Meet Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager Jola Washington
Written by Karen Sampson
Supporting educational equity and helping the next generation succeed are important areas of focus for HopSkipDrive Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager Jola Washington. Meaningful work that brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment is a central element in her life, both professionally and personally.
Where are you located and how long have you worked for HopSkipDrive?
I am currently located in Orange County, CA, and I have been with HopSkipDrive for a little over a year.
How did you hear about HopSkipDrive, and what made you want to work here?
I found a job posting on LinkedIn and decided to apply. I researched the company more, and I was hooked! I’m passionate about equality with primary education. I love the mission of HopSkipDrive and how we work together every day to make a difference.
What exactly do you do for the company on a day-to-day basis in your role?
There is no such thing as a typical day for me! However, I work to make sure CareDrivers are happy and continue to drive by managing related marketing communications. I also work to get CareDriver feedback to enhance their overall experience with HopSkipDrive, and I manage the CareDriver Lounge on Facebook.
Can you talk a bit about your educational and professional background?
I got my bachelor’s degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and I earned my MBA from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, CA.
I have been a marketing professional with various organizations for the past 12 years. My experience includes growing various brands and fundraising for nonprofit organizations.
Have you or do you now do any kind of volunteer work?
I routinely volunteer for the LA Mission and the Weingart Center. I also mentor graduating college students through an organization called Women Who Create, giving professional workshops and advice to the next generation of women of color in the marketing profession.
Previously, I was the VP of the Mount St. Mary’s MBA Association of Professionals (MAPs) board of directors. I’m looking forward to joining the board of other philanthropic organizations in the coming year!
What is your favorite thing about working at HopSkipDrive?
My favorite thing about working at HopSkipDrive is the random signs we get that show we are helping to enhance the lives of kids in the communities we serve. Just recently, a CareDriver shared (in the CareDriver Lounge) a handwritten “report card” one of her Riders gave to her. The Rider wrote that the CareDriver was “kind, respectful, honest, funny, open and smart,” and at the end of the note, said: “Please pick me up again.” It’s small gestures like this that clearly show that both the Rider and the CareDriver made a connection, and that connection had a positive impact on the Rider.
The other part that was great about this post in the CareDriver Lounge is how supportive other CareDrivers are. The comments under the post show how much of a community has been made possible through HopSkipDrive.
How important do you think HopSkipDrive’s mission is, and why?
Providing mobility for all is not just important, it’s critical. Many school-aged children in underserved communities are already at an educational disadvantage for various reasons. Lack of transportation to and from school and after-school programs can severely impact whole communities and set them back for generations.
Bridging the gap and finding transportation solutions for these types of communities could potentially be one of the most critical missing pieces of the educational funnel that allows children to be able to see their own potential.
Have you had any personal experiences in your life that relate to the work we do?
I personally had to rely on yellow buses to take me to and from school. Although the bus stop was a block away from my home, that’s not always the case for every kid.
In high school, my friend and her brother lived a few miles from me but not close enough to be able to walk to the bus stop. Their mother had to arrive at work at 7 a.m., way before we needed to be at school for our first classes. One morning, the doorbell rang at about 5:30 a.m. at my house. My dad answered the door to my friend and her brother, who were being dropped off by their mother so they could rest at our house until it was time to go to school. As a single mom, she might not have had other options to get her kids to school. Transportation to and from school was a juggling act for her without friends who could help and access to alternative forms of transportation.
Is there anything specific about the company culture at HopSkipDrive that is of particular importance to you?
Yes! Every day, I’m grateful to work with individuals who are open and willing to offer help and suggestions to complex situations. I’ve also found that my coworkers are very open to new programs and campaigns that may help to enhance the CareDriver experience.
This type of culture helps me to understand the potential nuances of our data and our CareDriver community, and keeps our core values as the foundation of our internal work.
Have you learned anything surprising from working at HopSkipDrive?
Yes. I've learned how pervasive the lack of transportation is, especially after the COVID-19 lockdowns. I’ve also learned a lot about the shortage of school bus drivers and just how detrimental that can be to not only one child but also to a whole community of children who rely on yellow buses to get to and from school.
Interested in working for HopSkipDrive?
Check our current career opportunities here.