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2014 Young Memphian: Sophia Cole, Medtronic

The following is a profile from our summer issue of Memphis Crossroads Magazine: 2014 Young Memphis. Click here to view the entire magazine with profiles from our other nine Young Memphians.

When Sophia Cole came to Memphis as a 19-year-old refugee from the Soviet Union Republic of Azerbaijan, she had $200 to her name and two small bags of personal belongings. For several years, she struggled with the English language, worked her way through school and experienced firsthand the kindness of strangers.

“When I moved here, there were so many people in Memphis who were ready to lend a hand when I was in need,” Cole said. “The people and the culture here are what I love most about this city.”

Today, she holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from The University of Memphis and an MBA from Christian Brothers University, volunteers as a co-leader on the Memphis-MidSouth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Committee and works as director of Program Management for Medtronic Spinal and Biologics, where she focuses on the development and implementation of the company’s New Product Commercialization Process and Resource Management Process.

“We started the program management office six years ago. I was one of the first hires for it, and basically we established processes and created best practices that facilitate our new product introductions,” Cole said. “I love the mission of Medtronic. Our team restores health and extends life. It’s really rewarding to work for a company that helps people feel better.”

Since taking the position, Cole has helped Medtronic Spinal increase its on-time “hit-rate” for product launches from eight percent in 2008 to 88 percent in 2012. Her keys to success: Stay true to yourself, be open to new opportunities and work hard.

“Ultimately, if you set goals for yourself and work hard, you can get there, even if you don’t necessarily have the immediate means to do it. 

Story by: Erinn Figg
Photograph by: Troy Glasgow
Posted: 10/21/2014 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: cole, medtronic, memphian, Memphis, professional, sophia, young

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (