Sophie Gay is forging a successful, rewarding career as an accountant in the nation’s capital.
A country girl at heart having grown up on the family farm just outside Crookwell, NSW Sophie misses the quiet, the open spaces and connection to the land.
But she knew that ‘digging spuds was not her dream job.’
CEF Goulburn & District
Bachelor of Commerce
Australian National University
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA);
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
In 2009, Sophie began a Bachelor of Commerce at the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in accounting. Being the first in her family to undertake tertiary study, she remembers the feeling of being well and truly in the deep end.
But Sophie always knew she could turn to her family for help, even if it might not have seemed like help at the time. She remembers calling her Mum and Nan in tears about her worries, and them telling her ‘you’ll be fine, what’s the worst that can happen?’
And like Nans and Mums usually are, they were right. And Sophie was more than fine, she flourished.
You know what they say – it’s sink or swim… and didn’t I swim! I quickly came out of my shy shell, meeting people, asking questions and smashing assessments and exams.
Since finishing her degree, Sophie completed post graduate studies in 2015 to become a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).
CA ANZ now partners with CEF, providing scholarships to regional students with a passion for numbers just like Sophie.
She remained in Canberra, working for one of the ‘Big 4’ accounting firms Deloitte, before moving into the public sector, now working for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
The work she does makes the lives of people living with a disability better, and she loves that.
Now spending her days in the corporate world, Sophie still remembers that first contact with CEF Goulburn & District, and how it set her up for life as she now knows it.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Sophie’s Nan was so excited and proud that she wanted to go to university. She had heard from friends about CEF – something pretty common in our communities – and encouraged her to apply for support.
She still remembers her interview. ‘For me, it was the first time I had to present in a professional/corporate manner, and now it’s my every day! I’m also much better at interviews and speaking publicly today.’
Sophie encourages students to reach out to CEF, use the resources and contact local foundations. She knows from experience there is so much to learn and so many opportunities out there, and that sometimes youth in regional areas might not have access to all this information.
Like many CEF alumni, Sophie believes it is so important for her to share her life experiences, knowledge and support with others.
When you are supported, once you are capable, then it’s your time to support others.
Sophie says as ‘rural and regional people growing up in these communities and on the land, we understand it, we understand the struggles and the issues faced like no one else.’
Although to many of us she is still very young herself, Sophie believes that our youth are our future leaders, and ‘it’s up to us to give them the best opportunities.’
When Sophie meets people, once the ‘bean counter’ jokes are out of the way, they feel at ease and start asking for advice. We are pretty sure it is Sophie’s warm nature, genuine love for her work and passion for helping that makes people open up around her.
Sophie understands that, whether we like it or not, money plays a big part in everyday lives, from buying coffee to paying a mortgage. She is a firm believer that with knowledge and understanding, anyone can be financially independent. As she puts it ‘financial independence is freedom!’
“Young Money” is a podcast for all young people looking to learn more about setting themselves up financially. It is the go-to for all things on making money, spending money, and planning for the future. The podcast and toolkit cover financial topics that affect young people everyday.
Listen now on your favourite streaming platform and visit: www.findex.com.au/young-money
Trying to save money, really get people thinking about what they truly value in life. This journey not only creates savings – win(!) but, it’s also a journey of self.
Feeling ready and able to give back to her community, Sophie had been chatting with friends about meaningful ways to do this.
She didn’t have too much of an idea of where the project was heading when she put her hand up but loved the concept and wanted to be a part of it.
She admits feeling ‘way out of her comfort zone’ hosting the podcast series, but as her family and friends know, she is always up for a challenge.
The result? An amazing, informative and inspiring tool for rural and regional students hosted by an intelligent, warm and fun young woman. A resource she wishes she had as a young student.
The perfect way for Sophie to give back.