The great-grandparents of ORIX USA Assistant General Counsel Nicola Hobeiche launched the first Red Cross chapter in Germany at a time when the Red Cross wasn’t welcomed there. That same dedication to community service has trickled down through the generations and is fully engrained in Nicola—a value she’s also passed along to her two daughters, 8-year-old Gabrielle and 5-year-old Coco.
“It’s just the way it’s always been done in my family—to give back through all of our blessings,” Nicola says. “It feels great to be able to carry that legacy on to my daughters and have them both feel good about helping others.”
This mindset is what led Nicola to get involved with Community Partners of Dallas, a nonprofit that provides resources and support to the caseworkers of Dallas County Child Protective Services (CPS). “There are plenty of charities that are fantastic and amazing, but this one hit home with me,” she says.
Several years ago, Nicola reached out to the organization and asked if any board openings were available. As luck would have it, a spot was open. “And it’s been an amazing match ever since,” Nicola says.
Last year, more than 20,000 children were served through programs offered by Community Partners of Dallas—services like StoryLine, a phone line children can call at any hour to hear a story, and the Rainbow Room, an emergency resource center which provides clothing, car seats, stuffed animals and all the necessities for children in the care of CPS.
“I’ve always been someone who kind of likes to be behind the scenes,” Nicola says. “This is a very behind the scenes organization—there’s the direct impact for the case workers, but it’s an amazing feeling to know that by supporting them, we’re impacting the children.”
Over the years, Nicola has turned to her fellow ORIX employees for help in supporting Community Partners of Dallas. For example, ORIX employees have pitched in when drives have been held to collect school supplies or toys during the holiday season.
“Nicola is the type of volunteer that every charity hopes to have,” says Elizabeth Whited, Communications Manager for Community Partners of Dallas. “She’s a champion for the children we serve and helps get the community involved and excited about what we do.”
Currently in the works: the Easter basket drive. Through March 17, Nicola is collecting Easter baskets in her office, so feel free to put one together for a child and drop it off. This year, Nicola and her younger daughter, Coco, made Easter baskets at home for the children and got the chance to bond in the process.
“I think by doing these types of activities with my husband and kids, it makes us closer as a family and reminds us that there’s greater things outside of our family unit,” Nicola says. “It keeps us connected to the community.”
And it’s not just her involvement with Community Partners of Dallas that’s setting an example for her daughters: Nicola is also involved with Promise House, the only homeless shelter in North Texas for teens and young children—a population that’s sadly larger than most realize. Offering a range of services—from transitional and permanent housing to counseling and education assistance—Promise House also owns a separate group residence next door to its shelter that caters to pregnant teens and teen moms with small children. “Now that I have children, I appreciate it even more,” Nicola says.
Want even more proof of Nicola’s commitment to her community? In 2016, she completed Leadership Dallas, the Dallas Regional Chamber’s leadership development program. As part of the curriculum, her class of 55 participants voted for its class project to support Nexus Recovery Center—an organization that rehabilitates women and teenage girls caught in addiction, and which also offers one of the few programs around that allows women to bring their children into treatment as the mothers recover from substance abuse.
In just five months, Nicola and her group renovated the dormitory designed for mothers and children, giving it a complete fact-lift from top to bottom. Painting, hanging artwork, buying new furniture, adding a play room and laundry room—these are just a few of the activities the ambitious group took part in.
One memory that stands out to Nicola: Within five minutes of stocking a new bookcase, three children had already plopped down in front of it, pulling out books and reading together. “It’s little stuff like that you don’t see at a ribbon-cutting,” Nicola says.
A big-hearted Dallas native, Nicola has been with ORIX for almost 11 years. The globetrotter—who has lived in locales like Saudi Arabia, Holland, Indonesia and Switzerland—also likes to travel with her family if she’s not busy participating in athletic events like mud runs and warrior dashes.
Something she’s especially grateful for? The support of her fellow employees and company. “We all have different interests but still come together to help support each other and the organizations we’re all involved in,” she says. The company’s fund-matching program and designated time off for volunteering have also made Nicola especially appreciative of the emphasis ORIX places on giving back. According to Nicola, “A community thrives when its citizens engage and take an interest in it.”