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While working at the intersection of the tech and finance world, former Stanford Sailing team member Sophia Sole continues her commitment to civic engagement. As an ACE in Vietnam 2018 alum, Sole recalls how ACE taught her the value of commitment to service. Now, she volunteers in her local community with both the US National Park Service and a local sailing club where she works to make sailing more accessible.

What are you doing now? How did ACE influence your career path?

I am currently living in San Francisco working for a tech company in a strategic finance role. ACE taught me the importance of being an engaged employee and community member. I volunteer with Presidio National Park where I help plant new trees, re-landscape, and promote conservation. Additionally, I serve on the Junior Sailing Committee of St Francis Yacht Club where I work to make sailing more accessible.

What is one piece of your ACE experience that changed the way you think about something or someone?

I participated in ACE Vietnam in the Mekong Delta which is where my Grandfather served in the US Army Medical Corps during the Vietnam War. Coaching and teaching in this very same region made this experience even more meaningful to me. Even though fifty years have passed, some of our photos are remarkably similar, and I am happy to have this connection to him through our service in Vietnam. The area where we both served is economically very poor. Although their story has been shaped by conflict, the Vietnamese were happy, hopeful and generous and this experience had a profound impact on me just as I know it did on my grandfather.

woman planting tree in field
Helping plant new trees in Redwood City (right near the Stanford Sailing Boathouse)!

Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible:

Rewarding, Challenging, Fun.

How did ACE impact you as a student-athlete?

ACE ingrained in me leadership and service qualities that I now bring to the forefront of everything I do. Through this experience I learned how to be a leader amongst my teammates and the importance of maintaining an upbeat outlook especially during challenge situations.

What is one ACE memory that makes you laugh or smile?

I coached middle school students volleyball and one day, I ditched our structured drills and games and blew up a big world globe beach ball. We turned on music and spent a whole hour volleying and dancing and laughing. This was a reminder that sometimes we to let go and just having fun with purposeless play.