Getting to Know Sonja – Q & A

Getting to Know Sonja – Q & A
Sonja Allen sitting on steps

What brought you to Friends of Guest House? 

Simply stated – The mission. The Guest House mission to me is naturally connected to some of my primary interests in life – women’s issues, justice, and community service. I had practiced law and worked in organizational operations for several years. Guest House was the perfect fit for me. 

What excites you about your new role as Executive Director at Friends of Guest House? 

I am excited about carrying on where Kari (who retired after 17 years on June 30, 2022) has left off. She was a great teacher and a big part of why I am ready to take on this role. Ushering the organization into a new era and seeing our team efforts manifest into great outcomes for our clients will underlie all I do.  

What fuels your passion for criminal justice-related work? 

I have always had an ardent desire to act as a human rights advocate, as well as uplift and serve people. It is what led me to work in law and what ultimately led me to Guest House. I attended Howard University School of Law, an institution that encourages its students to consider themselves Social Justice Engineers. I like thinking of myself as helping to engineer better outcomes for people in their lives.  

What does community mean to you? 

Community is an expression of connectedness and support amongst a group of people sharing a common goal. 

What have you enjoyed most about your last four years at Friends of Guest House? 

The women in the program inspire me every day. I enjoy witnessing and playing a small part in their journeys. I have also gotten to work with some fantastic, smart, and passionate people who never cease to amaze me with their dedication to the mission. 

Tell us about your hobbies? 

I like movies, reading, hiking, and dreaming up travel adventures that one day I will get to fulfill.  

What inspirational quote do you live by? 

“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou  

Friends of Guest House operates 24/7 for 365 days a year, what’s your favorite way to wind down? 

I am an avid television and movie watcher. I love winding down at the end of the day with a good meal and something on the tube that doesn’t require too much thinking. While I’m a pescatarian, my life outside of work really centers around good food as well. On the weekends, you might find me on some hiking trail in the woods putting in upwards of 5 miles with my loved ones and dogs. 

What/who inspires and motivates you? 

Hope in the goodness of people inspires me.