“From an early age, I knew I wanted my profession to be a calling of purpose,” says Jane Hale Hopkins, president-elect of the
“I remember going to the New York Public Library every Sunday afternoon to get on a computer and access the weekly job blast from the Southeastern Council of Foundations,” she recalls. “There were always jobs in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, but eventually one came up at a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta.”
Davis was especially impressed with Hopkins’ involvement with Serve it Up, which aligned with the mission of the
“I remember being really excited after the interview, then coming home and sitting up all night watching the results come in on TV,” she said.
She had the job a few weeks later and, over the last 17 years, she has worked to develop an influential community of socially conscious and service-minded
We spoke with Hopkins ahead of the third-annual
Why is now an exciting time to be stepping into this role?
This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. Winning the
What will be your initial priorities?
We’re embarking on a journey from a transactional organization to a transformational organization. We're thinking really intentionally about how we want to continue to show up in these leaders’ lives. We're developing a roadmap for how Scholars engage with the Foundation to ensure we’re meeting them where they are throughout their lives. We want to clearly articulate what Scholars can expect to get and what they can expect to give back.
When we bring Scholars to Atlanta every April for Scholars Weekend, we do a full Leadership Development Institute. We teach four key values of leadership: self-awareness, empathy, inspiration, and vision. The idea is to teach them a leadership framework from the inside out, so they're reflecting on themselves or understanding themselves. We bring in 30 Scholar alumni to teach the curriculum. It becomes a check-in for them – to ensure the values that were important to them as high school seniors and that helped them win the scholarship continue to show up as they evolve. We want to continue to be a reminder of those values as they leave college and embark on their careers and start families.
We also will spend time identifying strategic partners around the country and world to help us advance our mission. Finally, we want to intertwine
What sets the
Coca-Cola Scholars Program apart from other scholarships?
A competitive advantage for us is the sense of family. At
How do you measure success of the
Coca-Cola Scholars Program?
For some scholarship programs, retention or graduation rates are the primary measures of success. For us, we select 150 of the brightest minds in the country. They graduate. So from there, you start thinking about how to define network strength and influence. And I'm not sure that we've totally figured out how to do that yet. We got some really good data from an impact survey we did about a year ago. For example, over 80 percent of the Scholars we surveyed said the Scholars community is one of the top three professional networks they belong to. Engagement is another key metric for us. We want to keep as many Scholars connected to the community long after they graduate.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My goal with everyone is to connect each person on our team with their purpose and help make others better even when I’m not around. I'm not an overly hands-on leader... I’m very trusting. We have a great team committed to the values we’ve instituted within the Leadership Development Institute. Personally, I'm always on a quest to learn more about myself and continually reinvent myself and show up as a better version in my life. That's really important to me. I'm an avid reader and journaler, and I’m very disciplined in my athletic endeavors. I run and practice Pilates and hot yoga – which all helps keep the snakes out of my head.
Tell us about the third-annual
Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit that kicked off yesterday and runs through the weekend.
The goal is to bring Scholars together in a way that inspires them to bring positive change to their communities. We’re expecting around 450 Scholars this weekend. We’ll have a mix of outside speakers and Scholars, and several breakout sessions. Anytime we put this many Scholars in a room, we like to say magic happens. All of our lives are elevated. So it's a chance for them to learn from each other, hear about what others are doing in their communities, and hopefully leave inspired to take action.