30/Below: Let’s Start. What’s your name and what do you do professionally?
Jenn De La Vega: I am a Community Manager at Flipboard and on the side I am caterer and a private chef.
30/Below: What motivates you to do so many things?
Jenn: It goes back to my mother’s strong work ethic. She is a nurse that doesn’t just work full time but also within multiple hospitals, and I always thought that be a normal thing. Also in high school, I was always pushed in the direction of being well-rounded, being good within multiple things. I kept trying new things and along the way I just happened to love multiple things and I just went for it.
30/Below: Where do you see social media going?
Jenn: It’s going to get to a point where we don’t call it social media anymore. It’s so natural for the next generation, since they have cellphones at such a young age, that social won’t be another way we are communicating but will BE the way of communicating.
30/Below: Let’s talk about your other passion, cooking.
Jenn: My journey is really interesting. I went from: doing TV analysis to music PR, went to culinary school, quit culinary school, went to Barcelona and then to the Philippines to learn about the food I refused to eat as I child.
After traveling, I read Anthony Bourdain’s 'Kitchen Confidential' and thought about being a line cook. Being a line cook is a traditional route for many to break into the industry, but I realized that is not what I wanted.
When you don’t know how to learn something within a certain environment, you just need to do it. So I worked in a tiny 10 seat wine bar and did catering on the side. One day, after no longer working at the wine bar I was cooking in my kitchen and a friend hit me up offering my a job. So I was recruited out of my kitchen, which is something you don’t hear in the tech world at all.
30/Below: What is your take on taking traditional and non-traditional paths?
Jenn: As much as I tried to shove myself into a path, I saw 5 others and I wanted to have a million legs to take them all. There is nothing wrong being dedicated and passionate about one thing as you become a specialist in that area, and I will never discount that, but it didn’t work for me at all. I get bored quickly and I am so lucky to be at Flipboard that caters to my multitude-ness perspective.
30/Below: We talk about what motivates you but what inspires you?
Jenn: New ideas. And a lot of times it’s just an amazing food photo.
30/Below: How do you define creativity?
Jenn: AHHHH!! Creativity… gosh... I feel like it is a spark. It’s very indescribable. For me it’s a feeling that just comes out, it is something that is not planned.
30/Below: You have done many things, what’s on your professional bucketlist?
Jenn: There are a lot of things that I love in this world. I enjoy being on the advisory board of The Tank (a non-profit theater in Time Square) giving professional advice for their artists and staff as it makes me feel helpful. So I would love to be on a board that supports creativity, food and the arts.
In terms of food, I would really love to find a way to combine food and technology. My dream is to have a media kitchen that has cameras and blenders; slow motion video of boiling soups. In the end I feel that I will be working for myself opening my own studio, colliding all of my passions.
30/Below: You mentioned you are on an advisory board, what is the best advice you have given and what has been the best advice you have received.
Jenn: The best advice I have given is, practice how you present and talk about yourself online. This is a huge deal because what does an employer do when they first meet you, they Google you.
As far as advice that I have been given, my entire high school IB faculty, I felt more challenged there than I was in college. Be well-rounded and to remember that it is all about the journey and not the outcome.
30/Below: Do you have a mantra?
Jenn: It sounds negative but, “no one else.”
I’m not doing it for anyone else. I am doing it for me. All the things that I am doing, the decisions that I make, it’s because I want it.
30/Below: Three words that best describe you.
Jenn: Quirky. Doer. Inquisitive.