My Mission- To Empower Women in Business

Hi, I’m Sophie!

When I graduated from the University of Miami in 2013, I thought I wanted to go to medical school. Through a series of events, I ended up working at a startup clean-energy company and then a small-business consulting company. This was how I discovered my true passion lay in empowering women in business. 

Me in 2013, reppin’ the U.

In 2017, I set two new goals for myself. 

One: Obtain a Masters in Accounting, so I could learn more about business to change the current “norms,” and

Two: Start a personal finance and career-focused blog as a way to immediately share digestible, how-to knowledge with friends and family.

Which “current norms” in business did I want to change? Let me throw some facts at you. Did you know:

  • Men hold 62% of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38% (Source: Women in the Workplace). 
  • Women earn 82 cents for every $1 earned by white men (Source: Center for American Progress). 
  • And the statistics related to Black women and women of color are even more staggering. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 Black women were promoted. (Source: Women in the Workplace).

My mission is to effect change from both the inside and out.

My “Inside” Job: Currently, I work at Grant Thornton, a large public accounting firm, as an audit senior associate. My role has evolved from creating spreadsheets to managing teams, projects, and clients. My favorite part of the job is the ability to shape careers and inspire others through recruiting and teaching. 

I have worked very hard to strive to be at the top of my performance and have been taught by some amazing female coaches. By my third year, I knew I stood out from the crowd. I was chosen to sit on a local and national council to help shape the firm’s culture and help our people grow. I take these roles very seriously and use my privilege to do everything I can to address the challenges that women face in the business world. I am grateful for this opportunity!

My Outside Mission: Although I have achieved a great reputation at work, I consider my biggest personal success to be this blog. Sophie Explains has been my passion project since 2017. I have been able to express my enthusiasm for empowering women in a tangible and real way. My dream goal is to grow this blog into a community of women that support and encourage each other to follow their dreams through smart, attainable steps. 

As many of you may already know, I absolutely love Japanese culture. I recently learned the Japanese word “ikigai,” which means life-purpose. I truly believe my ikigai is to help women achieve their personal and professional goals!

Me in Kyoto, Japan in 2017

How can I help you?

If you are…

  • Considering a career change (such as medicine to business)
  • Looking for ways to improve your finances (through budgeting or starting a side-hustle)
  • Aiming for a promotion within the next year (and need guidance on how to set yourself up for success)
  • Stuck or frustrated with your current career path (and want to talk with someone who has overcome this struggle)
  • Applying for jobs in accounting (such as audit)

Let me know!

The fastest way to reach me is through a private message on Instagram (@sophieexplains). Send me your questions or concerns, and I’ll help however I can. Whether it’s giving you advice from my own experience or referring you to a helpful resource, I got you!

Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you soon!!


What I’ve Learned from Creating a Collaborative Bookstagram

What is a bookstagram? Good question. A bookstagram is an Instagram dedicated to books! 

In May 2020, I reached out to two of my best friends with an idea: “Let’s create a collaborative Instagram account dedicated to sharing our favorite books.” The goal would be to create a diverse, virtual library to inspire each other and our followers to pick up a new book or try a new author! 

In June 2020, our bookstagram, @quotethisbook was born!

Co-founders, Carina (, Danielle (, and I have always been passionate about reading. Even if we don’t always share the same taste in book genres, we often discuss our current reads and recommend new books to each other. I wanted to take this amazing mini community to the next level. Since then, our bookstagram has evolved into such a fun and creative part of each of our lives. I’m so grateful for their friendship and our mutual love of reading!

