Go Mighty’s 31 Days of Inspiring Women, #9: Jessica Zollman
Meet Jessica. She’s a social media professional & photographer from San Francisco. She’s currently a part of the Community team at Instagram, and has formerly held positions at Formspring and Linden Lab. When she’s not stopping every other step she takes to capture photographs of SF with her iPhone, she’s daydreaming about Iceland.
Learn more about Jessica’s story and Life List below.
So, Jessica, what’s your story?
I’m a proud California girl who grew up in the Bay Area. I’m also mobile & film photographer, and a member of Instagram’s Community Team. I’ve been working in the start-up community for the past 2.5 years and have often found myself struggling to find a balance between the long hours, my relationship and quality alone time. That’s where Go Mighty comes in!
You’ve really done some incredible things for photographic communities around the world through your work at Instagram. What led you to where you are today?
When I first moved to San Francisco in 2008 I was pursuing a career in Music Business. Having grown up in the Bay Area I always knew that SF was a hub for technology, and that the music industry was struggling, so marrying those two passions would be vital for my career. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what “technology” or “social media” meant in relation to any sort of career at that time. I just knew I loved spending time on Facebook, once I signed up for Twitter I was addicted, and I saw the potential for leveraging social services for brands right away. I ended up meeting several incredibly motivating people in the SF tech scene, landed an internship at SPIN Magazine assisting with their online presence, and soon realized I had discovered my passion.
I was forced to climb the “startup ladder,” since proving the value of a Community Manager or Community Evangelist to startups trying to spend their money wisely was no easy task. I worked in support for companies like Linden Lab and Formspring all while investing in promoting my personal brand through social media. It eventually paid off and lead Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, and Josh Riedel, Instagram’s Community Manager, to notice my drive and passion for interacting with and promoting online communities and asked me to join their team as the fifth member.
It’s definitely a passion of mine to help legitimize mobile photography as an art form and as a career path and has been such an honor to help achieve that goal every day through the Instagram blog at blog.instagram.com. Thanks to my role at Instagram—and my renewed passion for photography—I have dreams of becoming a full-time professional mobile photographer one day.
Tell us more about your Life List goals; What’s the inspiration?
Most of my goals are about self-improvement. Working for multiple years in different start-up environments often leaves little time to focus on personal goals unless you really go out of your way to make the effort. Through GoMighty I hope to find motivation and inspiration to take the time to give a little back to myself.
Any advice for others on how to stay motivated/focused on achieving their goals?
It can be difficult to be selfish—to stop and take the time to do something because it makes you and only you happy—but being selfish for the right reasons pays off ten-fold. Whenever I get one step closer to achieving one of my goals, or I cross a goal off of my list, I feel balanced, confident and on top of things. My quality of life and the way I interact with those around me greatly improves and I think this is something a lot of people forget. It’s hard to avoid a huge payoff whenever you’re taking time to invest in yourself.
Follow Jessica’s journey through completing her Life List here.
Want to make a Life List of your own? Easy—join the Go Mighty community here.
(Photo by Michael O’Neal)