Posted on 01/28/20 by Guest Author
Meet the CEO is a quarterly feature in which we interview a local CEO. In this interview, we speak with Kate Cassino of Hobsons.
Q. It has been almost three years since you became CEO of Hobsons. Can you share what is the most surprising or interesting thing that you have learned and discovered since becoming CEO?
A. One constant has been my daily fortune to be surrounded by professionals who are passionate about individual student success. Every day I work with dedicated colleagues who provide innovative and creative solutions educators use to help students realize their potential. We believe all students should receive the support they deserve. I’ve visited many clients over the last few years, and through those visits, I’ve gained further insight and appreciation for how different every student’s journey is.
Q. What is Hobsons’ “story”? How has it grown/evolved from its beginnings? What have you learned as the business grows? Are there any particular events or anecdotes you feel were turning points for your company?
A. I’ve been most moved by the client stories I’ve heard and how impactful Hobsons’ solutions are in helping students find their own pathway to college, career, and life. Students make important decisions about that journey, even before it’s time to apply for college. I visited one of our clients, Chicago Public Schools, where many students live with social and economic hardships. For too many, attending college and graduating with a degree seems out of reach. That’s an important focus for us, helping students identify their strengths and providing a lifeline to help them achieve their vision.
Q. What do you see are the biggest changes in applying to colleges in the past twenty years?
A. Primarily, so much of the process has moved online. However, ensuring that students and institutions find and connect with each other to improve student outcomes remains our priority. If a student chooses higher education, they are now faced with what can be an overwhelming number of options. There are over 4,000 schools in the U.S. to choose from. Working closely with counselors and admissions staff, we help students match their location, size, academic, and other personal goals to their best-fit school.
Q. Where do you see your industry – and Hobsons’ place in it – in the future? Are there new challenges on the horizon or more opportunities?
A. Challenges shape our opportunities. We need to prepare students not just for college, but also for career and life. For higher education, the process now extends beyond college entrance. Greater attention is being directed at what occurs outside the classroom and how that affects a student’s ability to succeed. Our cross-campus support and enrollment management tools help to integrate students into a well- informed campus community, increasing their chances of achieving their academic and life goals.
Q. Hobsons moved into this office location in Clarendon for almost 9 years now. How does having an office in Arlington help with employee recruitment and retention, or any other aspects of your business?
A. I love coming to our Arlington office. I’ve seen its draw for top talent. In business, valuable synergy occurs when companies are drawn to the same general location, and that’s certainly the case here. A key attraction for us is that the diversity of our employees is well-reflected in Clarendon. Of course, easy access to and from anywhere in the Metro area is always high on the list for our employees and local partners. And given our passion for education, we appreciate having excellent schools and universities so close by.
Q. How is Hobsons involved with the Arlington community?
A. Our internal employee organization, Hobsons United Giving to Students (HUGS), sponsors several projects on donorschoose.org, allowing Hobsons to support a classroom and build a future for students and teachers in need. In addition to HUGS, we host quarterly town hall service projects supporting various local organizations including the National Center for Children and Families, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Ronald McDonald House of DC. We also recently hosted students from Loudoun County Public Schools for the “Job for a Day” event and, in our Cincinnati office, have been involved in the “Adopt-a-Class” program for over a decade.
Topic: BIG Update