Photo credit: Danielle Befeler

Here are the top five things I’ve learned through starting a bookstagram: 

  1. It’s so fun to collaborate creatively with your friends! 
    • The key is to find friends with similar drive and passions. Each of you may have different strengths: maybe one person is always on top of the posting schedule and keeping everything organized, and someone else is more creative and thinking of new ways to engage your audience, but the most important part is that you are all aligned with the same end goals.
    • Tip: Even though the three of us chat almost daily, we set up monthly facetime calls to go over the bigger picture items and ideas. These are some questions we’ve gone over in the past: Do we allow guest posts? What kind of Instagram story engagement methods do we want to try? How often will we post? Discussing these key questions helps us manage expectations. It’s also super fun brainstorming new ideas and having an excuse to chat with my besties and catch up!
  2. Simple is better.
    • I made it clear when I proposed the idea that I wanted the bookstagram to be super low-effort, with room for it to get more involved in the future if we chose. The three of us work busy, full-time jobs, and we’ve agreed to never force ourselves to post if we don’t have time or energy. Luckily, since there are three of us, usually one person is able to pick up the slack when the others get busier. It’s really worked out great so far!
    • Tip: Don’t overcomplicate things. A lot of times, people never follow through with their ideas because they get overwhelmed in the details. What color scheme should my account have? What font should I use? How should I standardize my captions and hashtags? These are such minor questions and concerns!! It’s more important to just start with something simple and manageable and over time you can tweak and improve it to be exactly what you want it to be. Any creative project is a work-in-progress. Just start somewhere!
  3. We’ve learned a LOT about content creation and social media: 
    • None of us knew much about graphic design or the intricacies of Instagram. Now, Canva is our new best friend, and we’ve connected with our audience on Instagram through polls, bingo, and interactive stories. We had to learn it all as we went along! Luckily, there is a how-to guide for everything on the internet. Don’t be afraid to do your research and learn something new. It can be fun! Recently, we even had a complete stranger reach out to us with a new opportunity because of our professional account. It’s been so rewarding to learn a new skill.
    • Tip: Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design app that makes it easy to draft up quick and attractive posts. It’s free too!! 
  4. Working together is SO inspiring.
    • Since we’ve begun our bookstagram, the three of us have been extra motivated to pursue our own personal goals. 
      1. Carina, who had a book blog long before our bookstagram, was inspired to completely revamp her website, She was also the first of our group to take Canva graphic designs to the next level by making us a Quote this Book gif and custom book bingo that we shared with our followers. How cool is that?
      2. Danielle launched her own personal blog,, which has been her dream for years. Our bookstagram gave her that extra nudge to show her how rewarding it is to share your passions with friends and family. She also applied for a writing fellowship. Give it another year or so and you’ll see us posting about her first novel on our own bookstagram! You go, girl!
      3. I (Sophie), was inspired to get back into my own blogging endeavors with this blog! I even created a companion Sophie Explains Instagram account. I’m so excited to reach an even wider audience and create a community of goal-driven individuals. 
    • Tip: If you ever need a nudge to push your creative pursuits to the next level, reach out to your like-minded, passionate friends and create a group chat to discuss your goals, hold each-other accountable, and inspire each other! I promise it works!
  5. Reading is the best! 
    • It just is. End of story.
    • Tip: Check out my post on How to Rediscover Your Love of Reading. Now is the perfect time to dive into a good book, learn something new, gain understanding of someone different than yourself, or escape to a far-away land!

For AMAZING book recommendations check out: Quote this Book

Photo Credit: Sophie

Please also support some awesome, creative ladies:

Find Carina at

Find Danielle at

And follow Sophie Explains on Instagram and Facebook for more content.

Thank you!


Three Easy Home Organization Tips

I love finding new ways to stay organized in my home. Especially now that a lot of us, myself included, are working from home due to COVID, creating a clean and tidy space helps us stay focused on work.


Here are three easy home organization tips I’ve used in the past few weeks that have made a big impact on my apartment’s appearance and helped me stay productive while I am at ‘work.’

