Expanding a heart for service

May 1, 2023 Chelsey Sleator
Denise Hopkins explains how joining two non-profit boards has opened her eyes to the issues impacting her community.

Denise Hopkins, a leader in Schwab Technology Services based in Westlake, has always given back to her community. “I have always had a heart for serving people who are sometimes a little forgotten about,” she explains.

Denise theorizes that her desire to help others probably stems from her own life challenges and the challenges of others closest to her. She has witnessed triumph over trauma when people are willing to lend a helping hand.

She’s served on the board of her sons’ high school football booster club, where she had the responsibility of managing a “Texas-sized” budget. And she’s also been involved with community service projects through her church. But these were groups that were ingrained in her day-to-day life anyway, so helping there felt easy.

“For me, I found it to be really easy to come into work and do my job, and then spend the evenings with my family, and the weekends with my familiar community,” Denise explains. “It was easy to fall into a rhythm. But as my children grew older, I found I had the capacity to change up the rhythm and do some different things.”

A new rhythm of service

Feeling ready to get involved in something new, Denise jumped at the opportunity to apply when she learned the DFW chapter of Black Professionals at Charles Schwab (BPACS) and Charles Schwab Bank were offering scholarships for a non-profit board training program through BoardBuild.

“This was going to be a brand-new opportunity—one that wasn’t driven by something that was already a part of my life,” explains Denise on her decision to apply.

After being accepted into the program, Denise dove into the self-led training. She learned about the role boards play in non-profits, and the commitment she would be signing up for if she decided to join a non-profit board. After completing the training, she took part in BoardBuild’s matching program, which helps participants find board openings, and she joined not one, but two non-profit boards.

She’s now on the board of ReBirth Empowerment Education, which provides an alternative path to a career through hands-on technical and career training, and she’s also a board member for Under 1 Roof, an organization dedicated to helping people impacted by homelessness get back on their feet.

“Sometimes you can kind of bury your head in the sand. But through my board work, I’m getting exposed to a lot of the things that are really impacting people in the DFW area,” explains Denise.

Denise is bringing her non-profit board work back to Schwab through Schwab Volunteer Week, an annual 20-year tradition, where employees roll up their sleeves and commit their time and talent to worthy causes across the country. Denise is leading two volunteer activities for Under 1 Roof, which will give DFW-area employees the opportunity to help the community with resume building and interview skills.

“I feel lucky to have been exposed to so many people in the DFW area who have a heart of service,” explains Denise. “There’s just so many opportunities to get involved. You don’t have to be a board member—you just have to open your eyes to what your community needs.”

Growing a community of non-profit leaders

Denise was part of the first Schwab cohort of the Schwab-sponsored BoardBuild training program. Since then, 75 employees in the DFW-area have gone through the program with a third cohort beginning in this summer.