Meet Lauren Rueger: From School Counselor to Director of Marketing

Our Marketing Director Lauren Rueger’s background in education includes years spent advocating for her students as a school counselor. Her unique experiences bring the compassion and empathy for students into the work she does spreading the word about HopSkipDrive.

Share your background and journey in education.

I spent five years working in marketing, and at that point I decided to make a career change to a field where I could directly support others and make a difference in children’s lives. I enrolled in the Masters program at DePaul University in Chicago for School Counseling and began my journey into education.

During my graduate program I worked as a kindergarten teacher assistant. After graduation, I became a school counselor at a school that enrolled students in preschool all the way up to 12th grade. I was the only counselor for 700 students, and my primary goal was to make sure each and every student felt safe and cared for. I spent time with students, parents, teachers, and community organizations advocating for the needs of our students, helping to provide the resources they needed to achieve their personal and academic goals.


What attracted you to HopSkipDrive? To your current role?

I was drawn to HopSkipDrive’s mission-driven culture, where everyone is dedicated to helping kids meet their full potential by removing mobility barriers and providing safe, consistent and reliable transportation to students across the country. Leaving education was a difficult decision for me, but I was thrilled at this opportunity because I can still advocate for the needs of students and vulnerable youth.

In my role as a the Director of Marketing, I am involved every day in shaping content and helping to connect different teams at HopSkipDrive to schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and families. I not only get to see the day-to-day impact our services have on kids in vulnerable situations, I also get to help drive usage of our platform, which creates more opportunities for more kids. 

How do you feel your education background makes you uniquely suited to your role at HopSkipDrive?

When I was a school counselor, I advocated daily for students’ needs, making sure they received equal treatment and access to resources, and championing their greatest strengths. The marketing team at HopSkipDrive is creative every day in the way we approach content and in how we share information with schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and families.

As a counselor, I learned quickly how easy it is for one child, let alone hundreds, to slip through the cracks, fall behind, or simply not find their voice. Here at HopSkipDrive, I am so proud of the contribution I make, along with the whole company. I’m proud of the work we do to support kids who desperately need consistency in their lives in order to thrive.

Can you think of how your schools/districts could have used a service like this?

Our school could have absolutely benefited from using HopSkipDrive, and I know parents in the community would love having the service as well. Our school specifically could have used it for students who required specialized transportation, as well as sporting events, after school activities and class field trips.

Can you tell a story in which transportation meant accessibility to greater opportunities?

I grew up with three siblings, and my mom was constantly shuffling us around to different extracurricular activities, from ice skating to tutoring to dance or science club. She drove thousands of miles, and wore through four Volkswagen Vanagons! She also became the friendly mother in town who would pick up other kids after school and drive them to their activities along the way. I watched her shuffle schedules and advocate for the things we cared most about, all while spending endless hours in the car.

Thanks to my parents, I had access to opportunities that helped shape me into the person I am today. I was lucky enough to have a mom willing and available to drive us around, and it was always clear to me that not everyone had the same opportunity. Other parents were working, or there wasn’t a family member or friend available to drive their kids to after-school activities. Paying for extracurriculars can already be a strain, and transportation costs plus activity costs meant some kids weren’t able to participate in the after school activities.

I recognize transportation absolutely is a barrier to so many, and having the resources and time directly impacts a child’s ability to tap into hobbies and interests outside of school.

What do you love most about working to give children opportunities?

As a school counselor, I loved knowing I was making a difference in individual student’s lives, spending one-on-one time with them, and developing programming to make a broader impact across the entire school.

Here at HopSkipDrive, I’m part of a team that makes a difference in individual student lives, and strives to improve systemic transportation equity for students across the country.

Interested in learning more about HopSkipDrive’s non-routine student transportation solution?

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