  1. Scan Loose Papers
    1. Pull out all of those old car documents, receipts, and utility bills that are sitting in an unused drawer and sort them into two piles.
      1. To Keep – Important documents like signed apartment leases, job contracts, certificates, etc.
      2. To Toss – Three-year-old receipts for items you will not be returning, utility bills that you’ve already paid, out-dated documents, etc.
    2. Recycle and/or shred all the items you can toss.
    3. For the Keep pile do the following:
      1. Scan all the import documents and save to your Google Drive or Dropbox.
        1. If you do not own a scanner, an easy alternative is to download a free phone scanning app such as CamScanner or just take photos using your phone. You can then save them directly onto Google Drive, or you can first email them to your Gmail account.
        2. Tip: Make sure to name each document something easy to remember. Eg. <2020 Signed Apartment Lease> so that you can use the search function in Google Drive effectively when you need to find these documents.
      2. For things like utility bills that you get monthly, log-into your online utility account and set up paperless billing and automatic payments.
    4. When everything is saved and organized, get rid of the paper copies!!
      1. Tip: There are some documents we need to keep (i.e. birth certificates, documents with wet signatures, etc.), be sure to keep and store these in a secure location.
    5. Going forward, try to minimize the amount of paper you keep. As soon as you get a receipt or document you want to keep, take a photo right there with your phone, save it, and get rid of the document.
  2. Use Thin Fabric Clothing Hangers
    1. Recently I replaced all of my old plastic, college-era hangers with uniform, slim hangers. The ones I bought were on super sale at a department store, but these Amazon hangers are similar. It is great to upgrade your hangers for the following reasons:
      1. Uniformity: Especially if you have an external closet, it looks so much more professional to have all the same hangers and puts the focus on the clothes.
      2. Space: The thin hangers save a lot more space than the thicker plastic versions.
      3. Quality: Using high-quality hangers will help keep your clothes looking their best and not sag in the wrong places. This is important for keeping blazers and suits wrinkle-free!
  3. Clear Containers for Kitchen Storage
    1. Our apartment has very little built-in kitchen storage, so we purchased affordable, external shelving units to store our non-perishable pantry items. Recently, I re-homed some of our commonly used foods into uniform, clear plastic or glass containers.
      1. Suggestions of items to store in clear, sealed containers:
        1. Grains – Oatmeal, rice, pasta
        2. Non-perishable Toppings – Dried cranberries, nuts, croutons
        3. Snacks – Pretzels, trail-mix, crackers
      2. Benefits to clear containers:
        1. Easy to See – When making weekly grocery lists, or deciding on a meal, the clear containers make it easy to see what you have at your disposal and what you need to purchase.
        2. Uniform Look – The plastic containers look much more uniform than a bunch of plastic bags and boxes.
        3. Easy Access – I even started unboxing all my eggs from their cartons and putting them into one large tupperware in my fridge. This easy access and visibility in the fridge has been really useful!
        4. Freshness – A good clear, sealed container will keep your snacks fresher than with a bag-clip.

I hope that some of these simple tips inspire you to create a more organized home. When your home is organized and tidy it helps keep your focus on more important things!

Let me know if you have any simple organization tips that you felt made a huge impact on your home! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.


How to Rediscover Your Love of Reading

I have always loved reading. Even so, I’ve had some years when I have prioritized my time doing less important things – like scrolling through Instagram for hours. Since quarantine, I have been making reading a much larger priority in my life. Reading can be a great escape from reality, but it can also be a wonderful way to learn something new and gain insight and perspective into a life different from your own.


In order to prioritize reading, I have learned a few tricks which can make books easier to access, and I want to share these ideas with you!

