Sarvary, Smith join board of Hopeworks

Mark Sarvary, the executive chairman at Icynene-Lapolla, and Melissa Smith, strategy consultant at Holman Enterprises, have been named to the board of directors of Hopeworks, a nonprofit and social enterprise in Camden dedicated to providing a positive, healing environment that propels young people to build strong futures.

Hopeworks is a social enterprise that uses technology, healing and entrepreneurship to transform lives. Hopeworks’ unique mix of training, trauma-informed care and real-world experience is what leads to extraordinary results. The approach, combined with high-demand, high-wage technical training and paid work experience, is helping to build a workforce that can not only get the job, but keep it, transforming their lives and the lives of their families.

To provide this experience, Hopeworks runs real businesses, providing technology solutions for businesses in web design and geographic information systems, and trauma-informed solutions through training and consulting services with the Youth Healing Team. These businesses help generate over 125 youth jobs a year, and lead to high-wage, permanent opportunities for youth in a growing tech industry.

Hopeworks’ unique combination has led to extraordinary results, with over 85% of youth associates earning high-wage jobs at the end of their work experience with Hopeworks, and a 12-month retention rate of almost 90% at those jobs.

Sarvary, who has been connected to the organization for more than a decade, has an impressive executive background.

He served as the CEO and president of large consumer product businesses and brings more than 20 years of global leadership, strategic consultancy and consumer product management experience to the board of directors.

Most recently, Sarvary served as the CEO and president of Houston-based Icynene-Lapolla, a global manufacturer and supplier of spray polyurethane foam, roof coatings and equipment. Prior to that, Sarvary held positions as CEO of Tempur-Sealy, president of Campbell’s North America Division, CEO of the fashion brand J. Crew and president of Stouffer’s.

Sarvary earned his MBA from INSEAD in France and also received a B.S. in physics from the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom.

Smith also brings a wide range of experience with a strategic and customer-centric focus to the board.

At Holman Enterprises, she plays a pivotal role in defining market opportunities, facilitating strategic formulation and supporting the overall business goals and objectives. She has also developed a diverse cross-section of expertise through a variety of roles across the organization’s various businesses, including ARI and Holman Automotive.

Prior to joining Holman Enterprises, Smith held several leadership roles at Church & Dwight Co. Inc. She is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in neuropsychology; she earned her MBA from Harvard Business School.

Hopeworks Executive Director Dan Rhoton said the group is thrilled to have Sarvary and Smith join the board.

“Mark has been a longtime supporter of Hopeworks and has generously donated his expertise and time to the organization,” he said. “Melissa not only is an awesome addition on her own, but she also helps deepen our partnership with Holman Enterprises, an organization that has supported Hopeworks from the very beginning.

“Our new board members will provide invaluable insight into various aspects of the organization to help further our mission of providing youth with the tools and support they need to build strong networks and futures.”

Sarvary said he welcomed the chance to expand his relationship with Hopeworks.

“I have been impressed with Hopeworks since I first became aware of it over 15 years ago,” he said. “Today, it is an extraordinary organization providing transformative assistance for young people helping them achieve their life goals. I am honored to join the board and to help Dan Rhoton and his outstanding team scale their organization to grow the number of young people they serve.”

Smith said she’s eager to bring a message of hope.

“It’s OK if you stumble or have to start over,” she said. “Just don’t ever give up.

“Hopeworks gives the youth in Camden the support and tools to transform their determination and persistence into a second chance. I am honored to join the Hopeworks board of directors and to help further its mission of helping young people build their confidence and redefine their future.”