Between my mom and Oprah, I have everything I need to thrive in life. I'm Jessica Grayson, Elpha Community ManagerFeatured

What’s your name and your current role?Jessica Grayson - Looking for full time work in tech. Currently a Community Manager for Elpha and a freelancer.Where’s the place of your origin?I’m from Arizona and have a mixed ethnic background - black/white.How many years have you been in tech? 1.5 years, but have been working professionally for over a decade in healthcare growth, operations, and compliance/HR. What’s something that you’ve done that you’re proud of?Personally, that’s easy - being a mom to my daughter. Professionally, it was getting appointed to the executive leadership team when I wasn’t an executive. It wasn’t that it was a bragging right, I got to have a voice at high level decision making. I was still a primary point of assessment for the executives, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have a voice. It was just the culmination of time and hard work combined.What’s your “aha” moment in deciding what do you want to do professionally? When I was working as an Engineer for a short term role at a DevOps tech company earlier this year, I realized how important it is to me that I am working in a capacity that helps people. The work I was doing was fun, but not inspiring. The product, while good, didn’t excite me because it didn’t do enough to affect the greater good. I just want to work for a company where I know the work I do every day contributes to the greater good, even if small. That’s what was cool about working in healthcare. What’s your definition of success in life or in your career?Career: Financial freedom, or even so much money that I can use it to help others have opportunities they normally would not have.Life: Being able to experience the realities of life with humor and compassion. After losing my brother-in-law to suicide last year, I just realized that life is too short to get wound up over most things. It was a wake-up call for sure. What’s something that you’re working on to improve about yourself? My confidence and ability to shamelessly be myself.Tell us about someone who has inspired you a great deal. Who was it and how did they inspire you?My mom is a great inspiration. Oprah too. Between those two, I got everything I needed to thrive in life. My mom left a not-great home at 16, finished high school, eventually moved to Arizona. She had me in her late 20s and just worked her butt off to progress in her career so I could have opportunities I otherwise would not have had. I remember being little and counting spare change so we would have money to buy groceries and stuff like that. She then became a senior female leader without a college degree by working her way up. It reminds me that if she can overcome those things, so can I! How do you celebrate your wins?Usually with happy tears or wine - or both.What do you do when you aren't working or studying?Doing my mom-thing, reading, working out, and just enjoying the people that I love in my life. I like just soaking that up. What is one piece of advice that you’d share with the Elpha community?I always say to trust your gut. Any regrets I have were because I didn’t trust my gut. I think women are especially perceptive and so their instincts are spot on. We second-guess ourselves so much in an effort be considered nice or to think positively, but to our own detriment at times.--After melting in an oven in Arizona for a good portion of her life, Jessica relocated to Silicon Valley because she enjoys the stress of selling a home and relocating with two dogs, a spouse, and a baby. She is an R&B music fan and has a weird love for nude color shoes.Professionally, she has an extensive background in the healthcare industry in operations, compliance, business development, and mergers & acquisitions. In addition to working as a Community Manager for Elpha, she has been a Software Engineer on a growth team. She wants to help provide opportunities for women of color in particular.
whitneycaneel's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing, Jessica! More proof that kick-ass, hard working mom's raise strong and powerful daughters! Really enjoyed reading through this and getting to learn a bit more about my fellow CM!
jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
Can't wait to read yours!
quinneyeQ's profile thumbnail
You’re amazing! Thanks for sharing 🌹Also: My gut told me to get on Elpha. I love my gut.
IClaudiaD's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing. Your Mum sounds amazing and you def caught a lot from her- you are rocking it! Agreed on trusting your gut...everytime.
jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
Thank you!!! I really appreciate that. She is totally amazing!
Angelas's profile thumbnail
Jessica, thanks so much for sharing. Your life really resonates with me and it is refreshing to know that others have been (or currently are) in a similar situation as I'm in (or have been). It's like a form of therapy. I'm grateful to have a wonderful mentor and she told me something that really clicked about my low confidence which I'll share with you: she said, "Angela you're looking at it from a negative view. You don't have confidence issues, you just need to practice what high confidence is." She had me look up things people do who have high confidence and I practiced those actions. Example: stop apologizing so much! That difference in mindset really helped me a lot. Hope the same for you. Thanks again!
jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
I think that is a lovely way to approach it! Thank you for the kind words and encouragement!
jaxselby's profile thumbnail
Hi Jessica - thanks for sharing, what an interesting story. I can definitely relate to the stress of relocating out here with spouse and pets. My question is a little off-topic but I'm asking because you're a community manager. I looked at the jobs section and I see that Y C partners can post positions. How does one become a partner for this? I have a few strong connections up the Y C foodchain but maybe it's simple enough that I don't need to bug them?
jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
I'm unsure about this as I am not a part of YC... maybe @cadran would know?