Betsy Hoover first learned the value of community building from her hometown of Whitefish Bay, and, which served as her church and elementary school.
Hoover, now 28, still draws upon those experiences in her current role as the director of online organizing for President Barack Obama's campaign operations.
"I felt like I knew every face in that hallway and every member of that church," Hoover said. "From first experiences with soup kitchens downtown, to babysitting for families in the neighborhood, to being cheered for on the sidelines, we had relationships that were deeper than a lot of communities have."
In her journey to her current position directing online outreach for the U.S. President, Hoover continued to build on those connections and take on leadership roles in her community as she got older, through soccer, theater, volunteering and becoming the student body president at .
"Dominican really pushed me to expand my world view to get to know diverse kinds of people," Hoovers said. "I really had the chance to spread my wings and find what I cared about."
From there, her service work drove her to a track of social justice.
"I jumped from direct service to looking at how to change the injustices in the system," Hoover said. "The best way to create this change is to put the right decision-makers in power."
She first got involved with Obama's campaign in 2007 as a field organizer in South Carolina.
"I ended up really impressed with the organizing style of the Obama campaign and never really left," Hoover said.
In December, Hoover made Forbes Magazine's "Top 30 Under 30" list in the Law and Policy category.
Though Hoover's tasks focus on reaching people on their computers and mobile devices, her hope is that those contacts are just the first step in fostering deeper connections offline.
"I don't think anything will ever replace face to face interactions, but I think what we're able to do online is cast a wider net, and help you reach your social network," Hoover said. "A lot of people will stay at that level, but the goal is to eventually move up and get involved in the face to face level."
Hoover oversees online engagement tools like helping people host events in their communities and find volunteer opportunities with emerging social media tools.
"It's really exciting; Obama in '08 really helped the world and the internet and politics work together," Hoover said. "Since then, we've grown a lot. I feel like I get to experiment with a lot of cool things that help move the ball forward."
For example, the campaign offers a calendar of major campaign events that anyone can download and sync with their personal calendar, with live updates of new events.
"It's so cool to see people engaging in so many ways and saying, 'Yeah, I'm going to own a piece of this campaign," Hoover said.