  1. Library Apps – I love the app “Libby,” which connects to your local library using your library card number and gives you the ability to seamlessly borrow digital books and audio books (for free of course!). In Miami-Dade County, Libby has a ginormous selection and is so easy to use. With Libby, you can have 10 books on hold and 10 books on loan at a time. My favorite feature is when a hold book is ready for you to borrow, but you aren’t yet ready to read it, you can choose “deliver later.” For example, “deliver after 7 days” effectively puts you next in line, so you don’t have to wait all over again. I primarily use Libby for digital books that I “check out” to my Kindle App.
    1. Libby, an easy-to-use library app:
    2. Tip: A lot of libraries will allow you to register for a new library card virtually due to COVID! Check out your library’s website for more information.
  2. Kindle App – So I have a physical Kindle eReader and use it when I read outside, but recently I’ve fallen in love with the iPhone Kindle app. Why? I realized I had a habit of scrolling through social media first thing when I wake up and right before bed. Instead of immediately opening Instagram and scrolling through fluff, I decided I would try scrolling through an ebook using the Kindle app. It has definitely helped to lessen my time on social media. The Kindle app is useful because you can click on a word to pull up its definition and Wikipedia page. You can also easily highlight and bookmark sections of the book to save for future reference. It also links directly to your Goodreads account (if you have one) so you can easily keep track of books you’ve read. 
    1. Kindle App for your phone:
    2. Tip: You do not need an actual Kindle device to use the Kindle app on your phone or computer!
  3. Audiobooks – Like I mentioned above, the library also offers audio books! You can easily listen directly on the Libby app. I usually listen to these during my long commutes, but since quarantine means working from home, now I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I do chores! Cleaning, cooking, and laundry all become more appealing when you’ve got a great book with you. Another cool thing I found out recently -if you have a book on Audible (an Audible subscription makes a great present for booklovers), and you have the same book on Kindle (purchased or borrowed the library), you can sync them so that you can read the digital book and then listen to the audiobook exactly where you left off on Kindle!! How cool is that?
    1. Audible, a great gift for book-lovers:
    2. Tip: Your library has free audiobooks collections too!


Having a free and easy way to read (and listen to) books means you have no excuse not to get started! Reading is a great way to learn something new, and develop your personal and professional skills. 

If you need a recommendation, this is a perfect time to shamelessly plug a new Bookstagram (yes, an instagram account dedicated to books) that a few girlfriends and I have collectively started called Quote This Book. The goal of this account is to share book recommendations through quotes, to challenge ourselves to read new genres outside our comfort zones, and to continue to learn and grow, which is something this blog, Sophie Explains, definitely encourages! 

Check it out!


Starting a New Job: 5 Essential Qualities


I’m back! The last three months have been non-stop craziness at work, including traveling to Austin for three weeks, learning to adapt to a new schedule, and building the endurance needed to survive (and thrive in!) 60+ hour workweeks.

I can confidently say that I have learned a lot about myself, my new company, and the business world as a whole. I am so grateful for the experience. As a close friend reminded me, “Experiences, whether good or bad, are always important.” This sentiment helped me get through a few of the tough weeks in the middle of busy season when there seemed to be no end in sight. Looking back on those tough weeks, I learned invaluable lessons.

Today, I want to share with you some of these lessons from the past few months. Whether you work in a team or with customers, focusing on developing these qualities can help you create and cultivate strong bonds with co-workers and clients. I hope that this list will inspire you to find little ways to improve both professionally and personally!

