Sonya Kristie joined Caldwell Trust Company in 2003, working part-time in the Venice office while finishing her associate degree and waiting tables at a Venice restaurant. Planning a career in finance, the clear-eyed sophomore enrolled at the University of South Florida. When she received her B.S. in finance in 2005, CEO/president R. G. “Kelly” Caldwell Jr. suggested she complete her internship by transferring to the company’s Sarasota office with Jan Miller (now executive vice president and trust officer), who became her mentor. She became a full-time employee in 2005 and has advanced over the years from intern to vice president, trust officer, and manager of the Sarasota office and staff.
In 2018 Kelly alerted Sonya to the Juris Master program, developed by FSU and Florida Bankers Association. She was accepted by FSU in 2019 and received an FBA loan that morphed into a scholarship over the next two-and-a-half years, which added rigorous course work to her full-time schedule with Caldwell and her community service. On July 30, 2021, she received her Juris Master, a legal degree, at Florida State University’s graduation ceremonies.
Sonya is responsible for day-to-day administration of trusts, which includes serving as wealth manager for trusts, IRA’s, estates, and investment management relationships. She assists her clients with budgeting, estate planning, investments, taxes, and legal matters in conjunction with their accountants and attorneys.
In addition to her Juris Master studies, Sonya has completed the FBA’s Florida Graduate Trust School programs; studies in fiduciary income tax, basics of probate practice, and special needs trusts; and Engage Sarasota and Leadership Sarasota County, programs sponsored by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
She serves on the board and is an active K9 Handler for Sarasota K9 Search & Rescue, which assists local, state, and national first responders in finding the lost. She is also a member of the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council, the Florida Banker’s Association, and the Women of the Sun Coast of Big Brothers Big Sisters.