Like the roots of SERCAP, our President and CEO also has roots in the Roanoke Valley. Hope Cupit is a William Fleming High School graduate and has a large network of family in the area. Hope’s mother was one of nine children--can you imagine all those aunts, uncles, and cousins? That large family in Hope’s life clarifies why leading SERCAP for Hope means fostering a family-like atmosphere amongst the SERCAP team.
Hope’s path towards SERCAP began when she was in middle school. She attended a school that offered career objective classes during part of the day. Hope selected accounting. The exposure really stuck with Hope and launched her on a career trajectory that began when she earned her accounting degree at James Madison University. Hope looks back on that time and muses, “Can you believe I actually stuck with that?” It’s true, she continued with that middle school interest and a career developed as a result.
Early in Hope’s career, while working at a regional CPA firm, she was an auditor for non-profit organizations. That was how Hope was originally introduced to SERCAP: she audited their books. Hope admits it was extremely challenging to audit the SERCAP books because of their complexities--she describes them as “intimidating”. While working on that project she recalls, “I didn’t quite understand or believe that there were still people without the basic necessities of life: water and safe housing.” This exposure to the significance of the SERCAP mission left its mark on Hope--one day prompting her to officially join the team.
Hope knew she liked working for nonprofit organizations and was struck by the mission of SERCAP, so when a controller position opened up it seemed only natural to apply. She began that position 11 years ago. Regarding her work as a controller, Hope said, “I was glad to come and get involved and engaged with the rural communities we serve.”
By joining our team, Hope went from primarily working with urban areas before transitioning towards exclusively rural communities. While most would point out the differences in these communities, Hope is struck by the similarities. Hope said, “The urban, inner city issues are similar to rural dynamics. There is a need for education, improved access, and people who want to improve things but need someone to guide them along.”
Hope excelled and soared with the SERCAP team as a controller and was promoted to vice president. Then, in 2009, the CEO position opened up and Hope was selected. She was ready and eager for this position that allowed her to lead and share the SERCAP story in new ways.
Her heart for rural areas and the action she takes to advocate for these people and communities is nothing short of inspiring. She energizes our team with her relational approach towards leadership. A constant advocate for our organization, Hope shared, “I love my job, I love coming to work. I know I’m making a difference. I’m here for the people we serve.”
Why does Hope’s work matter? Why does the big picture of SERCAP’s work matter? “Water is life. Without water, you cannot have robust communities. If you bring water, everything else falls into place and starts to flow. That’s why SERCAP matters,” explained Hope. Belief in the SERCAP mission guides Hope and our team each and every day.
Hope knows our mission is a critical one. In her words, “We give rural communities a voice. We advocate for them.” That simple statement speaks volumes from our valued leader and biggest supporter. SERCAP is so fortunate to have a leader like Hope, who is dedicated to helping so many individuals and communities through thoughtful leadership every day.