Sphere Spotlight — Jessica Ayden Li
We are pleased to introduce you to Jessica Ayden Li, a regular member at Sphere since day one! She grew up in Queens, New York City as a first generation immigrant helping her mom with her business at just eight years old. She was the first person in her family to go to college (go, girl!) and graduated with a Masters from Cornell University. She’s also traveled to over 30 countries! Learn more about this gem below:
Sphere: Hi Jessica! Tell Sphere a little about you.
Jessica: My background is working on gender-based violence in the non-profit sector. I'm a recovering Executive Director who led two direct service non-profit organizations that provided services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I stepped down about a year ago so that I could focus on creating healthy non-profits, developing the capacity of Asian Pacific American leaders, and consulting anti-violence organizations on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Sphere: So, how did you find Sphere?
Jessica: I had been working from home for a few weeks (and failing miserably - there are so many distractions!) when I found Sphere online. Sphere attracted me because of their all womxn co-working environment and the emphasis on building a community of womxn who support one another.
Sphere: What part of your job are you most passionate?
Jessica: I love my coaching and consulting work. I tend to be the person who goes against the grain (the advocate, the rebel, the one who challenges existing systems and policies, etc.). It's so empowering when I'm able to support my clients in seeing a different way out of their problems.
Sphere: What advice do you have for a young person who wants to do what you do?
Jessica: Take care of yourself first. Know what your boundaries and triggers are. A lot of us in the social sector do this work because we're survivors or we know someone who is. Non-profits aren't going away anytime soon. There is so much work to do, and we need to sustain ourselves because we're in this work for the long haul.
Sphere: What topics make you light up?
Jessica: Dogs! CNN! Politics! I was a Political Science and International Relations major in college so I follow the news closely. My partner says I can watch CNN all day reporting on the same two stories.
Sphere: What are your favorite Bay Area things?
Jessica: Hands down - FOOD. I lived in upstate New York for a long time and then moved to Washington, D.C. for work. I was deprived of delicious Asian food. I gained twenty pounds when I first moved to the Bay Area. I couldn't get enough of how tasty everything is. If you're looking for restaurant recommendations around Sphere, here are my go-tos: Le Cheval (authentic Vietnamese), Sakura (happy hours with snacks starting at $1), Shooting Star (great desserts) and Peony (best dim sum in the East Bay).
Sphere: Anything else you want Sphere to know about you?
Jessica: I have a wonderful service pup named Hansyn. He's small but mighty serious about his work.
Sphere: ADORABLE! Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better, Jessica!
You can find Jessica on LinkedIn, and hear more about her work on her beautiful website http://www.jessayden.com. Jessica says to follow her on Facebook too @jessaydenli if you want to connect personally!