Meet Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader, Lexi Hopp

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 12:15pm

Lexi Hopp, a 2020-2021 Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader from the University of Minnesota, is passionate about community engagement, sustainability, and the intersections between nonprofit management and business law.

In the interview below, she answers questions about her involvement with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge (GFC) Emerging Leader program, her U of M experience, and how she hopes to make an impact.

Q: What prompted your interest in the program and becoming an Emerging Leader? 

I first became interested in working for Land O'Lakes during the first semester of this year. I'm on the community and networking committees for the on-campus club, Women in Business, and we welcomed two guest speakers from Land O'Lakes who presented on careers within the company. Being able to hear their two perspectives as women leaders in Land O'Lakes was incredible; I hung up from that Zoom event and was literally jumping for joy. I reached out to one of the speakers, Courtney Igbo-Ogbonna, who suggested that I apply to the Global Food Challenge internship after hearing about my interest in nonprofit and mission-driven work.

Q: Could you talk a little bit more about that?

Between supply chain management, nonprofit management, and business law, I'm majoring and minoring across a diverse set of departments within the Carlson School. When Courtney first told me about the Global Food Challenge Program, I'd actually already applied for a supply chain internship at Land O'Lakes, because I was certain that I wanted to be a part of the community that Land O'Lakes has created. On paper, I think my resume speaks more to that supply chain field and role; but I'm so excited for the chance to do something different. 

Many of my friends from the Carlson School are in business-focused internships. Even though there is a robust business aspect to this internship, it's also about sustainability, global connection, feeding a growing population: all things they don't teach me in my business classes. Additionally, what I find really interesting in my majors is the connection between nonprofit management and business law. My heart really lies with nonprofit work, and the Global Food Challenge program offers me a tremendous opportunity to see how a foundation like the Land O'Lakes Foundation is run: somewhere with the resources of a corporation and the mission of a nonprofit.

Q: What do you hope to learn and achieve as an Emerging Leader?

Among this year’s six Emerging Leaders, I’m the only one who is a business student. I’m hoping to learn a lot more about sustainability and agriculture from my Land O’Lakes mentors and the other Emerging Leaders; and I think that my business law and management experiences and skills can really benefit those missions. And although the Global Food Challenge Program connects me with leaders across Land O’Lakes, it’s not just learning from them that is important to me: it’s learning from my cohort of peers. Between the mentorship opportunities provided by Land O’Lakes and the connections to my cohort, I know that I’ll have people to push me but also to help me grow. I know that I’m not going to grow as a student or as an employee if people let me go easy. I need that challenge, but also that support, and the Global Food Challenge provides both in every way.

Q: What are you involved with outside of GFC Emerging Leaders? 

I play and serve as an officer on the club water polo team here at the U! I played throughout high school and during college, and it’s been a really wonderful way to decompress and get out of the classroom with a team. Here at the Carson School, I hold an executive position with Women in Business and I also serve as an Admissions Ambassador. When I was a prospective student here, my Carlson Admissions Ambassador played a vital role in my decision to attend the University and move to Minnesota from California. Now I feel like I get to pay it forward! 

Beyond campus, I volunteer at Dress for Success, a nonprofit with a mission to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. I started off as a volunteer doing basic jobs, and quickly was able to transition into a role as a volunteer career coach. With skills acquired from that role, I’ve now been moved up to becoming a client success coordinator, working directly with Dress for Success clients towards their economic independence.

Q: What are your plans for the future? 

As I move forward in my time at the Carlson School, I’m really hoping to find a connection between the nonprofit and business law sides of my degree. I’m really excited that the Global Food Challenge program might provide me with the opportunity to engage with both of those fields through real-world experience. In the long run, I would love to work in the world of nonprofits, and I’m honored that I get to start my experience with Land O’Lakes in the context of the Land O’Lakes Foundation.