Sophie Steeno was born on Fort Brooks Military Base in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1959, the youngest of four kids. She was raised by her mother, an immigrant from France. They moved to New York City, N.Y. in 1963. Steeno went through the public school system in Brooklyn, N.Y., working part-time in various retail positions in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She lived in Manhattan during her senior year of high school and tried to venture into modeling work.
In 1976, Steeno graduated from high school and moved to Houston, Texas, earning a BBA from the University of Houston in 1981. She worked for 13 years in corporate America for IBM Corporation as a large systems salesman in Houston, Johannesburg, South Africa and lastly in Los Angeles/Riverside/San Bernardino.
A big turning point, she said, was meeting the man of her dreams, Thomas R. Steeno, now a devoted husband and father of their daughter Ashley and son Justin.
"Thomas asked for my hand in marriage and I moved to the great city of Hesperia in April of 1991," she said.
Q: What do people not know about your job?
A: Always on the go — I do not like sitting a desk all day long.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: Working with all of the people to accomplish goals. We have a wonderful office atmosphere with talented individuals who strive for success in all they do.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: Short term: learn to play the drums. Long term: live to be 100 so I can continue to see changes in people and affect positive change where possible and
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment, professional or personal, to date?
A: Living true to my passions, family and work, and living for peace and harmony. Personally, being a loving wife and mother is my first priority. Work is a necessity to pay bills but I have to balance work and play to keep believing "Life is Good". I always knew money was not the most important thing in life, but I enjoy the challenge to succeed and I enjoy working — I've been doing it since I was 14 except for a brief two years raising babies. So I've worked for close to 40 years. Seems so strange to say and I admit the time flew by so quickly, and my experiences make me a better person.
Q: Where would you like to be in 10 years?
A: Right where I am now looking at the accomplishments of my children, family, friends and the community. I have been so fortunate to have traveled and seen more of the world than most people. I know the best place to live is in our great country of the U.S., and Hesperia has become my home, close to the big Los Angeles Basin but far enough to enjoy quiet surroundings and starry nights.
Q: What makes you tick?
A: Every day I wake up and see light, it's a good day. I love life and welcome every day's challenges, knowing that when good decisions are made, I can rest assured at night and wake up the next day with a smile on my face.
Q: What is the source of your values?
A: Family is sacred, and we protect those close to us till the end. Spiritually, my mother taught us proper Christian values. I am a baptized Catholic, and Tom and I were married in Hesperia Holy Family Church.
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My mother had the biggest influence and gave me my most impressive memories and opportunities. She was my biggest fan and I was hers. My brothers and sister I thank for all their love, support and wisdom I gain from them. I was also highly influenced by all my teachers in school, and went to university to be a math teacher.
Along the way were my various employers — Mr. Lawrence Marcus of Neiman-Marcus, all of my coworkers and clients at IBM from Gulf Oil, Barclays National Bank, Hughes Aircraft and Steeno Design Studio. I have kept in touch with some of these folks and keep in touch as we all grow older together.
Q: Tell us about your belief system.
A: I believe in myself and I believe in others. I see good in all people before I see the bad. If an individual is true to themselves, they can be true to others.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Life — it's what makes the world go round. I sometimes have to take breaks from wanting to be everywhere and do everything I can, to make sure I am on the right track and not wasting time trying to take on too much.
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: Keeping up with Thomas R. Steeno and his talent for business. My children have to be at the top of the list. They make me smile all of the time, and I sometimes wish I could go back in time when they would come home from school and swim in our dough-boy pool with their friends. I am so proud of my sister and brother, the last of my immediate family, for their continued love, support and friendship. I am proud that as I grow older, I am able to branch out into the community more in volunteering for good causes.
Q: What are five things you can't live without?
A: Family, food, security, love and sincerity.
Q: What words of advice do you have for younger generations?
A: Keep an eagle eye open, work and play everyday, watch and listen to all around you. Learn from others, fly low and stay out of trouble.
Q: What is your passion?
A: Succeeding at all I do. I try to do things right the first time. A great saying of my grandfather's was, "If you do not have a good head, you better have good feet." I try learning from my mistakes and not repeating them.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Cook, play with pets, and play in my garden.
Q: Which three people, living or from history, would you like to have at a dinner party, and why?
A: My mom, because she was so much fun at the dinner table. Conversations were always a pleasant surprise and most entertaining.
My father, whom I never met.
President George Washington for pointers on how to fix this country for the people.
Q: What's your favorite movie and why?
A: "Gone with the Wind," for the family, love, community, peace and war lessons in life.
Q: Tell us about a special vacation.
A: I have traveled many times in my life: more than 12 times to Europe; once to Rio De Jenerio, South America; twice to the Bahamas; twice to Alaska; six times to Africa; twice to Canada; 15 to Mexico; and once to the Canary Islands. I've lived in New York City, Texas and California. My first big impressive vacation was to France in 1972, then Tanzania for safari on the Serengeti Plains in 1979, and most recently a two-day trip to Las Vegas for my 20th wedding anniversary. I have learned so much from my travels that have made me appreciate my life as a lucky American living in the U.S.
Q: Tell us about your first car.
A: A Chevrolet Impala that I quickly learned was way too big, and I banged up badly as a teenage driver.
Q: What's the best thing about living in Hesperia?
A: My husband, Thomas R. Steeno.
Q: What is your earliest memory of the city?
A: Dirt roads and a nice quiet friendly town.
Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Hesperia?
A: Home first, La Casita's on Taco Tuesday nights and Burger King.
Q: If you could change one thing about Hesperia, what would it be?
A: Open a fire station at the Station 301 location on 11th Ave. south of Main Street, and I would change how redevelopment dollars were spent.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don't know about you.
A: I was a teenage bride who learned quickly what marriage meant to me. Divorced at 23, and never looked back. I try to be a peacemaker without compromising my principles for truth and fairness.
Q: How can readers reach you?
A: Steeno Design Studio Inc. at (760) 244-5001.
Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at Editor@HesperiaStar.com.