How a Black Republican and a White Democrat Mastered Civility One Conversation at a Time.

Sophia Fifner. Photo: Jen Brown Photography, Columbus, OH

There is nothing more gut-wrenching than expressing love to an enemy who spits in your face. When the hurt you feel is not just from one moment of pain but from the millions of residual moments that ripple throughout each day, every month, and years. When they’ve hurt you not just once, but a thousand times. When they’ve treated you with vile, knocked you down, and disappointed you, starting with love, feels like the wrong approach.

As a survivor of sexual violence, many would be surprised to hear that I wish my rapist nothing but love and redemption. I wish…


As a family, professional photos were a rarity outside of the church directory. Hence, this photo was a big deal. Not only was it an investment, but it was our first formal family picture. Christmas circa 1995.

Article originally shared as part of Mollard Consulting’s Black women’s voices series.

As a child, I knew that wealth was not something my family owned. My mother worked the night shift, occasionally working three part-time jobs to pay bills and keep food on our table. My father was always fastidiously studying, first to earn his GED, and eventually his master’s degree. We didn’t have a family savings account to catch us if things hit the proverbial fan. …


A life lesson learned from the notorious Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Carol Castiel (Voice of America ) and Sophia (Davis) Fifner with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg — United States Supreme Court, December 2007

Interviewing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, well over a decade ago, forever changed my perception of leadership.

I took the above photo during the fall semester of my senior year. I was interning with Voice of America in Washington, DC. as part of Miami University’s Inside Washington program. As an intern, my role focused on researching, scheduling, and editing interviews with newsmakers each week.

My boss, Carol Castiel, was a remarkable woman who gave me quite a bit of autonomy. If there were questions I wanted to ask an interviewee, she would let me join the show to ask…


Many days, I find myself mesmerized by my daughter’s brilliant eyes and vibrant confidence. She’s enchanting, warm, and outspoken. I feel privileged to know her and love her. However, there are also many days I look at her, and far too often, think, “I am thankful that she does not look like me.”

Photo: Jen Brown Photography, Columbus, OH

My daughter is biracial.

Even at three, we’ve already had many interesting conversations about race. Caroline sees herself as brown — dark brown. When we color our family, she picks the richest shade of mahogany and gleefully squiggles lines and circles to represent who she is. If…


Sophia Fifner visiting Fox in the Snow in Columbus, Ohio
Sophia Fifner visiting Fox in the Snow in Columbus, Ohio
Sophia Fifner is the Community Relations Chief for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in Columbus, OH. For over a decade she has worked to build community partnerships through policy and philanthropy.

Gratitude can sometimes be misconstrued as misplaced optimism in a sea of challenging events. Like successfully getting your 3-year-old fed and down for a nap while simultaneously participating in a department-wide video conference. Or, like staying on message while speaking with local media about the importance of social distancing during a public health emergency, when your child aggressively yells, “Mommy! I have to go potty!”

While slightly unfortunate and a bit comical, I’m grateful to have a car to drive, a place to work, a home to reside, and a family to love.


I am a feminist and Mrs. Ohio. For those of you who haven’t vied for a crown, my statement may seem contradictory. But, I assure you, it is not.

Pageantry holds a unique place in the fabric of American culture. In the early 20th century, female pageants were known as elaborate, theatrical events performed by women suffragists. In fact, suffragettes like Hazel MacKay used pageants as an ideal platform for women’s liberation. Showcasing historic female figures such as Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale, pageants provided a stage for women to gain confidence, gain public support, and emulate female…


In Columbus, we often speak of the Columbus Way. It is an intangible spirit, which drives public-private partnerships between business, government, community and civic leaders. The Harvard Business School has researched this unique phenomenon that continues to prosper in our city. The Brookings Institution has leveraged its success to help other communities spark strategic growth. However, for our city, this hyper-collaborative method is more than just a model of success; it is a way of life. For the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, this spirit of collaboration drives our work in fulling the promise of our mission.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department playground build with Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation

As a department…


Sophia (Davis) Fifner, Miss District of Columbia 2009 & 2010 Top 5 finalist

I am passionate about politics, philanthropy, and pageants.

I’ve worked as a political fundraiser for a Fortune 100 company, served as the lead spokesperson for Children’s Miracle Network for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and have worked as a Senate staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. As the Community Relations Chief for Columbus Recreation and Parks, my team oversees media relations, constituent affairs, and partnerships with organizations like the Columbus Blue Jackets. While Leslie Knope is my hero, my role is so much more than the shenanigans on Parks & Rec. As a department, connect the people of…

Sophia Fifner

I live for the intersection of philanthropy, public relations & politics. As advocate for women & girls, I’m a #metoo survivor & #feministbeautyqueen

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