With a background in communications, lobbying and running nonprofits, Regina Hopper says she knows how to modernize a business. She plans to do the same for Miss America.

“The latest chapter of my career has been about taking organizations and industries with a strong base and bringing them into a new era,” the new president and CEO of the Miss America Organization told The Press of Atlantic City.

Hopper is currently senior vice president of global public policy for GRIDSMART Technologies Inc. and previously has been president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Natural Gas Alliance and executive vice president of the United States Telecom Association.

“In many respects, Miss America doesn’t differ from the other jobs I’ve had,” she said. “The thing that makes it different is that I was a participant and it’s personal. I want to do everything I can as president and CEO or as a volunteer like I was in the past to make Miss America as successful as possible.”

The Miss America Organization has been reorganizing since a December email scandal caused CEO and Board of Directors Chairman Sam Haskell and several board members to resign.

Former Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson was first announced as chairwoman of the board in January. Then, several former Miss Americas and state titleholders were elected to the board. The latest announcement of Hopper as president and CEO of the Miss America Organization and Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent-Tripp as chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Foundation finalized the all-female leadership of the scholarship competition.

“This is meant to send a signal. If you look at who’s managing and leading the organization, everyone on the board has had some role with Miss America,“ said Hopper.

Hopper said focusing on the accomplishment off the Miss America winners and the state titleholders is one way the MAO board has tried to modernize the organization, a sentiment Vincent-Tripp shares.

“My mission is to focus on future scholars,” said Vincent-Tripp, “and also considering explaining scholarship beyond the pageants.”

The Miss America Foundation handles the scholarship fund awarded to competitors. Vincent-Tripp, an assistant attorney general in Florida, said she is working with her board of trustees, as well as Carlson and Hopper, to learn how the foundation works and how it can be expanded.

“We can really do a lot moving forward,” said Vincent-Tripp.

Once a critic of the pageant, the National Organization for Women is supporting the MAO’s new regime.

“I am delighted to see the new leadership at the Miss America Organization. May they reshape the image of the organization for our #TimesUp world.” said Deb Huber, president of the New Jersey chapter of NOW.

Since December, the MAO has released little information on the actual competition held annually at Boardwalk Hall. In April, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved $4.325 million for the 2019 Miss America competition, as part of the final year of a three-year contract. But an official date for the competition and televised broadcast has not been announced.

“Atlantic City is not just the birthplace of Miss America, but it has been a part of the Miss America family,” said Hopper. “The first thing we wanted A.C. to know is Miss America is appreciative of Atlantic City.”

Contact: 609-272-7286 LCarroll@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPress_LC

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.