32, President & CEO of Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, Smithfield
Business community involvement:
Isle Connect Young Professionals Network, Smithfield 20/20, Ladies of Leadership Isle of Wight, Isle of Wight Workforce Development Working Group
Something that sets you apart from the crowd?
Creative collaboration. Whether it be an upcoming event, workshop or project, I always ask myself, “How can we collaborate with other groups, and what can we do different to make a big splash that is beneficial to our members and stakeholders?”
Someone who keeps you motivated?
My husband and son are my biggest cheerleaders and inspiration. They encourage me to be my ‘best self’ in every aspect and always stay true to my purpose.
Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re proud of.
In 2018, the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce launched its first county-wide young professionals network “Isle Connect.” In just one year, this initiative has proven to be a leading program in our county providing young professionals a way to connect, collaborate and further enhance their professional careers.
What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome to find success?
My biggest challenge was honing in on my true passion, which is helping others to succeed in their endeavors. I feel very fortunate to have held positions in my professional career thus far that have fulfilled this purpose in many ways!
Most important aspect you look for in a workplace?
A company culture that provides abundant opportunity for growth and focuses on the wellbeing of its employees by giving them purpose, appreciation and empowerment.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current position?
I am actually a music and theater teacher by trade! I would most likely be working with our youth in the areas of piano, voice and theater instruction.
What new idea or development are you most excited about in Coastal Virginia right now?
The expansion of our Port of Virginia to allow increased trade and exposure to Coastal Virginia, which will help promote a prosperous local economy and create a more diverse community.
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
Regionalism and the lack of collaboration across the cities to work together toward one common goal; however, I believe we are starting to see a conscience effort to work in partnership with one another to show the strength of our region as one cohesive unit.
Favorite place in Coastal Virginia to go on the weekends?
I love being a tourist in my own town … Smithfield! From the raw beauty of Windsor Castle Park and the Pagan River, to our unique shops and restaurants, Smithfield is a great place to live, work and play!
From her nomination:
“Jessica is extremely dedicated to the community of Isle of Wight in many personal and professional capacities. She is always ready to volunteer for a worthy cause and lend a hand to those in need. It is her mission to be the biggest “community cheerleader” she can be in a way of support, leadership and service.”
—Kelley Healy, spouse