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The Opportunity of a Lifetime… a Lifetime of Opportunity: A Conversation With Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation President-Elect Jane Hale Hopkins

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Jane Hale Hopkins (right) will succeed J. Mark Davis as president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation later this year.

 

“From an early age, I knew I wanted my profession to be a calling of purpose,” says Jane Hale Hopkins, president-elect of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “I went to a liberal arts college where training of the heart, as well as training of the mind, was preached and prioritized.”

 

Jane Hale Hopkins

Hopkins, who will succeed J. Mark Davis later this year, joined the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation in 2001 as a finance manager. She’d spent time in New York City after college working on a master’s in public administration from NYU and co-founding a nonprofit called Serve It Up, a community service-minded network of young professionals. The Lexington, Kentucky native was eyeing a return to her native South when she launched a job search in the pre-social media, pre-smartphone era.

“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 Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. They met in New York on Nov. 7, 2000, the night of the infamous Bush/Gore presidential election.

“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 Coca-Cola Scholar leaders who share a passion for making a difference. Now, she’s poised to take over the reins in a milestone year as the Foundation celebrates its 30thclass.

We spoke with Hopkins ahead of the third-annual Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit in Atlanta to learn more about her vision for the future of the Foundation.

 

Jane with Harvard Scholars

Hopkins (second from left) with Coca-Cola Scholars at Harvard University.

Why is now an exciting time to be stepping into this role?

This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. Winning the Coca-Cola Program scholarship is an opportunity of a lifetime for a high school senior. From there, it’s also finding and identifying equally incredible opportunities throughout your lifetime like this one. We’re at a really special place in the history of the Foundation. We’ve been doing this for 30 years and have stayed true to our mission to reward future leaders in the communities where we do business with a four-year college scholarship. But what Mark started was this idea of building a community. The scholarship is really important, of course, but it’s also the ongoing engagement we provide. Coke Scholars are all extraordinary individuals. But together as a network, they become a really powerful catalyst for positive change. That’s why we not only identify the brightest minds in the country, but take steps to nurture those relationships over the years. And now, 30 years in, we have a network of 6,000 Scholars.

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 Coca-Cola Scholars more closely with our brands in ways our company and bottlers can pick up on easily.

 

Scholars Group

Hopkins with Scholars at the 2016 Coca-Cola Scholars Service Summit in Austin, Texas.

What sets the Coca-Cola Scholars Program apart from other scholarships?

A competitive advantage for us is the sense of family. At Coca-Cola, the people truly make the magic. And I think we’ve been able to extend that magic to our community of Scholars. Mark always says, “We want to be part of their lives as long as they’ll have us.”

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.

 

-Coca-Cola Company

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NGOs - SDGs

Crtve DEVELOPMENT launches WE!ARE to promote climate change awareness in Africa

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Crtve DEVELOPMENT CEO, Dr. Okito Wedi (Photo: Supplied).

In addition to making profits, it has become a necessity for businesses and organisations to embrace a consistent, policy-driven culture of giving back to the community where they do business. The reason is that a policy-driven socially responsible endeavour is a sustainable and socially responsible endeavour. Businesses that have this corporate mindset are the ones that eventually provide solutions that truly meet the needs of the community they serve, even when they are profit-driven.

As a platform that showcases African businesses, innovations, and entrepreneurs, Business Africa Online (BAO) is excited to witness yet another novel and beneficial platform where businesses, NGOs, funders, and organisations are standing side by side with talents and creatives in the arts and entertainment to ensure they find expression and use those expressions to deliver the needed solution to pressing issues that affect communities in Africa, and in this case, climate change. 

The Crtve Development (CD) WE!ARE climate justice campaign is an initiative that is long overdue because the solutions that have been proposed for climate change have mainly taken into account people living in places like Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and we need local solutions to local climate change problems.

Dr. Okito Wedi, Founder and CEO of Crtve DEVELOPMENT, stated: “Through the WE!ARE campaign, we want to harness the power of art and creativity to change the narrative on climate change and development in Africa and bridge the gap between communities who will most be affected and policymakers who will determine our climate future.”

