JVP: I didn't know it then, but I hit the career jackpot when I joined the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce as an assistant for their events and membership teams. At 22 I'd have never guessed the network the Chamber would allow me to build, from CEOs of global brands based in Seattle to the hard-working small business owner to other young professionals in the city. I came to the Chamber from Nike, where one of their cultural maxims is to "Be a Sponge." That's exactly what I've done, from Nike to the Chamber and now on social media - absorb all the knowledge I can from everyone I meet. You never know how someone might be able to help you (or vice versa.) It has always benefited me to step outside my normal circles and get to know people I don't have a lot in common with and might never have met. That, and always be positive!
FJ: I have a lot of people I look up to! Most are influential leaders and women entrepreneurs like Queen Rania, Ivanka Trump, Russell Simmons, Melinda Gates and more. I also look to business leaders on a more local level (many of the Seattle Chamber members I met during my time there, like Tracy Corley, Darcey Howard, Theresa Chambers and more.) My friend Sara Seumae is my sound board and voice of reason for all of the major parts of my life. She tells me things I NEED to hear, even when I don't want to hear them. She started her own eco fashion line, SPUN, in 2008 and opened a storefront on Capitol Hill just last year, while balancing being a full-time wife, mother, sister and daughter to her close-knit family. While I might not always agree with what she has to say, we love and respect each other immensely and she's been there for every decision I've made.
FJ: My dear English Bulldog, Meatball, passed away unexpectedly in August 2010. My posts about him are by far my most personal posts and are among the most-read posts on Fresh Jess. It was so hard for me to write, but the words came out really easily (if that makes sense.) I poured my heart into those posts, just like I did for him.
FJ: Know what you want, and keep at it!
JVP: If you were not working for Banyan Branch, what profession could you most likely see yourself in?
FJ: Blogging full-time!
JVP: Favorite magazine?
FJ: It's a tie between Real Simple & Vogue.
JVP: Favorite quote?
FJ: End each day smarter than when you began it - Warren Buffett
Follow Jess Estrada on twitter @jessestrada