Scott Ferguson, retired Fire Chief Murrieta Fire Department, taught me that we all make mistakes, it’s how we react and respond to them that defines our character.
Website: www.emergencymanagementsafetypartners.com www.alertsouthbay.com
Twitter: @sorayasutherlin @alertsouthbay
Facebook: @emsafetypartners @sorayasutherlinem