Voyage Houston Magazine features ‘Sonia Clayton: President and CEO of Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC’

9/27/2017

HOUSTON, TX – Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonia Clayton.

Sonia founded Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC, also known as VIP-Global (www.vip-global.com) in 2001 and just 2 weeks after 9/11. Her initial intent was to help her friends find jobs and help rebuild America following the tragic terrorist event that occurred at the Twin Towers. She gathered her former team who had lost their jobs due to the ensuing economic downturn. She retooled their skill sets, gave them a new vision and mission and together they went to market. Eventually, VIP-Global became a multi-million-dollar operation, one of America’s most recognized IT consulting firms and the recipient of many awards of excellence.

VIP-Global, is a 16-year-old enterprise that serves several verticals in the energy sector of Texas and the world. VIP-Global provides Information Technology, Organizational, Change Management and Multilingual Training Solutions. All solutions provided by VIP-Global are technology (application) driven, localized in 26 different languages and deployed across the world.

Sonia was born in Colombia during the Narco-Guerrila war and grew up in poverty in Venezuela in a single parent home with her mother. She immigrated to America in 1984, with $50 in her pocket and she didn’t speak English. She married Kirk Clayton, a Computer Systems Engineer, and became the mother of Aaron (29), a US Navy Pilot and Officer and Lisa (26), a High School Teacher. Today, she is the recipient of 27 awards of excellence including White House and State recognition. She is also a 10-year Cancer Survivor.

In 2014, she was named the “American Dream” and her story was registered in the Library of Congress. She sits on several college and university boards in the United States and abroad and is the chairman of 3 non-profit organizations that provide educational scholarships and support to cancer patients and military personnel. In March 2017, Sonia become a council member of the Texas Office of Court Administration under the appointment of governor Greg Abbott.

She has conducted business in over 60 countries and speaks 4 different languages. She holds a double Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Business Management. She is a Harvard Business School Certified Negotiator and a Graduate of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Program (LBAN @Stanford University).

Until the time Sonia founded VIP-Global in 2001, the ERP Systems implementations world was a white-male-dominated professional environment. She was one of the first women in the world of ERP Systems’ Implementations and the first Hispanic Female Entrepreneur in the Energy Sector to create a consulting corporation serving the oil & gas industry. She envisioned an enterprise that would empower its customers, educate, solve and optimize operational performance through information technology applications, learning ecosystems and technical talent. The company, would become the catalyzer that closes the gaps between people, processes and technology while solving cost and budget issues and promoting stupendous growth by using application accelerators, innovation, collaboration and integration.

In 2014, Sonia became the “Oracle of Hispanic Women in America” and her story was documented in the Library of Congress by Congressman Ted Poe. Most recently, in 2016, she was the recipient of the Prospanica “Brillante Award” and was recognized as a C-Suite Award Winner – BEST CEO (Small Business category), a Houston Business Journal Award.

She mentors and coaches over 20 small businesses through the VIP Alliance, a partnership for education and entrepreneurialism she created and leads with the help of US Colleges and Universities. She is a believer-in-free-enterprise and entrepreneurialism; hence she is a small business promoter and provides support and guidance to new entrepreneurs in Houston, the USA and around the world.

She also coaches and helps an average of 30 college students per year and contributes to their education via scholarships and internships through the VIP EDUCATION FOUNDATION. The foundation helps college students and recent graduates with internships. They also help students find that first job to send them off and advance their careers.

Community Service and Philanthropy:

Besides being the chairman of the VIP Education Foundation, The VIP Alliance, Sonia is also the chairman of the VIP Cancer Foundation and the VIP Angels for Soldiers Found. She is an active member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. A Lone Star College-UP Community Council Advisor, a board member and Column Writer for the Small Business Today Magazine, a member of AIESEC Life for college student success, a nationally recognized INFRAGARD (FBI Community Partnership) member, and a member of the board of trustees of Sampoerna College in Jakarta, Indonesia (First American College in the Islamic World).

Memberships and Affiliations:

– Alumni: Harvard Business School Strategic Negotiations

– Alumni: Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Initiative (LBAN)

– City of Houston Minority Women Owned Certified

– City of Houston Small Business Enterprise

– State of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR)

– Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)

As a Latin American immigrant raised in poverty in a single parent home, Sonia has overcome tremendous cultural, language and economic challenges. She has also overcome many personal and health trials. However, for the last 16 years, Sonia Clayton and VIP-Global have left a lasting impression in the US economy, our community and our country.

This community is a much better place because of Sonia Clayton’s influence and contributions. She has served large and small, private and public corporations in many verticals. She has also helped many educational institutions and public sectors offices facing complex operational, technical and cultural challenges. She has provided solutions in knowledge management, application development, learning of many complex operating systems, process improvement and data technologies.

VIP-GLOBAL is a Business Management Consulting Firm, specializing in Information Systems and ERP Implementations (SAP & Oracle). Through education, innovation, disruption, collaboration and predictive analytics, VIP-Global will continue to enable and promote accelerated knowledge transfer, technical training and education, organizational change management, performance improvement strategies, documentation, training, E-Learning ecosystems and staff augmentation services.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

My struggles were cultural, educational, economic and personal. Being an immigrant, adapting to a new culture and language was most challenging. Creating a business during an economic downturn that would be smart enough, tough enough and strong enough to compete, win and survive was my most daunting task. Creating and sustaining a business was very difficult. Dealing with family issues and attending to an elderly parent became overwhelming at times. Dealing with Cancer was also a tremendous personal challenge. Those are some of the few challenges I recall.

Virtual Intelligence Providers – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

We are known for being an intelligent and affordable business partner to large and small corporations. We add value thought people and technology, applications and accelerators (VIP tools). Our mission is to produce results by enabling our customers through technology. We enhance our customer’s ability to perform and we reduce cost by using innovation, collaboration and integration. VIP is a minority-woman-owned business serving the largest Oil and Gas corporations and the American Energy and Manufacturing sectors. We are based in Houston; Texas and we deliver solutions throughout the United States and the World.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?

“Most people measure success in cash value. In my humble opinion success is achieving and sustaining something good that benefits others besides yourself and that changes people’s lives. Because if you can change a life, you are able to change an entire generation. I am talking about the ability of one to touch, change and improve another human being. – Sonia Clayton,” – May 1, 2015.

Link: http://voyagehouston.com/interview/meet-sonia-clayton-virtual-intelligence-providers-llc-11811-north-freeway-suite-500-houston-tx-77060/