Meet Community Engagement Specialist Angela Kao
Written by Karen Sampson
Angela Kao was looking for a new opportunity that would enable her to make a difference while utilizing the organizational skills and detail-orientedness she developed while working in the event planning field. Her interest in HopSkipDrive was sparked when she heard just how much her friend loved working for the company. Since joining the CareDriver operations team in 2021, she’s discovered a values-driven work environment where she feels seen and appreciated — and connected to the company mission.
Where do you live and what do you do for the company?
I live in Los Angeles. I started with HopSkipDrive in August 2021 as a CareDriver Operation Specialist. I now work on the CareDriver Engagement team as a Community Engagement Specialist.
How did you hear about HopSkipDrive?
I heard about HopSkipDrive through Kristen Pun, HopSkipDrive’s Accounting Manager. We have been friends for over two decades. She knew I was looking for a career change and told me about how much she loves her job and the company. I trust her, so when she said the company culture is incredible, I knew I had to give it a shot.
Tell me about your educational and professional background.
I graduated from California State University, Fullerton majoring in Communications, Entertainment and Tourism. Prior to HopSkipDrive, my career was in the events industry — I’ve worked in corporate, nonprofit and luxury weddings.
Did you have any mission-based work experience before joining the HopSkipDrive team?
I worked at The People Concern and LA Family Housing — two Los Angeles-based nonprofits that provide supportive services and care to the unhoused community, including outreach, interim and permanent housing, and mental and medical healthcare.
Do you have any volunteer experience?
Yes! The foundation of my volunteer work began in high school. I was extremely involved in Key Club International, a student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to offer service, build character and develop leadership. My senior year, I won Member of the Year for California, Nevada and Hawaii after doing over 1,000 community service hours in a school year.
Since then, I have been involved with different organizations such as Make-A-Wish America, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Los Angeles Community Action Network and Home-y Made Meals. I started as a volunteer chef at Home-y Made Meals, and I’m now on the operations team. Each week, I schedule 70+ chef and driver volunteers for meals to be made and delivered to different partner organizations every day of the week. I have scheduled over 95 weeks so far!
Is there anything about your background that you feel makes you uniquely suited to your role at HopSkipDrive?
I believe my events background has helped me with my current role at HopSkipDrive because it required attention to detail and finding more efficient ways for a process.
What has your experience been like working with fellow employees at HopSkipDrive?
Incredible! It was a little difficult virtually getting to know people that weren’t on my direct team. However, the #donuts channel on Slack has been a great opportunity to get to know other teams. It was also so fun to meet everyone in person at the recent Home-y Made Meal volunteer event and Los Angeles holiday party at the office.
What is the best thing about working at HopSkipDrive?
I have two best things! First, I believe in the mission and the work HopSkipDrive is doing. Education is really important to me, and I think providing safe transportation to/from school is incredible.
Second: the company culture. I think from the top down — especially on my team — everyone really lives and breathes our company values. Everyone is so supportive and makes it fun to work every day. The fact that the company takes care of its employees by offering great work-life balance, amazing benefits and an open-mindedness to volunteer events means a lot to me.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in joining the HopSkipDrive team?
DO IT! I think joining HopSkipDrive was one of my best career decisions. No matter what role you are in, everyone is valued here.
What do you tell other people about HopSkipDrive?
I tell them I love where I work. The team I work with every day and the transparency with the company information that is presented in Town Hall every Friday are incredible. I have never been with a company that I feel genuinely cares about its employees.
How important do you think HopSkipDrive’s mission is, and why?
It’s extremely important because we give every child an even playing field by providing safe transportation to and from school. We break down the barrier, and allow all children an opportunity to access education.
Also, the level of care we put into making sure the CareDrivers we onboard have childcare experience — and are truly thinking about the safety of the riders — is amazing. At the same time, we are providing job opportunities to people that may not have been working for a while and are ready to get back into the workforce.
What are your hopes/predictions about the future of the company?
I hope for HopSkipDrive to be in every school district, even beyond the United States. I’m so excited to see how much HopSkipDrive grows and expands!