Jennifer is one of the most inquisitive people I know. Though she works on the Finance Team as the Finance Associate, I’m lucky enough to sit across from her every day. Despite the fact that our job descriptions vary so much, since the first day I met her I got the sense that she wanted to get to know me. She constantly expresses interest in my life both in and out of the office and makes it easy to share a conversation.
When sitting down in the kitchen for lunch, she always looks to see what others are eating in hopes of discussing what each type of food says about a certain culture or region in the world. We were all surprised to discover that she was once an avid Yelp reviewer, so she can dish out the best and worst Bay Area restaurants at any moment.
The reason she’s so curious about other people and other cultures probably stems from the fact that her own story is so interesting.
She credits her family and faith as the tools that shaped her as she spends her weekends at church and with family and friends. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam and always encouraged her to get an education. It was her family’s difficult financial transition that convinced her of the importance of understanding economic policy, and what brought her to study the topic in college and enter the field upon graduation.
Having gone to high school and having spent a lot of time in the Mission, Jennifer came to know the area well. She saw a neighborhood full of life, but sadly found that the “community is neglected in terms of social services.”
“People try really hard to achieve the American dream, but there are so many barriers to success,” she explained.
Having received the benefits of non-profit services growing up, Jennifer had always wanted to work in the non-profit world. With the position at MAF, she saw the opportunity to support a community she knew well while also applying her financial set.
“I was interested in working for a nonprofit because I wanted to be able to use my accounting skills while contributing to a greater purpose”
A typical work day doesn’t just involve Jennifer asking questions about her fellow staff members and sharing her life story, she spends them asking questions about her work. As I type this, she’s asking about a potential oversight with a client’s account. She works with John, our Finance Manager, to ensure the smooth operations of both MAF’s finances and its members.
She sees each day that “every client is unique and each has her own financial situation.” Though she loves working on Excel spreadsheets, her favorite part about her job is asking the right questions in order to meet every members’ needs.