Photo of Lauren Be

Sophia loves sharing her knowledge about and passion for Kern County. Read how this adventurous first-generation American sees Bakersfield as a city for dreamers.

Sophia Gligorevic • Kern Economic Development Corporation

As the marketing and research coordinator for the Kern Economic Development Corporation, I help market and promote the amazing economic vitality we have here in Kern County. I love working with a passionate and driven team to showcase Bakersfield in a positive light. Our focus is attracting, retaining, and expanding new and existing businesses and talent as we work toward making Kern County’s economy as diverse and dynamic as possible.

I come from an adventurous family that likes to travel. I’m a first-generation American with a mom from England and a dad from Vietnam, and the importance of seizing opportunities and chasing your dreams was instilled in me from a very young age. Our city is the perfect place for that.

I’ve traveled all around the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Europe, Asia, Australia, Alaska, Hawaii and beyond. I’ve been to about 100 different places, 4 continents, dozens of states, several countries and countless islands. I’ve swum with the sharks in Bora Bora, skydived in Hawaii, backpacked through Thailand, hiked a Volcano in Tahiti, lounged on the beaches of Fiji, walked on a glacier in Alaska and watched an opera at the Sydney Opera House. I have loved every adventure and plan to make a lifetime of them!

I met my husband, Rado, at sea while working on cruise ships, and we fell in love. We got engaged in Paris, France and eloped on the beach. We decided to live our happily ever after in Bakersfield because we both saw a lot of opportunities here, and my husband always felt very welcomed here.  He recently visited his home county, Bosnia, and called me to tell me he was homesick for Bakersfield. We are so very lucky to be surrounded by the best of the best friends, family and food — his favorite — here.

While I was away exploring, growing and expanding, I realized that Bakersfield was doing the same. It’s become a city buzzing with excitement. My hope is that we continue our growth while maintaining who we are and all the things that make Bakersfield feel like home to me and to many others. There’s plenty of adventures to be had right in our own Bakersfield backyards — I think only boring people can get bored in a world as beautiful as this.

I’ve met countless people in my travels, and I’ve never found better people than those in Bakersfield. There are a lot of paradises around the world, but true paradise for me is being part of a community of people who are loving and kind and generous and engaging. I’m a better person because of the relationships and connections I’ve made here in Bakersfield.

While I’ve been fortunate enough to have realized a lot of my dreams here, I’ve also had the pleasure of watching friends open thriving businesses, start their own families and purchase homes. I love that the dreamer is valued here, because dreamers will make it a better place.

I hope that more people become ambassadors for our strong economic portfolio and all the great reasons to live, work and be in Bakersfield.

We must celebrate our community and strive to be our best selves here — energetic, enthusiastic and happy.

Be VIBRANT in Bakersfield.

Connect with Sophia: KEDC

Click here to watch Sophia’s story firsthand

Be In Bakersfield