The biblical passage of Luke 12:48 states, “To whom much is given, much is required.” These words are painted above the lobby of the Hayworth Fine Arts Center, where Charlotte Thompson, a 2018 High Point University graduate, attended Dr. Nido Qubein’s seminar on life skills during her freshman year.
The foundation begins early with what the business world calls soft skills — your ability to communicate with people different than yourself, present your ideas clearly, work in a team, be coachable, be adaptable, problem solve and persevere – and High Point University provided this for Thompson, who is a businesswoman at her core on a mission to give unto others as they have given to her.
At age 23, she has already impacted the lives of so many. From a global standpoint, Thompson has supported fundraising efforts for countries that need access to safe drinking water and provided children in the Philippines personalized Christmas gifts. Locally, she supported the growth of the HPU Entrepreneur Club and continues to serve as a mentor for HPU students. Thompson uses her drive and natural business instincts to make a difference in this world.
Quenching a Thirst for Public Speaking and Helping Others
As a road warrior with Thirst Project, the world’s largest youth water organization, Thompson is building on her public speaking skills while serving a cause she is passionate about – the global water crisis.
Thompson is traveling across the United States, visiting high schools and colleges to share information about Thirst Project and encouraging students to activate and help end the global water crisis.
“I took the leap of faith and packed my bags to set out on this journey,” says Thompson.
The entrepreneurial spirit is something Thompson developed at HPU. The university knows a thing or two about transformation because HPU has transformed its campus and its culture. As a result, students graduate unafraid of life’s obstacles and ready to embrace opportunity.
“It is through those times of transition that you learn the most about yourself, what you are passionate about and where your values lie,” says Thompson. “If you think about how a diamond is created under tremendous pressure, that’s how I view this experience. Because I have to hustle, that bit of discomfort is going to prepare me for my next step and lead to tremendous opportunities.”
Traveling the Globe with a Servant’s Heart
In addition to public speaking and her passion for giving back, Thompson has made it her mission to experience as much of the world as possible. She has already visited all 50 U.S. states and 40 countries; however, she has a goal to visit 50 countries by the time she turns 25.
Through connections made while studying abroad in Paris her sophomore year, Thompson was connected with an orphanage in the Philippines and spent the summer of her junior year volunteering there. Thompson keeps photos of the children on her watch as a reminder of that summer.
“I came back and my heart was broken for all of the children in the orphanage,” says Thompson. “I was in a social entrepreneurship class with Kathy Elliott and asked her what more I could do to give back and, because I was president of the Entrepreneurship Club, I was well-positioned to bring philanthropy ideas to the greater group.”
The club supported Thompson’s idea to host a philanthropy event for the orphanage in the Philippines. First, they hosted a fundraising event at Freddy’s, a nearby restaurant, where all proceeds went to the orphanage. Then, they worked with the Student Government Association to provide Christmas gifts for these children. The $9,000 in funding received from the SGA, combined with proceeds from various fundraising events, allowed the club to purchase Christmas gifts for all 40 children in the orphanage.
Because Thompson had spent a significant amount of time with these children, she was able to make notes about toys they would each cherish based on their unique hobbies and interests. In addition to the tailored gifts, each child received a personalized handwritten card, which left an impact on one child in particular.
“I visited the orphanage earlier this year, and John Louie, one of the children, had saved the Christmas card the Entrepreneur Club sent,” says Thompson. “It made me tear up and is truly amazing to see the impact we can make in people’s lives, even on the other side of the world, when HPU students come together.”
Flourishing at HPU
Thompson is no stranger to taking the path less traveled and vowed to make the most of her time at HPU. As a freshman, she participated in the Entrepreneur Club’s Elevator Pitch Competition and was the only freshman female.
She continued competing and, in her junior year, she received the top prize of $500 for Water-You-Saving. During her junior year, she also placed third in HPU’s Business Plan Competition and won $5,000 for her business, developed around a water conservation product that captures used water from showers, redirects it to a tank to be moderately purified and is then used to flush toilets to cut down on overall water consumption.
“High Point University provided amazing opportunities for me,” says Thompson. “In fact, I was able to help Dr. Qubein interview Marc Randolph, Netflix Co-Founder and HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence, based on my role in the Entrepreneur Club.”
Thompson played an integral role in growing HPU’s Entrepreneur Club and served as president her junior and senior year. When she wasn’t in class, she took advantage of opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, like having dinner each week at 1924 Prime, HPU’s immersive fine-dining learning lab.
Making our World a Better Place
Today, Thompson serves as a mentor to HPU students and stays in touch with her professors, talking to some on a near daily basis.
“There are so many that left an impact on me, from the entire entrepreneurship department to Dr. Qubein,” says Thompson. “When I was walking across the stage at graduation, I gave Dr. Qubein a hug and thanked him for everything. In response, he whispered back, ‘No, thank you. You have done so much for this university, we are going to miss you and I can’t wait to see all that you will accomplish.’”
Thompson remembers how everyone was always available throughout her time at HPU.
“That’s my word for 2019 – available,” says Thompson. “I want to make the commitment to be an available friend, to be an available mentor, to pour into people the way others have poured into me over the years.”
Thompson was able to witness the type of culture she hopes to instill in others at HPU and plans to carry it with her in future endeavors.
“I am an entrepreneur at heart – I want to be my own boss and positively impact people,” says Thompson. “In the words of Thompson’s favorite author Mark Batterson, ‘I don’t simply want to increase my standard of living; I want to increase my standard of giving.’”