As a younger woman, Sophia DiCaro, deputy director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), wanted to work for the U.S. State Department. She adored political science and studied abroad, but instead destiny led DiCaro to discover she had a way with numbers and budgets.
“I kept getting these jobs putting me in finance roles,” she says, from managing an Arby’s to overseeing the books for the Utah State Capitol Preservation project. Now she’s working to keep Utah’s economy growing.
DiCaro grew up in Price, her father’s home town, where he worked as a coal miner and her mother a seamstress. DiCaro earned a scholarship to the College of Eastern Utah and began on the path that led her to GOED today. Her father met her mother when he was stationed in Japan, and that’s where DiCaro studied abroad, focusing on East Asia relations.
“I’ve always been fascinated with political science,” she says. “I had my heart set on earning a law degree and working overseas.” Instead she earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Utah.
DiCaro says her biggest accomplishment during her first year at GOED is moving its offices to the new World Trade Center at City Creek and the accompanying restructuring of the department. She says the new space is more impressive to potential investors in Utah and creates stronger synergies with the towers’ other tenants: the World Trade Center of Utah, the Office of Energy Development and the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative.
“This will be a lasting legacy,” she says. “It’s easier to sell the state to visiting ambassadors, for example, in the new building.” The department restructuring, DiCaro says, was “huge, internally.”
“If I were to get hit by a bus, going forward everything would run smoothly,” she says. DiCaro has a relatively large staff of 69 people, but it functions seamlessly, she says, because of a high level of trust, which also exists with GOED’s partners in and outside of the WTC tower. “Trust equals efficiency,” she says, “and our interactions have been strengthened and elevated.”
These interactions and connections are what DiCaro sees as the foundation—and strength—of her job. “We have the power to convene,” she says. “Facilitating is what we do.”