Normal, IL – Aug. 18, 2022 – Mayor Chris Koos announced Sonya Mau as the Town of Normal’s 2022 Citizen of the Year during the Town’s Appreciation Reception Wednesday.
“When Sonya retired from her paid career many years ago, the community benefitted even more,” says Koos. “Sonya has been involved with the Multicultural Leadership Institute since 2010. Her passion for this program and helping people find and develop their leadership skills will pay it forward in our community for years to come.
“A co-founder of Multicultural Leadership Institute, Sonya contributed greatly to its success as an ever-evolving a program that develops leaders with the courage to make a positive difference,” adds Koos. “As our communities continue to grow and evolve, it’s more important than ever people volunteer to help shape the community of today for the residents of tomorrow.”
“Sonya’s passion for our community can be defined with the hallmarks of personal and professional development, service and leadership,” says Koos.
Mau’s background is defined best as that of servant leader. For the Multicultural Leadership Institute, Mau chaired the curriculum committee in 2010 and stepped in as the president-elect for program in 2011-2012. Since then, she developed the program curriculum to provide the best leadership learning experience to Multicultural Leadership Institute program participants.
Mau retired after more than 35 years at COUNTRY Financial where she served in numerous leadership roles in information technology, agency systems and learning and development. She joined COUNTRY in 1973 and worked through 2009.
Mau earned a bachelor's degree in music and English from Rhodes College, Memphis, Tenn., and a Master of Arts degree in information and library sciences from the University of Chicago. She studied art at the University of Miami and Mandarin and Chinese at Stanford University.
For nearly 40 years, Mau has been a member of Toastmasters International. She served as president of the DG Advanced Toastmasters Club and held various other board positions. Originally, she joined Sunrise Speakers Toastmasters Club. She has also been a member of the Thursday Noon Talkers (TNT) Toastmasters Club. She has earned numerous accolades with Toastmasters, including several speech and district evaluation contests.
Locally, in addition to guiding the Multicultural Leadership Institute, Mau has provided volunteer leadership to many non-profit organizations including the United Way of McLean County, the YWCA of McLean County and the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington Normal, to name a few.
Mau is a charter member of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation’s Woman to Woman Fund and the United Way of McLean County’s Women United group. She is a pianist and high school Sunday school teacher at College Avenue Baptist Church. Previously, Mau served as a host of WJBC’s Broadview show with Susan Almeida.
Her family originally came to Bloomington-Normal when her late husband, Ben, relocated with State Farm to the area.
Besides spending time with family and Multicultural Leadership Institute, her favorite activity is traveling. Born in Arkansas and having attended college and graduate school in Tennessee, California and Chicago, she experienced many different lifestyles and cultures. She and her late husband were married in Sydney, Australia at her father-in-law's church. They enjoyed many vacations via train throughout Great Britain and Europe and visited China, Taiwan, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands.