When Sophia Huber ’26 pledged to Delta Sigma Pi in fall 2022 during her first year at the University of St. Thomas, she was one of the only people of color in the coeducational professional business fraternity. Noticing the lack of diversity within her fraternity, Huber saw an opportunity to create a community through a club called Black Students in Business.
“My goal with the club was to bridge community with professionalism and bring in Black professionals to come speak to Black students at St. Thomas, and to help show that there are opportunities for them in the business world,” Huber said.
As her first year of college ended, Huber began working on the Black Students in Business club, determined to launch it by the fall.
“I basically had a week to create the entire club,” Huber explained. “I had never run a club myself, so it was a lot for me. But I leaned on a lot of mentors and students on campus, such as the BESA (Black Empowerment Student Alliance) club leaders and other cultural clubs. They helped me with all those nitty-gritty things, like creating bylaws, and basically how to run a club.”
One of her mentors, Billy Mzenga, director of the Institute for Social Innovation in the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, appreciated her ambition to make the club a reality in a short period of time. “Sophia shines like the brightest star on the St. Thomas campus,” Mzenga said. “It’s no surprise to me that she decided to undertake an initiative that would bring together Black students interested in business and grow it to the extent that it has grown. Where Sophia goes, people follow because of her ambition, kindness and welcoming nature!”
Since it was the end of the semester, Huber had the additional challenge of finding at least 10 students willing to add another club to their schedule. But through utilizing her connections on social media, her fraternity, and talking to people on campus, Huber found the first 10 students interested in joining.
“I’ve realized the power of just asking other people for help, reaching out, utilizing resources, whether that be on campus or through the student body.”
NFL cheerleader, entrepreneur, photographer
Huber learned the value of having a network when she made the NFL cheerleading team two years ago. By cheerleading for the NFL, Huber has grown personally and professionally through her relationships with the other women on her team.
“The group of women on the team are so professional,” Huber said. “They own businesses. They’re doctors, nurses and teachers. Being in a group of successful women really inspired me to step up, whether that’d be in my business, personal, or professional life. I learned a lot from them.”
As an ambassador for the NFL, she often gets recognized when she’s in public. Huber is aware of the importance of her presence and professionalism, believing that a connection can happen at any time, so how she carries herself matters. Huber wants to bring awareness of the value of professionalism to students in her club, which offers workshops geared toward students’ social media and online presence. Huber hopes to have more guest speakers, because more students tend to come, both to hear the speaker’s story and to network with others.
Apart from working as a professional cheerleader, Huber is an entrepreneur. While she was still in high school, Huber started her photography business. Sophia Huber Photography LLC has grown from being an Instagram page for posting photo shoots of her friends to being a lifestyle photography business specializing in couples, families, seniors and weddings.
Looking back, the growth of her business in such a short period of time amazes Huber herself. “It’s grown to something where I could potentially leave school if I wanted to,” Huber reflected. “I’ve had clients that paid $50 for me three years ago. And now they’re paying $200 to $300. It’s really been an incredible process.” Huber’s business has grown to the point where she could work full time. She currently is putting herself through college.
“Since I’m in school, it’s definitely a hustle,” she said. “But I love it. And I feel like with my photography business and just seeing those other professional sides of the world been connecting with so many people. I wanted to bring that to campus, too.”
Although Huber was passionate about bringing her professional experience to Black Students in Business, Huber was anxious to lead a club catered to Black students. She experienced imposter syndrome, because being biracial and growing up in a primarily white town, Huber was not sure if she was qualified enough to be president of Black Students in Business.
“My dad reminded me that I’ve had different experiences and bring different perspectives to the table. So, there was no reason I couldn’t start the club.” Huber’s father, Teicko Huber, has been her biggest mentor. Huber was advised by her father to start the club because, like Black students, Huber had differences from her other classmates and could also benefit from a specific space for her and other students of color.
“I feel like we don’t see a lot of people of color in higher professional settings,” she said. “I really wanted to show students on campus that it is a possibility for them.”
Since its launch last spring, Black Students in Business has grown to 60 members. As president of Black Students in Business, Huber is responsible for inviting speakers, organizing TommieLink postings, managing the budget, and planning events for the year. One of the challenges Huber faced was trying to do all the work involved in running the club by herself. But by creating an executive board of seven club members, Huber has learned to delegate the work. Another challenge is student retention. Given the club meets every other week, it is difficult to get people to come to every meeting.
The club meetings have consisted of free professional headshots, guest speakers, and LinkedIn and resume workshops. Huber hopes to make Black Students in Business a household name on campus, a club students are excited to participate in.
Black Students in Business meets biweekly on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in McNeely Hall, Room 100.