Staff Spotlight: Rosina Shipman

Hope Solutions’ staff spotlight features our team members and the amazing work they do to contribute toward and fulfill our mission to heal the effects of poverty and homelessness by providing permanent housing solutions and vital support services.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: What drew you to Hope Solutions?

ROSINA: In May 2019, I had just graduated from college. Through my undergraduate education, I received a bachelor’s in political science. I had become increasingly interested in how housing has been fashioned into one of the most crucial tools of sustained inequity in our county. I knew I wanted to do a year of service before going back for more schooling, and so I started looking at AmeriCorps volunteer positions. I was drawn to AmeriCorps’ VISTA program, which focuses on capacity building rather than direct service with an aim to have VISTAs leave a lasting and sustainable impact on the community they serve. The program that stood out to me most was through St. Mary’s College. I was immediately drawn to the work Hope Solutions was doing because I could see, even though the website, that their work is not just about housing, but building up communities, creating relationships, and empowering others. It sounded like work I wanted to do.

Through VISTA, I was asked to work with Hope Solutions resident empowerment program (REP) to build capacity for the three-person team of Hope Solutions residents who use their life stories to advocate for more housing and better affordable housing policies in the county. Together the REP team and I built out the program’s purpose statement, clarified our policy positions, launched the REP Facebook page and spoke and presented to hundreds of people, including elected city and county officials.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: What positions have you held at Hope Solutions? 

ROSINA: After serving my VISTA year, I felt completely wrapped up in the organization and my work. When I was offered a permanent staff position at Hope Solutions as the Executive Assistant and REP supervisor, I was thrilled to say yes. I now fill many of the front desk admin duties and have taken an integral role in building out the organization’s policy platform, along with my REP responsibilities.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: What do you like most about your position(s)?

ROSINA: I love that my job is multi-faceted. I have been given the opportunity to flex my strength and build new skills at Hope Solutions. My new role allows me to interact with the community, our incredible donors and volunteers, while building my organizational admin skills. I am delighted to work so closely with the REP team. I feel deeply grateful to work with such amazing advocates and to have the opportunity to amplify and empower others. Perhaps the best part about my role at Hope Solutions is that I feel encouraged to find new skills I would like to develop. The organization cares deeply about investing in its employees, and that creates a learning culture and a team of highly engaged people.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: How has your role adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic?  

ROSINA: Like the rest of the Hope Solutions staff, last March, I packed my stuff and started working from home. My role was most deeply affected by the pandemic through REP. The REP team relied heavily on meeting in person, not just as a team, but for speaking events, press conferences, and legislative meetings. As a team, we felt completely out of our element. The week before California shut down, REP had started our 2020 recruitment session, hoping to add new faces to the team. We had planned to hold in-person info sessions with food, drinks, and games. We had to change our whole way of doing things. With grace and poise, the REPs pivoted. We held our recruitment sessions online, pinned flyers, and created digital media to share. The REP team is proud to have hired our newest member, Nina Jorgensen, on March 30th of 2020. This kind of ingenuity, tenacity, and creative thinking set the tone for how the REP team and I tackled the whole pandemic. We have grown our team, held policy training for the Hope Solutions staff, passed out voter information and policy priorities for the November election, and met with our elected officials to encourage them to vote in favor of housing that is affordable for all. All this from the socially distanced safety of our homes.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: What do you do for self-care?

ROSINA: Through the pandemic, I have worked hard to take care of myself and have encouraged my whole team to do the same. I started running every morning and began a meditation journey that has immensely helped me in the pandemic’s woes and anxieties. I made sure to have monthly “personal check-in” calls with the REPs in hopes of bridging some of the distance between us. But perhaps most importantly, for self-care, I make sure to put my work supplies out of sight after 5 pm when I am working from home to keep some separation from work and life. This simple expression of care has been such an important routine for me. I care deeply for the work I do, and it can sometimes be hard to step away, especially if your office suddenly becomes your dining room table. This lesson has been an essential idea for the team and me to remember. Through the pandemic, we have prioritized a work style that promotes a whole, healthy person, inside their role and out.

HOPE SOLUTIONS: What brings you hope about your work and the mission of Hope Solutions?

ROSINA: I am hopeful about my work and the mission of Hope Solutions because we are part of our community, not an outside helping hand. Because of our connectivity, Hope Solutions can adapt. When the organization gets a call that we can answer, we are there. This kind of responsiveness and ability to grow with your community’s needs cannot happen if an organization does not prioritize the need to break bread, listen and learn from our neighbors. One can only be hopeful when you see that Hope Solutions’ mission rests on the understanding that home is just the beginning of the work we do.