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Future Safety Expert Advocates Leading From The Heart

Sophia Naugle from Slippery Rock University (SRU) is a passionate safety advocate with big goals to create a safer future for all. With an eye towards safety, it's no surprise that she is highly active in her community, illustrating the NSLS’s value for community involvement.

Just some of her many roles and accomplishments include: working on campus as a peer mentor and orientation ambassador, serving as peer career coach, Rock Career Champions student-athlete career ambassador, safety-specific career coach, SRU chapter vice president (and chapter president this coming fall) of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), and SRU chapter social media director for the American Industrial Hygiene Association this fall. 

Most recently, Naugle completed and presented a safety-related research project for SRU’s chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and presented it at the ASSP Western Pennsylvania Conference.

Naugle intends to explore different industries of safety and pursue a Master’s in Business Administration, all driven by her passion to advocate for employee safety in ways that will help not only the employees themselves, but their families and communities as well. 

A Clear Mindset Is Key

Naugle attributes her success to having a clear mindset. “Being able to balance a schedule of productive goals is difficult, but being confident and genuine in your intentions will allow you to achieve more than you ever imagined.” 

For every one of her accomplishments, she had a vision and knew exactly how each step would contribute to her professional and personal goals. To support her plan, she regularly touched base with her community and her mentors to talk through problems and ask for support.

"I communicated my progress and concerns with the amazing mentors in my close circle, to which I owe them everything for their support and dedication to my success."


Community and Communication Speak Volumes

Naugle knows the value of both community and communication in her successes. She combined both effectively, communicating with her mentors and support system about her progress and concerns. Her professors have become family and her first line of support while at school. 

"These individuals have instilled both professional and personal goals in me through their valued experience. To me, they are both family and my educators. They are the first people I can call at school when I have a question or need. Being a student who lives away from home has allowed me to develop independence, but I could not have done it without each of their guiding hands."

The NSLS has also provided valuable community and resources for her to achieve her goals and connect with others. 

"The NSLS has allowed me to collaborate with other leaders, and to show my true self in a community of supporters. This opportunity has provided great resources to expand upon my skills to become a better person, professional, and community member for those I lead."

Since community is such an important pillar in her life, she believes a good leader ultimately makes the world a better place.

“To me, a good leader makes life more enjoyable, rewarding, and valuable for those around them. Leadership does not need to be large scale to be successful. It could be as small as offering help in your community.”

Naugle's Advice for Future Leaders

The best piece of advice she has received highlights the importance of self-care and personal growth alongside professional concerns. 

“Protect your peace. Protect the time that you have to grow personally aside from professionally. The second you let your personal goals and aspirations to blend with your professional initiatives is the second you take a back seat in your life.”

By growing on a personal level and taking the time for self-care, you will be more energized and prepared to succeed at professional endeavors.

When it comes to leading others, Naugle advises using empathy, friendliness, and caring as the foundation to great leadership. 

“Lead with your heart. Become a relatable person who holds ethics higher than material things. The reward will be much greater, and you will never regret the choice to be a good person.” 

With that approach, Naugle is sure to make a positive impact on any community she touches, and will certainly make it a safer place to work and live. 

Community advocacy is a pillar of the NSLS and a value that many of our members hold close to their hearts. Check out the story of Alicia Johnson, whose nonprofit provides support for young people in her community.