Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn.Managing Roof Above’s social media accounts is an obvious component of Cameron Hinson-Potts’ work as the Digital Communications Manager. She also responds to social media messages, keeps the website updated, makes flyers for programming, measures analytics, researches trends, gathers content and oversees emails to donors.
But the heart of Cameron’s work is cultivating connections. Her approach to getting to know people is sincere. She often works alongside our program teams and front-line staff, helping tenants move in to their homes. Whether she’s meeting with the Philanthropy Team or serving lunch at our shelters to meet our guests, she’s sparking conversations with people. Her bright smile easily disarms the most reserved folks, and she takes care to build genuine relationships.
Cameron says, “Fostering those relationships allows people to feel safe and comfortable to share their stories. Being on camera is not an easy thing. It’s stressful. It’s like, if I can trust you with the camera, I know that you’re going to respect my story, you’re going to respect me. Fostering those connections really allows people to feel safe with you and comfortable because it’s not easy putting yourself out there.”
Roof Above serves a fragile population, so Cameron is thoughtful about what stories she shares. She says, “I think about what I would want someone to share about me. What could I see myself feeling uncomfortable with? I make sure people don’t feel exploited.”
Cameron serves as a trusted bridge between the storyteller and the audience. One of the most impactful stories she’s shared was a video of the first tenant moving into SECU The Rise on Clanton, one of Roof Above’s permanent supportive housing sites. She says, “The first month of it being out, I cried every time I watched the video.”
The part that touches her most is when a staff member tells the tenant “Everything you need is here.” It reminds Cameron of her family. “I think a lot about the blessings I’ve had and the feeling of being somewhere where you’re welcomed in love. Seeing someone else get that from someone who cares — and I was a part of it — blows my mind. It hits every time. This is a weight lifted for people, so it brings me to tears.” (View the video here.)
Cameron has always had a servant’s heart. She says, “I did two mission trips as a kid and that really set it off for me. I went to New Orleans, and I went to Kenya. I was like, ‘This is amazing. I want to do this forever.’ I’ve always had a natural tug toward making people feel seen and heard.”
During the impressionable time of adolescence, she was also inspired by Dorothea Lange’s photo of the “Migrant Mother.” Without creative storytellers, people wouldn’t know about stories like this. Cameron says she wondered, “Who is going to tell the stories?”
In college, she channeled her middle-school dream of becoming an international journalist covering war zones into a communications degree with a minor in sociology, uniting her passions to share stories and to serve.
Video is Cameron’s favorite medium to tell stories. She says, “It humanizes people. You get to really step into the moment, what it feels like in real time.”
Her dream project is a documentary that “would show people what life is really like on the streets.” It would highlight the daily challenges people experiencing homelessness face, when it comes to figuring out the small things, like laundry or going to the DMV, and to compare their experiences with someone who is housed.
Cameron imagines a future with a partner and possibly kids, who she’d like to adopt. She sees herself creating communities and continuing to tell stories. She’ll bring her vibrancy to every endeavor.
She says, “Having fun is so important. Life is really short. Why not enjoy it? I’ve been given a gift of joy. I’ve got a party going on inside. What not share that?”
She smiles when she describes seeing people light up as the result of her joy. She says, “It feels like I’ve got on a cloak of light.” She imagines that, with a little tap, she can share her luminescence. With a contagious glimmer in her eyes, she says, “Am I going to make you glow today?”