CD, together with other trusted partners, has rolled out the WE!ARE campaign to socialise the disproportionate effects of climate change on vulnerable communities on the African continent. Using creativity, the campaign will discover and amplify young people’s unique experiences and demands to surmount the challenges of climate change through climate justice.

Climate justice emphasizes the fact that Africa contributes the least to global warming, yet Africans are the most affected by climate change. As a result, those with the least capacity to cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change face the biggest threat. Climate justice aims to redress this inequality by fairly sharing the problem of climate change as well as the responsibility of dealing with it equitably, with all countries around the world. As a result, the launch of the WE!ARE campaign allows for a conversation about structure, system, and policy to take centre stage between African creatives and the corporate world about how they approach the challenge of climate change.

Collaboration between African creatives and the business community is no longer born from just mere excitement or the need to latch on to trends, but a deliberate and long-term agenda of every business and organization in Africa. This is a major win that BAO is excited about and we celebrate CD for leading the ingenious path that will benefit all because climate change affects everyone in the ecosystem.

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In the coming days, weeks, and months, BAO looks forward to more businesses, organizations, and funders partnering with CD on this project to amplify the great work that is being done. It is a fact that one of the most effective ways of driving sustainable change through creativity is for the corporate world to provide the frameworks, systems, policies, assets, and seed funding needed to sustain the process.

Another big win for the WE!ARE movement is that it will help to improve the proper valuation in corporate policies for the growing social and economic value of creativity and innovation in Africa. Creatives will truly be regarded as using their talents to campaign for real solutions to challenges in Africa, and not just for leisurely endeavours. 

From our vantage point, we wholeheartedly celebrate the immense work and achievements of Crtve Development (CD) and its strategic partners, including the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group, Danish Government, Ford Foundation and the World Resources Institute (WRI) on this worthy cause they have embarked on. We hope that as a result of this work, the subject of climate change will no longer be treated as secondary or alien, but as an issue that all hands must be on deck to address with the collaboration of the corporate world, NGOs, funders, and the creative communities in Africa.

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NGOs - SDGs

Johns Hopkins Faith Adole is Giving Back to Africa

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Johns Hopkins University trained Faith Adole is a healthcare executive and entrepreneur paasionate about healthcare advocacy, public health and inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. In this exclusive with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online(BAO), Faith talks about her foundation, interventions in Africa and passion for improving healthcare access to underserved communities around the globe. Excerpts.

 

Background

Faith Adole is a trained nurse practitioner, healthcare executive, and entrepreneur. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer and founder of U-VOL Foundation, Inc. A servant leader, Faith is passionate about inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. She is committed to health care advocacy and bridging the gaps in existing health care and wellness needs for less privileged communities throughout the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Faith was inspired to start the U-VOL Foundation after volunteering in several international medical outreaches within Africa and seeing firsthand the poor health/hygiene practices, preventable health illnesses and even deaths in many disadvantaged and rural societies. Faith also noticed the existing inequities in Global Health delivery within Africa with a notable lack of Global Health leadership by African women as well as by those within the nursing profession.

As an African in diaspora, and as Nurse Executive with multiple years of field-based experience, Faith brings a fresh and dynamic approach to leading in the Community and Global Health sectors. Faith is currently completing her doctoral studies in Nursing as well as an MBA at Johns Hopkins University.

Inspiration behind U-Vol and what it’s set to achieve

U-VOL Foundation (United Vessels of Love Foundation) is a registered international non-profit healthcare foundation transforming lives one community at a time. Through its mission to help meet the unmet healthcare and wellness needs of vulnerable societies. This is done through medical outreach, health education, WASH and other healthcare sustainability initiatives.

The organization emphasizes love and care for all humanity through its global partnerships, its healthcare initiatives and through healthcare advocacy. U-VOL’s vision is to build dynamic relationships and partnerships with people, communities, and organizations to create global healthcare and wellness initiatives to lessen existing healthcare disparities worldwide.

Recent projects, challenges, funding and impact

Since 2015, Faith alongside U-VOL’s volunteer teams have embarked on successful international medical missions in Nigeria and in South Africa. As well as multiple domestic health and wellness domestic outreaches with the United States.