5 Essential Characteristics For Starting a New Job

  1. Willingness to learn: When starting a job, new hires are not expected to master industry skills or company culture day one, but willingness to learn and absorb as much as possible is appreciated and valued. This shows the company that you have the drive to become a value-adding employee from the very beginning. Willingness to learn includes staying curious about your job and company and asking questions, but it also means taking responsibility for, and learning from, mistakes.
    • Reflect: How did you react the last time someone pointed out your mistake? Did you get defensive or upset? Although it may feel like a blow to your ego at the time, accepting responsibility for your mistakes and finding ways to learn and grow from them will help you gain respect from your peers and show your willingness to improve.
  2. Patience: All jobs come with the expectation of a learning curve. Whether it’s learning a new trade, the company culture, or essential soft skills, practicing patience with others and, more importantly, yourself is important. So often we have such high expectations for ourselves that when we don’t succeed on our first attempt, we can easily become discouraged. Just remember learning can take time. Before you know it, you’ll be the new expert!
    • Reflect: Think back to that last mistake you made. Did you get upset at yourself? Did your ego berate you for your failure? Now think about how it would feel if you instead cut yourself some slack. Think about how you would feel if someone else had made the mistake? You probably would not have been as hard on them as you were on yourself. Yes, making mistakes sucks, but while you are new – take risks, make mistakes, and, most importantly, learn from them.
  3. Attitude: Especially when working closely with others or in a team setting, attitude and emotions are contagious. Embodying a positive attitude will cause others to want to work with you, and positive emotions can also improve your productivity! Sometimes you might struggle to keep a happy demeanor, especially if you’re feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. I found it helpful in those moments to excuse yourself for 5-10 minutes and take a quick walk around the block, listen to some good music, and remember that you are doing your best! Another strategy is to write down what you were happy about that day and what you are excited about tomorrow each night to help maintain a positive attitude.
    • Reflect: How did it feel when your teammates were disagreeing with each other? Was the vibe in the room caustic, negative, abrasive? A quick attitude check can turn a negative argument into a friendly debate. When you take time to listen to your coworkers before refuting their ideas, it can generate better ideas, make people happier, and increase efficiency.
  4. Adaptability: A new job means working with a new set of people. In public accounting, associates rotate teams every few weeks. Being able to adapt to a new boss, coworkers, and clients is essential for success. Take some time when you start on a new team to listen and learn. Once you are familiar with the habits, stressors, and communication-styles of your teammates, it becomes easier to meet their expectations.
    • Reflect: How long does it take you to understand how your coworkers think and work? For me, it is usually a month or two, but at my new job, I found that this time is dramatically reduced through open feedback, communication, and honesty (and maybe all of our hours together!).
  5. Self-reflection: Asking your coworkers and boss for honest and constructive feedback is just as important as taking time to evaluate your own progress. Again, as you evaluate your progress, remember to focus on areas within your control, such as your communication style and attitude. Be sure to practice patience in areas that you are still learning, such as a new computer system or industry skill. Self-reflection not only helps us improve but also keeps us humble and honest. I find it to be a great motivator as well!
    • Reflect: When is the last time you took 5-10 minutes to review your performance on a project or within a team? If you have received criticism or compliments, did you agree with them? If you felt you performed poorly, why did you feel this way? Was it a lack of resources, a negative team environment, or something within your control? Take time to think about past self-reviews when beginning a new project, and you will see a dramatic improvement in your performance and feedback.

What are some other traits that you find essential when starting a new job? What qualities do you look for in hiring a new employee? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment in this blog post, and please follow Sophie Explains on Facebook for new posts and updates!

Thank you again for being so patient these past few months during the mini-hiatus. Stay tuned for more soon!

Setting Long-Term Goals: Birthday Edition

This week I turn 26. My career goals have changed a crazy amount in the last five years! Back then, I was in my last year of college and on track to apply to medical schools…that did not happen. (I promise to tell you more about that in a future post!) A year ago while working, I realized I really wanted to learn more about bookkeeping and auditing, so I made the decision to pursue accounting as a career. I chose to go back to school full-time for a Masters in Accounting even though I had never taken a business class before.

Jump forward to today: I have finally completed school, am currently taking the CPA licensing exams, and have a full-time accounting position set for January 2018. My 21-year-old self would have never guessed where I would end up!


It is my wholehearted belief that it is never too late to change your life. Whether it is your attitude, lifestyle choices, or career path, you should always be true to yourself and figure out how you can achieve your goals.

Birthdays, similar to the new year, are a great time for reflection. I like to annually re-evaluate my long-term goals to make sure I am fighting for the right ones and not just comfortably stuck on the path I set for myself years ago.

