What is it that empowers you most?
I’m empowered by other people who are pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo, and achieving great things. You know you’ve met one of these people when you can literally feel their energy. Whether it’s a simple conversation or collaborating on a project together, I feel most alive when I spend time with people like this.
What is it that you love most about yourself?
That I stand up for what’s right and I do so unapologetically.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Rolling out of my sleeping bag into a sun drenched meadow in the Sierra Nevada.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
In the spirit of coloring outside of the lines I’m going to share more than one role model. I’m currently feeling Hillary Clinton because she takes so much shit and still carries on. I don’t know how you could work so hard for your entire life, only to have the media break you down publicly, and do so in a way that they never would do to men. I don’t agree with all of her politics, but I have mad respect for her.
When I was younger I was quite inspired and influenced by Eve Ensler—she really opened the door for women to be vulnerable and strong at the same time. She brought awareness to some pretty heavy issues, and did so in a way that was relevant and engaging for a diverse audience. She made us see women from other cultures and backgrounds, and grapple with our own assumptions about sexuality, freedom, and power.
And the list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give some shout outs to my own family. My mom, her mother, and my father all taught me not to take shit from anyone and to explore the world. That’s how they lived their lives and I’m deeply grateful to have had them as role models.
Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I’m currently obsessed with Ilana Wexler and Abbi Abrams of Broad City. They are brilliant and inspire me to push the limits of what women are supposed to do and say.
If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Wonder Woman because I want to look that hot from head to toe in a Spandex leotard and knee-high boots while exhibiting the most #badass athletic skills known to humans.
What is your biggest life goal?
I’d like to leave this earth knowing that what I dedicated my life to actually make a difference for women and left a lasting mark. I want the work that I do to be a game changer.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I’m living my biggest accomplishment as I write this — I’m three years into a PhD and running two companies. I have never attempted to achieve so much, and I feel like I’m at the pinnacle of my 38 years. When I think about my future self looking back on this time, I’m sure that I’ll have more specific reflection that will include chuckling about my perfect mix of nativity and courage that has gotten me to this point.
What is your favourite quote?
This is from an interview with John Cusack in Elle Magazine. “Elle: In five words or less, tell me why you’ve never married. JC: I can do it in seven: ‘Society doesn’t tell me what to do.’”
If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Stand up for what you believe in and for yourself—people will still like you.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is a movement of brave individuals who fight for the betterment of society. It’s a shame that there has been such a backlash against the notion of feminism, especially as the movement has evolved in its intersectionality and inclusivity. The irony is that the women who demonize the movement are able to do so in part because of the advances made for women, by women.
Jen is the CEO at Coalition Snow in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, USA