Sonia when she graduated from Police College in 1987.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presents the NEPMCC award for Public Service to Toronto Police Service Inspector Sonia Thomas.

Week 36: Sonia Thomas



Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


I was born and raised in Toronto. I went to school at Oakwood Collegiate where I did both track & field and basketball. When I graduated high school, basketball took me to the University of PEI where I played Varsity Basketball. I took psychology and sociology as my thought was to become a teacher. I went down a very different path and was hired by the Toronto Police Service in 1986. Sport has had such an impact on my life so many ways, in framing core values, as well as preparing me for the career that I am still in now 32 years later. I am currently an Inspector at 53 division.


What kind of barriers have you overcome in your life? What skills did you learn in sport that have helped you overcome these barriers?


I created barriers for myself in that I was extremely shy, and I had low self-esteem. Through sport I was able to build the confidence that I needed,  I was able to relieve the shyness overtime,  and through basketball I learned many other life skills that have taken me through until today:  relationship building, tenacity, and just having the strength of character to not only navigate a career or an organization that is predominantly a male organization, but also to be able to rise up in the ranks of that organization.


How has sport helped you to be a better leader? How would you define leadership?


I have developed many core values by playing sports, one of the being leadership – taking the lead, being a leader throughout the different teams I have played on. It helped me with my strength of character. It has also helped me as a parent and helping my kids navigate through sport in their careers. I have 3 kids, all of which were able to acquire scholarships through sport. Through sport and my job, I have been able to raise 3 kids that are doing very well, both in sport and in their careers.


I would define leadership as being true to your values, being able to make decisions, treating people with dignity and respect in all circumstances, understanding that the people that we are leading are at all different levels of development, and understanding the differences in people.


Who is a leader you admire and why?


Oprah Winfrey because of her empathy, selfless acts, she has had the courage to address and discuss issues that are sensitive in nature, and because of her own background and her ability to rise up and be so successful, considering where she’s come from.

The Toronto Police is an amazing employer. We are doing mass hiring in the next year. If you are interested in a career in policing where you can serve your community, please feel free to contact me: