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Monday, Oct 2, 2023

Innovator of the Year Honoree: Joanna McFarland

Joanna McFarland Headshot

Joanna McFarland
Co-Founder and CEO

Joanna McFarland began her career paving the way for women in finance as one of the first and only women at both the investment banking and private equity firms at which she worked. 

After attending Stanford Business School, she set out on a mission to use her skills to help underserved communities. She first put this into practice through her work at Green Dot, a leading retail-based financial services provider for underserved communities. Deciding she wanted to have a wider reach, McFarland joined larger companies (AT&T Interactive and OneWest Bank) to gain broader experience before founding her own company. 

McFarland got the idea for HopSkipDrive from her own challenges as a working mom struggling to balance career and getting her children where they needed to go. As she learned more about youth transportation, she realized the massive challenge that lack of transportation poses to education and access. 

Today, HopSkipDrive partners with districts, schools, government agencies, and nonprofits to serve our most vulnerable youth. The company’s mission is to create opportunity for all through mobility, and McFarland lives that purpose through the partnerships HopSkipDrive has forged. 

HopSkipDrive’s transportation solution enables children in foster care and experiencing homelessness to access their school of origin after moving home placements. It also helps youth with special needs who have transportation requirements in their IEP. HopSkipDrive continues to help busy families get their children to school and various activities.

McFarland is a true innovator who utilized a transportation network company model to create a youth transportation company to meet specific needs.

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