In March 2018, Jessica stepped into the foyer of the Santa Monica Public Library, a place she had been a dozen times as a volunteer literacy tutor. However, this time, she noticed a flyer on the wall adorned with a butterfly logo promoting a networking event. Having recently moved back from living in San Diego, Jessica wanted a chance to reconnect with her community. At the event, she met Chrysalis team members, applied for a Client Services position that was recommended to her, and got the job a month later. Over the past five years, Jessica has been committed to serving Chrysalis clients in a variety of capacities and is currently our Volunteer & Program Manager.
For Jessica, the most gratifying part of her job is being able to level the playing field for community members who do not have access to job-search resources and training. As a first-generation Mexican American, she feels a sense of responsibility to help those who are underrepresented and underserved by spreading knowledge to her community.
One way Jessica does this is by facilitating job readiness classes in which clients learn the differences between soft and hard skills, how to prepare for interviews, how to keep a job, and how to receive feedback on the job.
A natural people person, Jessica always takes great care to create a safe and welcoming environment in her classes, ensuring that clients feel comfortable. “A lot of the time, we’re the only people that clients see in a day, especially those who are unstably housed. There’s not always quality customer service out in the community. I want to make sure we’re giving tools, but also treating clients with the utmost respect.”
In a recent job readiness class, a client with limited professional work history approached her feeling unsure about how to showcase their experience. She offered guidance by encouraging the individual to focus on highlighting their soft skills, including their ability to learn quickly and be punctual for a job. She believes all experience is valuable and that a good resume just depends on how it is framed. Watching clients have that “Aha!” moment makes it all worth it for Jessica.
A typical workday for Jessica varies wildly because she and her team have their hands on a multitude of different projects. Throughout the week, you can find her actively engaged in cross-departmental collaboration. She regularly liaises with our Client Service team members, partners on projects to support our employment social enterprise, and closely mentors student volunteers.
Outside of work, Jessica can be found learning French on the Duolingo app, where she has a 400-plus-day streak.