Jody Hopkins

Jody Hopkins
  • What does your organization do?

    The Texas Association of Charitable Clinics, TXACC, is a statewide nonprofit that supports the operations of Free and Charitable Clinics throughout Texas. TXACC provides capacity building, technical assistance, education, training and advocacy for these clinics.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    I actually came to the charitable clinic world as a volunteer. There was a clinic north of Houston that needed a volunteer social worker so I starting helping out there. Soon, I was hired as the full time social worker, then later became the director.
  • What drives your passion?

    As a lifelong social worker, my passion is driven by social justice. I am truly passionate about helping people who through no fault of their own find themselves in situations where they need help and assistance. I think that every person has a responsibility to reach out with their own talents to confront the social injustices that can be present in our communities. We cannot be complacent - we have to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to succeed and be the best that they can be.
  • Did you have a mentor or a role model?

    When I was first out of graduate school, I worked for a youth service agency. My supervisor there, Joan Swoap, who is now deceased, was tireless in her efforts to help local youth - many times at the expense of being the most ‘popular’ in the room. She really taught me to look beyond myself and to truly try and make a difference in my own community.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    Meeting the needs of a diverse group of clinics! There are TXACC clinics that are completely volunteer driven and others that are quite large with paid staff. They have a host of different needs and meeting them is definitely a challenge.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    Do not think that you have to do everything that comes across your desk! Let’s face it, ED’s are a pretty driven group of people that want to get things done. Sometimes we can get lost in the ‘clutter’ that comes across our desks and lose site of the real priorities.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    1. Make work fun – for you and for your employees. Human services can be extremely draining and at times pretty depressing. Take the time to create an atmosphere in your office that promotes teamwork – which includes fun. Even it if is just 2 minutes a day – find something that works. People want not only to feel good about what they are doing, but to go home saying ‘I had a good day – work was good”
    2. Do not be afraid to say out-loud what you need help with. We all like to say we do this, but usually to a small select group of people. Ask others that you admire than you might not always interact with. They will not think you are a failure, they will respect you for reaching out and being human.
    3. You have to believe in your cause – it can’t just be a job. If you do – this will color all aspects of your organization’s operations and you will get things done.