120: Meet Jessica Johnston-Myers

Jessica's love for Little Rock is so strong, you can hear it beating in her heart.

Join Jessica on Tuesdays at The Venture Center for Lift the Rock. 

Join Jessica on Tuesdays at The Venture Center for Lift the Rock

1. Name, occupation, years in greater LR, neighborhood: Jessica Johnston-Myers, Director of Programs & Operations at The Venture Center; I grew up in LR, moved away, and finally wandered back in December 2005. We live in Sturbridge, a sleepy neighborhood full of 60s era homes and gigantic trees.

Fun Fact! I have an artificial aortic valve that clicks with each heartbeat, therefore, puppies love me, and I occasionally weird out the folks at TSA who keep asking where I'm hiding the loud watch.

2. What do you love about your job? All the things. Truly. Working with entrepreneurs and brilliant tech people enables me to learn something new, every single day! Gag, I know. I fully acknowledge that I sound like that annoying friend that just fell in love with someone new and CANNOT shut up about them. But, you guys!

This week alone, I worked with an amazing group of volunteers who are using their epic cyber security knowledge to write challenges for our upcoming JOLT Hackathon (This is white hat, ethical style stuff, NOT the dark web, black hat business that you hear about on Fox News), hosted #LiftTheRock where entrepreneurs collide with the existing business community and all the smart people who come to network, and had the pleasure of meeting a crew of new mentors as they completed our training program. And that was just Tuesday!

This city has such a wealth of talent and ambition, and I can think of no better place to build a business. People are always surprised that The VC exists right here in Little Rock, and it is a joy to be an evangelist for the mission. Did I mention that I am in love with my job? #SorryNotSorry

3. If you ate a different meal at a different local restaurant for a day, what would they be? I prefer to drink my breakfast, and you just can't beat the chai at River City Coffee.

If it is Sunday brunch day, I'll be at Big Orange in The Promenade savoring the best bloody mary in town. Lunch is a toss up between the epic salmon salad at CiCi's Chicken & Waffles and the Tofu Banh Mi at The Root.

At dinner, I love Riverfront Steak House for a slab of cow and Kemuri for my sushi fix.

Dessert-wise, you'll have the key to my heart if you bring me a piece or three of my Aunt Annette's Peanut Butter Pie from Three Sams BBQ, cheesecake from The Pantry, or anything from Shake's custard. Bonus: White sangria at Del Frisco's is a delight, especially when savored on the patio. And it comes with a popsicle! 

4. It's your day off -- what are you up to? Trying not to work. Hanging out with the world's best kiddo. Baking. So much baking. Would this be a bad place to suggest an community cookie exchange next Christmas? Cookies are my spirit animal.

5. What are some of your favorite outdoor activities (or family-favorite if you'd prefer to answer that one) in and around central Arkansas? Geo Caching with the lad is an excellent way to spend a day. We've explored tons of surprising places that we wouldn't have found otherwise. 

Did you know that there was a secret trail behind the big box stores on Chenal? It is fantastically green and peaceful, and there are several stunning wooden bridges nestled in above a creek. You can access the trail head behind the Bowman Curve shopping center, and after the walk you can wander across the street to Honey Pies, because, pie.

Also, model rockets are serious fun. After launching a bunch with the boy, I was sad that nobody had ever exposed me to the hobby until now! If you have a daughter, please skip the pony and buy the lass a model rocket, find a field, and expand your horizons. You're welcome. 

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