president & interim ceo
Her sights are set on success.
Carla Sones developed a love for horses at an early age while growing up on her family’s farm. After years of baling hay and cleaning horse stalls, she was given her very first horse of her own at age 16. Riding April, a white Arabian, Carla competed in many equestrian events. These experiences not only taught her how to win but also helped her learn the importance of (literally) getting back on the horse when “you fall off.”
Now off to the races at Southwest Michigan First as the organization’s president and interim chief executive officer, Carla’s strong work ethic, not-for-profit work experience and love for everything Southwest Michigan, make her an extremely valued member of the organization. In addition to her daily leadership role, she loves to put her positivity and welcoming attitude into action as she engages with clients both locally and across the country. Carla is constantly dreaming up new ways to meet customer needs. In fact, her outstanding leadership and ingenuity were recognized in 2016 when she was named a Bronze Stevie Winner in the category of Female Innovator of the Year by the Stevie® Awards for Women in Business.
With little time to rest between professional and personal events, Carla’s three sons and twin girls keep both her and her husband, Carl, extremely active. Carla is also on a never-ending quest to find the best bleu cheeseburger and nachos in Southwest Michigan but prefers to search by car instead of on horseback these days!
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman