Alumni Profile – Sonya (Hausafus) Caprio

By Lucy Muscarella The guidance and mentorship experienced early in a person’s career is often the most formative.  The things young people pick up from their first venture into the working world – about how to perform in their industry, how to interact with a manager and to effectively manage, and how to find a work-life balance, or not – are lessons they carry to each of their subsequent positions.  Greenough alumna Sonya Caprio found a mentor in Phil Greenough and continues to apply his lessons every day.

Sonya, formerly Sonya Hausafus, began working with Phil at Weber Shandwick (then the Weber Group) – her first job after graduating from Northwestern University.  She worked on a number of accounts with Phil, honing her public relations arsenal and developing a love for the art of marketing.

However, though she was in a job she enjoyed and was quickly progressing in, the open road called to the 20-something and she set out on a 5-month cross-country road trip with her then boyfriend, now husband.  The two ultimately put down roots in Boulder, Colorado, and Sonya accepted a job offer from Weber Shandwick’s Denver office.

Just as she was starting to tire of her Boulder to Denver commute, she fortuitously received a call from Phil, who was planning to open Greenough’s West Coast operation in Boulder.  Sonya leapt at the opportunity to work under Phil’s direction again, and took on the position of Senior Manager in 2000.  In this role, she supported Greenough’s larger accounts that had West Coast presences, like Citrix, and also focused heavily on new business recruiting.  “I’ll never forget the first account I closed – the first one that I really felt responsible for,” she reflects.  The account was Raindance Communications – whose co-founder Todd Vernon interestingly went on to found the company where Sonya currently works.

Ultimately, Phil decided that Greenough’s West Coast office needed to be closer to the action in Silicon Valley, so they parted ways when he moved the location to Menlo Park, CA.  Up until that point, Sonya’s entire career had been on the agency-side of public relations and she decided she wanted to give the client-side a shot.  She worked a year-long stint with a large office supply corporation, but found that her true passion was in high tech PR.

In 2004, Sonya started as Director of PR at StillSecure, a network security solutions provider.  She functioned in this role for three and a half years, building the company’s PR program from the ground up.  At this point, Sonya was ready to expand her career into other areas of marketing and she took on the position of StillSecure’s Director of Marketing.  Here she developed skills in lead generation, product marketing, and channel marketing.

In 2010, with the assistance of venture capital mogul Brad Feld, Sonya landed at Lijit Networks, an online advertising company, as the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.  Lijit was acquired by Federated Media Publishing in October of 2011, and in September of 2012 Sonya moved from Lijit to the new parent company.  She has served as Federated Media Publishing’s VP of Marketing for five months now.

Sonya describes her time with Greenough as “like bootcamp for my career.”  She credits her years spent in the Boulder office with teaching her the ins and outs of PR and how to do it well.  Sonya describes herself as the “epitome of work-life balance” and says she valued how Greenough “does such a great job of hiring really smart people, but ones who know how to have fun as well.”

She jokes that Phil has been her “life mentor, basically,” so much so that he was a guest of honor at her wedding.  “Not a month goes by that I don’t remember something Phil taught me — whether it’s how to do PR, how to manage people, how to inspire people, how to keep a job interesting, or how to have fun.”