Next Up Columbus 2024: Rabin Hooper

Rabin Hooper
Rabin Hooper

Photo by Ian Crumpler

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Rabin Hooper
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Age: 39
Profession: Clinical Support Manager, SAFY
Neighborhood: Canal Winchester
Education: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) both from Cleveland State University, Ohio Independently Licensed Social Worker Supervisor (LISW-S)
Community Involvement: Columbus Young Professionals, Capital University’s School of Social Work Community Advisory Council Member, Columbus State Career Mentor Program
Motto: “Just do you, everywhere you go!” Sarah Jakes Roberts
Connect: LinkedIn

Give us a snapshot of your path
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Columbus 10 years ago after being very strongly encouraged to apply for a management role within my agency, which began my journey in leadership. As a teenager, I was placed in foster care and ended up aging out after I graduated high school. I went off to college and though I started as a Pre-Pharmacy Major, I knew deep down I would end up being a Social Worker. Life happened, I changed majors and colleges and graduated with my BSW. I decided to further my education and went right into grad school. Since I had to complete my field practicum, I reached out to my current employer and the rest is history. From intern, to case manager, to running an entire division for several years, and now in my current role that falls under State Leadership for my agency, I have been afforded the opportunity to share my knowledge, talents and skills with many. I’ve had a lot of success with the youth and families I’ve worked with over the years and I have been able to grow and build up others along the way.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
I have an innate sense of responsibility for myself, for the work that I do, and for everyone that I care for. I feel that I was called to be a Social Worker and to specifically do the work that I do. It’s definitely challenging, but it is also rewarding. I am very grateful for the life that I have created. It’s a blessing to be alive and in decent health so I keep it moving because there is no plan B! God and my people keep me going when it gets tough. I also like money lol.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I have been so blessed to have several dynamic people pour into me throughout my life. The best advice has always been to build good relationships because you cannot do life alone, to save some money, and to keep a relationship with God. Also, treat yourself!

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I love to go walking at the various parks in Columbus, go to the movies solo, get my nails done and hangout with my friends.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Wild Goose Creative, Hubbard Grill, Sole Classics, Bangkok Restaurant, Marlow’s Cheesesteak, Modern Southern Table.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
A judge.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Podcasts: My Taught You by Myliek Teele and Keep it Positive by Crystal Renee Hayslett
Books: Professional Troublemaker by Luuvie Ajay and Part of Two by Jasmine Guillory

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
Being chosen for the Next Up Columbus award means a lot because I feel seen! Representation truly matters and being a Social Worker is often a very thankless job. To be recognized for the work I’ve done and continue to do is amazing. Also, being a foster care alumni that graduated college is still extremely rare as less than 1% graduate with a Master’s degree or higher. I hope this is inspiring for others to pursue what they love and to put the work in in spite of the adversities that life brings.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The pulse of Columbus is the people, especially the young professionals and the youth. They bring a lot of great ideas and plans to bring their ideas to life. They fight for social justice and human rights. They think about sustainability and inclusion. They advocate, support and innovate. Columbus is very diverse and there’s so many opportunities for success.

The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2024 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Edison Brewing Co. for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2024” »


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