Misty Sonnenberg is a leader in conflict.
On the one hand, she figures, “If not me, then who?”
On the other, she prefers working in the background, quietly doing whatever must be done to support each organization, mission or endeavor to which she’s committed. Her sister described Sonnenberg as “a worker bee that has the ability to lead when necessary.”
“My family always asks if I’m running for mayor,” Sonnenberg said. “I have a problem saying no. But if not me, who? Your time is free. You can always donate your time.”
For four years, Sonnenberg, 37, has led the Regional Cancer Treatment Center as its manager. She joined the center 12 years ago as a secretary, applying for and earning promotions each time someone retired. Along the way, she earned a business management degree in 2006 from Angelo State University.
She leads the cancer treatment center by relying upon the staff’s expertise, providing whatever support they need and refusing to micromanage their tasks.
“My leadership style is definitely taking a backseat role,” Sonnenberg said. “Our biggest asset is the staff. They are 100 percent dedicated to patient care. They work really hard to change the patients’ outlook on their diagnosis. They come to us at the lowest point in their lives. They leave saying they want to come back and see us … just not as patients.
“My biggest accomplishment at the center,” she added, “is my staff loves working there.”
Her job has led her to volunteer with the American Cancer Society and to graduate from Leadership San Angelo. Her passion, however, is clearly her service to San Angelo’s youth.
Sonnenberg has served three years on the board of the Boys & Girls Club. She marvels at how the staff stretches every dollar the club receives, providing after-school activities, homework help, active play and a hot dinner every school day. Even more impressive, she said, is the care the boys and girls get.
“I love their love for children,” she said of the Boys & Girls Club. “I love how they take children with almost no support and support them fully. They’re a shoulder for those kids to lean on.”
For the past four years, she’s served as the prop master for San Angelo Broadway Academy, a youth theater troupe. Previously a dabbler in crafts, she said SABA often gives her “some outlandish thing to make and sets me free. I’ve surprised myself by making lots of somethings out of nothing.”
Her SABA gig is personal. The older of her two daughters joined SABA as a summer activity five years ago and her youngest followed two years later. Sonnenberg, who describes herself as socially awkward, said her older daughter was a shy wallflower at the time.
“My husband and I saw this complete transformation in her and her self-confidence,” Sonnenberg said, her eyes welling with tears. “SABA helps kids realize their talents. I never thought I’d see my daughters on stage. Now we can’t hold them back!
“That’s why I do what I do.”