Faces of NEFE: Cara Hopkins

Cara Hopkins with participants in a video discussion for On Your Own in November 2014. 
Hopkins, seated in red, with participants in a video discussion for On Your Own in November 2014.

Before joining NEFE in the winter of 2013, Cara Hopkins worked as a technical writer in Austin, Texas. Ready to change gears and reconnect with her roots, Hopkins returned to her home state of Colorado. Hopkins’ prior experience as a journalist and magazine editor guides her in shaping and managing content for various NEFE websites and corporate communications.

Why did you initially pursue a position at NEFE?
Hopkins: I was drawn to NEFE’s mission. I truly believe in empowering individuals to make better financial decisions, because that is something I struggled with when I was younger. I was a first-generation college student, so I really felt as though I was a trailblazer in my family. I had to figure out a lot of things on my own, and therefore made a lot of financial mistakes. It took me almost 10 years to unravel the damage that I had done. I love that I am able to offer guidance to younger people, particularly in my work with On Your Own. (www.OnYourOwn.org ) I get to use all of my skills in a setting that is completely altruistic; we are just trying to do something good for the world.

What is the best part of working for a nonprofit like NEFE?
Hopkins: One of the best things about NEFE is that we are not beholden to outside funders. We can essentially forge our own path, which allows us to be very creative. I also appreciate that here at NEFE we never have to charge for anything we provide; what we are doing truly is free and unbiased. It’s unbelievable.

What is the most inspiring NEFE project that you’ve worked on?
Hopkins: On Your Own. As I said before, I had my own issues with money when I was younger so this blog really resonates with me. In the past year I’ve been doing a lot of boots-on-the-ground interviews with young adults in different cities, and am continuously amazed at their resilience, optimism and strength. Almost every person I have interviewed has been willing to talk about money and be open about his or her experiences. They are hungry for information. I feel privileged to work at a place where we can start to guide them towards more informed financial decisions.

How has working at NEFE changed your perspective on personal finance/money?
Hopkins: I now pay a lot more attention to my retirement and spending. I’m much more conscious about paying off my student loans more aggressively, and considering what that might free me up to do in the future. I want to get to a place where my wealth is growing, instead of just sustaining a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. I feel much more educated and empowered in my personal life.

What is your proudest achievement at NEFE thus far?
Hopkins: In November, I shot a video discussion with Millennials in New York (See picture above). I was standing behind the cameraman watching it all unfold, watching these young people talk to each other about money honestly and openly. I had chills the whole time. It’s so amazing to see how much can happen just by getting people in a room and having them talk.

How have you grown since you started working at NEFE?
Hopkins: I’m learning a lot more about how to reach an audience. Specifically, how to use data and research to meet people where they’re at, rather than where we think they should be. Professionally and personally I am learning how to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]