The Second Service Foundation has chosen its new Executive Director. Her resume is nothing short of impressive and best of all, she’s a proud Army spouse.
Lauren Hope has worn a lot of hats throughout her professional career. Culinary Institute of America-trained chef (and was featured on the television show Top Chef), successful business owner of Hope Design, military family advocate and real estate agent, just to name a few.
But it's her new role that has her fired up and really excited for the future.
“I truly believe in putting yourself in the right place because the right things will happen when you're there. A chance conversation with Mark L. Rockefeller at the Military Influencer Conference about real estate led to him asking my thoughts on his foundation,” she shared. “I was drawn to the Second Service Foundation because they were literally asking people, ‘What's your second service?' My new job is to help people answer that question. I'm drawn to it because there's so much potential and it's exciting to get to elevate people while assisting them in finding their next big thing.”
Rockefeller, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder of the Second Service Foundation. The Iraq War veteran, former lawyer and multiple business owner has spent his career since hanging up his Air Force uniform serving the military community. His most recent company, StreetShares, was well known to the veterans space for funding thousands of military community-owned businesses. StreetShares was acquired in April 2022, leaving the StreetShares Foundation to rebrand and launch separately as the Second Service Foundation.
Rockefeller is also a fierce champion of military spouse hiring initiatives.
“Like military members, military spouses are exceptional at adaptation to change, resilience and flexibility. But uniquely, military spouses often have a high level of experience and education but have had to sacrifice their own careers to follow their service member. So military spouses combine talent, with grit and self-sacrifice,” he shared. “I've met some incredibly talented military spouses. Individuals that could run a Fortune 500 company, major law firm or do anything they wanted to in the professional sphere. But instead they choose to serve their country by putting their service member and family first. Simply put, military spouses are talented, under-appreciated heroes. I know because I'm also married to one!"
Hope has big plans for the future of the nonprofit and its programming.
“We’re building an online virtual coaching program so we can help people no matter where they are,” she explained. “One of the things I am really excited about is working out a plan to teach people how to pitch. It’s something I wasn’t taught as a business owner myself and I think it will be invaluable to our community.”
Launched on Veterans Day in 2016, the Foundation has made sizable impacts in the lives of over 10,000 veterans and military spouses through innovative coaching programs and live events. So, when it was time to seek a leader – it was a challenging task.
"We had many talented professionals apply to be the next Executive Director of the Second Service Foundation. We chose Lauren Hope because of her unique blend of talents, her personal experience as a serial entrepreneur, her knowledge and empathy for military families, and her energy and charisma,” Rockefeller said. "Part of my secret sauce in business is to find and work with talented military spouses as much as possible while allowing them to work remotely from wherever the military sends them.”
“In my opinion, military spouses are the foremost hidden talent pool in America. They are a true competitive advantage for any organization that taps into them," he added.
This time, his secret sauce is an Army spouse and entrepreneur extraordinaire.
“At Second Service Foundation, we are cultivating the American Dream for military businesses. As a private foundation, we support veterans, military spouses and gold star families as they grow their enterprise,” Hope said. “We’ll provide coaching, resources and capital, as well as an innovative mentorship program to support entrepreneurs in scaling from startup to the stars.”
To learn more about this extraordinary military focused organization, click here.