With a strong background in nonprofit leadership and human services, Monique Turner-Lopez brings energy and enthusiasm to her position as the new Vice President of Community Based Services for The Barry Robinson Center (BRC).
Turner-Lopez stepped into this role in January 2021. She is responsible for growing BRC programs that include foster care, ABA services, intensive in-home services, and soon-to-be deployed young adult services. She’ll also be instrumental in launching an initiative later this year to reduce poverty in Norfolk.
“My primary motivation to work for BRC is its mission and the dedication, high energy and passion that CEO Rob McCartney and his team have for that mission, vision and impact on so many children and families,” she explained. “My work is a spiritual ‘calling.’ For this reason, I have always chosen to work for organizations, like BRC, that are committed to making a difference for vulnerable children, youth and families.”
Turner-Lopez said BRC’s Community Based Services program attracted her for three main reasons:
- She is a former foster mother and now the mom of two adopted children, ages 15 and 17.
- She loves creating and running program that lift individuals, mainly children, teens and young adults, out of poverty and into greater self-sufficiency.
- After working in programs outside of the United States, she longed to return to work that has a direct impact on her community.
As an undergraduate at Georgetown University, Turner-Lopez set her signs on Foreign Service work. She changed her mind after living in Colombia as an exchange student in the mid-80s. She started her career in nonprofit work, focusing on international development and services benefitting families, women and children living in extreme poverty in Latin America.
After serving in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic in the early 90s, Turner-Lopez realized she wanted to continue working in human services and the nonprofit sector, centering on children, youth and families in the United States. She earned a master’s degree in Human Service Administration from Springfield College in Massachusetts. And, she has devoted her 30-year career to community-based services, serving in roles ranging from program officer to CEO.
“My first impression of BRC is that it is a beacon of hope for so many families, children, youth and young adults. Just from my conversations with Rob and other staff members, I can see BRC has positively impacted thousands of children and their families,” she explained. “These impressions were solidified when my husband and I toured the campus for the first time in early December. I felt a strong sense of peace, serenity and healing just walking around the campus.”
Turner-Lopez said she’s excited about the prospects of doing the community-based work she enjoys so much. She firmly believes in services that create profound and long-lasting outcomes in the lives of local children, teens and young adults,
Outside of work, Tuner-Lopez enjoys traveling, and she’s a self-described foodie. And one of these days, if she can commit to practicing, she dreams of playing guitar. Her eclectic musical tastes range from classical and flamenco to sizzling riffs from Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith guitarists.
She and her family are also pleased to be in Virginia, where she has deep roots. Both of her parents were born in Virginia and met at Virginia Union University. She looks forward to spending time with her extended Virginia family and friends.
“I’m very excited for myself and my family to build personal connections and create a real sense of community in our new home in Virginia.”