Under Faith’s leadership, her team has successfully launched a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program (WASH) in Nigeria in 2021. And recently concluded a solar powered clean water borehole project. The recent water project provided a sustainable source of clean water for 1700 people in Obi LGA of Benue State, Nigeria. Before the borehole, residents had zero access to clean water and frequented a local stream within the village called Orowu. Which dries up seasonally and gets contaminated easily during the rainy season as the same water source is used for multiple uses. This intervention will help to lessen the burden of preventable water-borne disease through harnessing a clean and long-lasting energy source. 

Water Project video HERE

U-VOL’s borehole intervention swiftly follows a medical mission in the same Obi community, where a team of medical volunteers treated over 600 people. The recent medical mission and clean water project was powered by volunteers, public and private support, and a local project management team. Through skillful planning, efficient operations, strategic partnerships, thought leadership, and perseverance, Faith has been able to overcome challenges that come from influencing positive change within the African health sector despite various obstacles.

Your view on the health sector in Nigeria and Africa

“The truth is, there is so much opportunity for Africans within the diaspora and for those within the continent to collaborate for long lasting impact and change. I love the saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go further, go together’. It’s high time Africans begin to write their own narrative and leverage on the knowledge, skills, resources and influence within the continent as well as in the diaspora. Collaboration and unity will help us move forward. This is because we need both dialogue and action.

We need various stakeholders at multiple levels as well as diversity and inclusion of thoughts and hands. Community development and relief organizations are still relevant and have their place but it will take all of us to truly impact healthcare in the long term, through advocacy, healthcare policy, legislation, research, technology, education development, infrastructure, job creation and through many other avenues.”

Finally, your plans for the year

U-VOL plans to continue expanding its newly launched Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. Which is targeted at empowering and advocating for vulnerable rural communities throughout various parts of Nigeria. The organisation hopes to help aid both governmental and other NGO efforts to eradicate open defecation, provide health promotion education activities on hygiene and sanitation, and promote the construction of public toilet facilities.

 

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Corporate Citizenship

talabat Egypt Partners with Ibrahim Badran Foundation, Facilitate Donations to Healthcare in Remote Villages

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In accordance with its long-term commitment towards benefiting the entire ecosystem and all segments of society, talabat, the region’s leading food delivery and quick commerce company, announced its newest corporate responsibility partnership with Ibrahim Badran Foundation for charitable medical services.

The partnership aims to use tech for good, by facilitating donations through talabat’s platform in order to support Ibrahim Badran’s medical care and treatment services, in addition to equipping and running medical convoys and clinics in remote Egyptian areas. Customers can additionally donate to finance medical examinations, purchase medicine and medical suppliers, as well as contribute to paying for needed surgeries.

Commenting on the partnership, Hadeer Shalaby, Managing Director of talabat Egypt, said: “Doing by our tech for good philosophy, we are proud to be cooperating with Ibrahim Badran Foundation, which has an exceptional track-record of field work in effort to make quality medical care accessible to all communities. As we value the health and wellness of Egyptians, it brings us pride that we are enabling our customers to have an impact on remote communities from the comfort of their homes. We are also hopeful that donations facilitated through our platform will enable the Foundation to continue their on-ground work in areas most in need of high care standards.”

From her side, Ola Ismail, Founder and Chair of Ibrahim Badran Foundation, said: “At IBF, we believe that medical care is a basic human right. That is why our mission resides in providing high-quality healthcare to marginalized communities wherever they may be. Our work is made possible by partnering with organizations such as talabat, who share our goal of achieving better health across the country and using modern technologies for good. Given that our scope at the Foundation revolves around field-work in remote Egyptian areas, we are excited for this partnership to bring us closer to people who share our vision and want to contribute to a better future for healthcare.”

Ibrahim Ahmed Badran Foundation was founded in 2014 by the late doctor Ibrahim Ahmed Badran’s family and friends, who decided to keep his memory alive by creating a foundation under his name, with a vision to reach and treat the less fortunate. Today, the foundation has successfully organized more than 600 medical convoys in 120 villages in 16 Governorates across Egypt, examined more 395,000 patients in rural areas. In those 8 years, the foundation received help from more than 1600 volunteers alongside the support of our medical team who specialize in more than 15 medical specialties and resulted in 1200 life-changing successful surgeries.

 

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