Spotlight on…Jessica Zeiser

Date: May 20, 2015

Who do you look up to who has influenced you to give back to our community?
I have enjoyed working and giving back to our community since I was a little girl. One of the most life-changing experiences I had when I was young was working in a facility built for people with mental and physical disabilities. My mother was highly dedicated to supporting the community primarily through her support of a nonprofit organization, NHIF (National Head Injury Foundation). She introduced me to the importance of giving back and helping others in need. She used to say that we all have different skills and something that we can give back, you just have to find your gift to give and run with it.

Tell us about your 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline listening session. What kind of impact did it have on you?
I sincerely appreciated the time that we spent listening to the 2-1-1 calls. It is amazing to see the number of resources that are available to people in need. It was very humbling to hear the difficult stories that people experience every day, and very moving to hear the relief that comes when the 2-1-1 team is able to provide solutions. The most impactful part about the experience was gaining a much better understanding of the team’s capabilities. I keep the 2-1-1 info cards I was provided with in my wallet at all times and hand them out to people that I meet on the street asking for help. I know that the dollar that I give is only a short-term solution, but I strongly believe that making them aware of the 2-1-1 helpline can provide a much better/more long-term resolution to their needs.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An orthodontist! I thought that my orthodontist was the most amazing person in the world. I just thought it was fascinating how much of an impact improving your smile can have on your self-esteem! But as it turns out that I’m not the best at chemistry and biology so I turned to my stronger skill set and followed a career in sales.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Stop talking, listen and ask questions.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
I flew to Barcelona just for a weekend! Best. Decision. Ever.

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