Team Member Spotlight: Head of Operations Sofia Lyon

published on 21 March 2023

I'm here with Sofia Lyon, the chief operating officer of Trailmapper. Our natural first question...when did you first become interested in politics?

It's actually a funny story. I always found watching the news like so interesting growing up, Fox news was always playing in the background in my house and one day I remember so distinctly I was in seventh grade and I woke up and I just thought I want to do politics like it seems so cool like everyone is just so passionate and engaged and and that's what I want to do.

So I, ever since that day I just, you know, dove deep into it and just started volunteering locally in different local politics things and I remember later on I met Martha McSally who ended up becoming a United States senator. But she was involved in politics before that, even before she was a Congresswoman and that's when I met her and I just thought she was so passionate about everything.

I was just so inspired hearing her speak and so I spoke with her and she just encouraged me to keep pursuing it and throughout the years we formed a really good friendship and she became my mentor and and from there, I ended up, you know, being a student lobbyist, working for the governor of Arizona and then I delved into the campaign world after that and started on her Senate race and from there, I, I just kept doing campaigns and fell in love with it, you know, caught the political bug, as I like to say, wow, I didn't know you knew Martha McSally, that's awesome.

You answered part of my second question, but when and why did you start getting involved in politics? You said you started with volunteering?

Oh yeah, I started volunteering. Just local local races, you know, door knocking and, just doing whatever they needed really. I was really engaged in my community. I also did a lot of volunteering like with Rotary Club and just different community service avenues there. So I just really, you know, tried to give back to my community and that's how that passion started.

And, like I said, I worked on Senator McSally's race and then I went to Georgia and, ran some field operations in Georgia in the Senate run offs, and then after that I actually, started in finance on a Gubernatorial race in Arizona. So that's, that's where I got my experience. I was trained by Katie Walsh Shields, who was just absolutely incredible. She was the RNC's finance director and then later chief of staff.

But I, I learned from the absolute best and I was just so inspired by her that I just fell in love with fundraising. 

I've been very fortunate to have really great mentors in my life.

So what would you say is your favorite thing about working at Trailmapper?

I love the environment we've created both for, with, internally with our employees and all of our team members and also with our clients, we just have a very uplifting atmosphere. I know a lot of us come from working in politics and it's not often that way, the environment we've created is very unique and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love connecting with clients and you know, really seeing them get excited about sharing their story and helping them, direct their messaging in a way that is constructive and beneficial to the campaign or the non profit or whatever organization we're working with. 

Yeah, it's great being so invested in so many races at once because on election day you're like looking through all of them, like looking to see how they're doing and you care, you know? 

So if you could give one piece of advice to somebody who plans on running for office, what would it be?

I actually have two pieces of advice. First, the first one is simple. Just listen to your fundraising team, they know what they're doing, you know? And we we will always think about your best interests. So even if something seems like redundant or unnecessary, there's a reason behind everything we do. and we are here to make them successful. So I guess I would just say, take the advice of your fundraising team, be amenable to their suggestions and feedback.

And then another thing I would suggest is to start within their own network, their family, their friends. That's how any good campaign should start!

What's your favorite quote?

It's something that, Senator McSally used to say all the time, while we were campaigning, she used to say "we are here in this moment for such a time as this" and that really just grounds me and remembering that we are here for a purpose and what we're doing is actually really important. So it just kept all of us motivated to keep going every day. Even when things got really hard. I don't know if you know much about that race, but it it was really rough running against Mark Kelly but it was a great learning experience for sure.

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