We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Jetton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what do you want your legacy to be?
It’s interesting to think about legacy as a Southern woman. Growing up I thought legacy was limited to how you raised your children and the way you contributed to the world. The older I get I see a new definition arising. Recently I worked on my will and was faced with some hard questions. I wondered, “What is MY legacy? What do I want people to line up at the end of my life and say about me?” Well after lots of soul searching, chats with mentors and some reflection on people who I feel like left a fabulous legacy, I was able to put some words around the legacy I want to leave. First, I hope to leave a legacy of generosity. Not only with resources but with the time I’m given on this earth. I also want to leave a legacy of faith. For me that starts with my own growing faith journey, but flows into the way I care for and love others. Through mentoring girls in their 20s and early 30s I have been able to share what I’ve learned and experienced in my walk with God. I want to have a legacy of faithful relationships. For me that looks like investing well now. This means relationships in my work world to my church family to my neighbors. In addition to leaving a legacy of generosity, faith and lasting relationships, I have chosen to invest in my alma mater, Presbyterian College by serving, giving and supporting in various ways. I want other people to experience all that PC taught me, especially in regards to our motto, “While we live, we Serve.” My hope is to leave this world better than I found it in some small way!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve had a somewhat non traditional path; although I guess that’s the norm these days. I began my professional life teaching kindergarten and first grade before moving on to training teachers and writing curriculum for both the state and district levels. I loved being part of the education community for over 15 years. Almost 7 years ago I was given a new opportunity and I jumped into a new chapter when I joined the CARE for AIDS team as the first development officer. I went from training teachers to raising money! What a ride! I’ve learned more lessons than I can even begin to count from both my work in education and nonprofit. The lessons that top my list though continue to be the same. People will remember how you treated them. Look people in the eyes, smile and ask them how they are doing and actually stick around for the response. I’ve learned that relationships really make any job. I love that I’ve been able to stay close to a few folks from every role I have had. We became more than teammates, we were partners and friends. In this chapter of my professional life, I’m still educating people but from a different lens. This time is more about storytelling and sharing what I am learning about generosity to HIV/AIDs to empowerment. I love that I’m known as a storyteller because it reminds me of all that’s happened to get where I am today! The best days are the ones where I get to share this crazy career ride and all I have learned through it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta has so many spots to enjoy! Now that I am a Roswell resident I have come to love our downtown area and all it has to offer. From the best cheeses on one end of Canton Street to Southern food in the middle to the end for the perfect breakfast, it’s amazing. So many fun shops sprinkled in along the way and off course my favorite coffee shop, Crazy Love. I’d cap off my time with my friend strolling through the many antique shops too. When the weather is cool I’d bring them over to the amphitheater in nearby Alpharetta for a concert to round out the day!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! When I think about legacy and who has shaped my life outside my family I think about Elise. She and her husband were first introduced to me through a mentor group almost ten years ago. Since then I have been in book clubs, bible studies and much more. She has given her life away numerous times in the way she shared her resources but most importantly in how she shares her faith. She has counseled and consoled me far more times than I can count. I am constantly amazed at how she pours into those beside her, as well as those of us who are behind. She is wise, classy, giving but most of all she is generous in all things because of her faith in Jesus. I wish everyone had an Elise in their life!
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