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Persistence & Determination Prevails: Sophia Bernard Achieves Success on all Fronts

Sophia Bernard of Tampa, Florida navigates two worlds where Haitian representation lacks. As a Managing Partner and Transportation Lawyer by day and IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, for the remainder of her time. The hard work she puts in has provided her with experiences of a lifetime and the opportunity to be an inspiration to others.


Sophia knew at an early age that she would work in litigation in some form or fashion. Not due to the societal pressures to be successful but because of her family's support and encouragement. “There were 7 of us. As a child, I was very argumentative and constantly pushing for my brothers to be asked to do chores just as much as the rest of my sisters and I. Fighting for household justice as the family would say. Interestingly enough, my parents embraced it” Sophia explains. Her argumentative nature was nurtured and led her down the path to law school. With many applications submitted came many rejection letters. However, Sophia never gave up hope. “The journey was difficult.  I doubted a lot. I cried a lot, but most importantly I persevered through it all. At times it felt like this wasn’t meant for me. I was rejected by almost every single law school I applied to, even the one I graduated from. I had to join a special program the summer before fall admissions and prove that I belonged there by passing two classes typically offered to second-year law students. Not only did I pass but I received almost perfect scores.  Once I got to law school, I had professors who told me I would never be a lawyer let alone a good one. Despite that, I still graduated with honors and passed the bar exam on the first attempt” Sophia explains.


 In 2014, Sophia graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law. Navigating life as a newly graduated law student, interviewing with prospective law firms, hoping to secure employment, with no prospects in sight. “Law school was the first time that I learned hard work does not guarantee opportunities - more is needed.  You can do all the right things and still not get the desired outcome. I went to countless interviews and applied everywhere; the door was slammed in my face every single time. What kept me going was understanding that despite the no’s all I needed was one yes.  I fought like hell until I got my foot in the door and then I kept fighting” Sophia says. The determination to make things happen for herself is one that many Haitians can relate to. In time, Sophia landed a job and began making a name for herself in the litigation industry. But the courtroom isn’t the only place where her name is heard.


After graduating college and feeling the desire to continue being active and engaged in fitness, Sophia turned to bodybuilding. In an industry dominated by men, Sophia is among the 9% of females competing in this sport and among an even smaller population of Haitian competitors. She never let the lack of representation stop her. After_______ years of numerous bodybuilding competitions, long months of preparation with clean eating, multiple workout sessions a day, and lots of posing practice; Sophia gained her pro card in ______ ; naming her a professional Bodybuilder. “Competing was my way of proving to my old self that I could rise above the self-doubt and allow my full potential to seep through. Bodybuilding was perfect for that because no matter how hard you work, there’s still so much left to do and you're forced to give it your all” Sophia explains.


Sophia’s life as a lawyer and professional athlete mirrors each other, requiring determination and persistence. As in life, quitting when things get tough isn’t an option. Sophia is a walking testimony of when hard work falls through work harder. Each step Sophia takes on the stage or in the courtroom is a reminder to all the Haitian girls and women out there, that they too can create their version of success. The persistence and determination she exhibits to achieve her goals is the personification of our ancestors.



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