“The hardest part of getting what you want is figuring out what you want in the first place.” – Nicole Lapin

I understand some people do not like discussing or even thinking about their long-term goals. This can be overwhelming and scary, especially if you feel like you are not where you wanted to be at this point in time. What helps me is separating my goals to make them more manageable. The goals you set do not have to be career or finance oriented. Your goals can be about family (buying a home or getting married), artistic endeavors or hobbies (taking painting classes or joining a community orchestra), travel (planning a big trip or a weekend getaway), health (mental or physical), or anything you can imagine. What are you passionate about? What makes you excited for the future?

Take 10 minutes right now to read the goal setting prompts below and really think about your answers. I encourage you to think extreme with these goals. Your ideas should seem ambitious because your goals should be ambitious!

Goal Setting Prompts

  • What is your ideal lifestyle, and what financial position will enable you to live it? Consider:
    • Do you want to eat at five-star restaurants regularly, own condos in multiple cities, and/or lease high-end cars?
    • Do you want to be able to buy nice clothes regularly, eat out often, and/or take trips whenever you want?
    • Do you want to have multiple children and send them to private or religious schools? How about college?
    • Do you have loans you have to pay off? Make a timeline of by when you’d like to have these paid off. (We will discuss this in a future post!)
    • Can you live comfortably with only the basic necessities, and do you prefer it?
  • What do you want out of your career? Consider:
    • Are you looking for a stable job?
    • Do you want substantial income?
    • Are you thinking of starting your own business?
  • What are your goals in regards to family? Consider:
    • Do you see yourself getting married and having kids? If so, what is your desired timeline?
    • Do you prefer a lifestyle without children?
  • Where do you see your ideal home? Consider:
    • Do you want to settle down in a house?
    • Do you prefer the flexibility of living in apartments?
    • Where do you want to live: suburbs, city, rural? Maybe in a different country?
  • How do you want to spend your free time? Consider:
    • Is your main goal to travel as much as possible?
    • What creative hobbies do you want to pursue?
    • Is spending time with family and friends imperative in my day-to-day life?
  • How do you want to give back to the community? Consider:
    • Are you interested in starting a charity, mentoring, or volunteering?
    • Would you like to become a board member of an existing organization?

Really take some time to consider your answers. Brainstorm on a piece of paper or Google document. Documenting your goals is a lot of fun because you can look at them later and see how far you are towards reaching them, or you can see how much they have changed.


You have to go beyond writing down your goals, though. Next, break them into smaller, attainable steps. For example, where do you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? To give you a better idea of what I am talking about, here is an example of one of my goal strategies:

Sophie’s Long-Term Career Goal

  • 1-Year Goal: Begin job at a large accounting firm to gain experience with how businesses in a variety of industries are run.
  • 3-Year Goal: Continue working hard in the accounting firm to earn promotions and gain more relevant experience managing a team and dealing with clients.
  • 5-Year Goal: Continue to move up in the accounting firm while making great connections and starting to learn about the sales aspect of business.
  • 7-Year Goal: Continue saving up a hearty financial safety net and consider when to make the leap into starting my own company. Write a business plan, mission statement, and develop other financial details.
  • 10-Year Goal: Run my own company that provides business and accounting advice to small businesses, artists, and other organizations.

This goal is one of my passions, but I imagine over the course of the next year, it will change after I get some real experience in the accounting world. Maybe I will decide I want to become a partner in the firm, or maybe I will want to take a few years off to start a family or travel the world. Your initial goal may get a bit derailed, but the point of this exercise is to encourage you to strive for your ideal situation in the current moment and not get you stuck doing something that makes you unhappy.

Sometimes reaching for your goals means making a little sacrifice today. Going back to school to get a degree in a new field is not the most fun or cost-effective plan in the short term, but in the long term you can start a job in a field you truly enjoy.

I hope this post has given you something to think about and reminded you that you can change your current path and strive for something that inspires, motivates, and encourages you to be the best version of yourself at any point in your life. Feel free to reach out to me and let me know what your goals are! Sharing your goals with friends is a good way to build a supportive community and help you stay on track. Have fun with it, think big, and get creative!

Time to go eat cake!