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Celebrating ESL Employees During Black History Month: Sonja Walters

Meet Sonja Walters, Project Manager at ESL

February 2022

In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to introduce you to a few ESL employees who have built unique careers for themselves in and outside of ESL. Then learn more about our commitment to becoming a diverse, inclusive workplace that provides equitable growth opportunities for all employees.

Why do you think it’s important for companies and their employees to recognize and celebrate Black History Month?

I think it is important for companies to know that Black History Month shouldn’t be the only time Black history is recognized just like Christmas or a birthday shouldn’t be the only day you recognize your loved ones. It is important to continuously promote the contributions made by Black historians as well as current day.


Tell us about your current role and any other positions you’ve had at ESL.

I am happy to say that I am a Project Manager here at ESL, and this is the only position I have held. I absolutely love my job and the people I work with! My manager Michelle Montana is AWESOME!

Share something unique about your own career experiences.

I can’t say that I have something “unique” to share about my career experiences; however, I have truly experienced a gamut of different things. I have dealt with inequality, I have had great managers, I have worked in toxic environments, and I have worked in wonderful environments. I’ve worked with the elderly, and I’ve worked with the youth. The one thing I can say is that being a Project Manager brings a skillset that is truly universal and can be used in any environment. I will also share that being in a sport created a discipline and an integrity that truly becomes a skill that you embrace in different aspects of your life.

What are some lessons you’ve learned about managing your career growth; was your career path exactly how you envisioned it would be or have there been surprises?

One of the major lessons I’ve learned is to have faith. My career path definitely had some surprises along the way as I was an Engineer before being a Project Manager. I felt that I wanted a career that aligns more with my personality, and I was given the opportunity to run a project. From there my career path changed and the rest is “HER”story aka history!

What has provided the best opportunities for career growth?

For me, the best opportunity for growth is the “opportunity” being present. Without the “opportunity” present, you won’t have the chance to be able to display your skills and show how you can be an asset to a company. You definitely need the “opportunity” to take advantage of the opportunity.

What career advice would you offer to those starting out?

The best advice I would give is BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Be fair, be confident, be responsible, be accountable! Be a team player, be independent, be a communicator! All these things will help you be a better you in so many ways. Embrace change, respect differences, and always appreciate the opportunity. Be thankful because you are BLESSED!

Has ESL provided support to help you manage your career?

ESL has definitely provided support when needed. As I mentioned, my manager is awesome, and she makes sure that not only from a career perspective but also from a personal perspective that I have the support I need to be my best self.

What is your favorite part of working at ESL?

I love many aspects of working here at ESL—but I think what stands out to me the most is that I work with WONDERFUL people. I work with team players, I work with intelligent people who truly care about others, I work somewhere where they value their employees! I am truly thankful to be an employee of ESL!