Meet Jen: Our New Co-Founder & COO
by Ari Takata-Vasquez
For those of you who have been with Viscera for a while, Jen might look a little familiar! We're excited to re-introduce Jen Burkett, as our new Co-Founder and COO. Earlier this year we shared our vision for the future of Viscera-- bringing Jen on-board is a huge step toward making our vision a reality. Jen has a wealth of knowledge, she is an absolute pleasure to work with, and most importantly is values-aligned with our mission. Read more about our Q&A with Jen and get to know her better.
Ari: How do you spend your time?
Jen: I generally wake up early with some kitty snuggles then immediately start thinking about caffeine. I love to cook, so most days involve some sort of food endeavor. It might be clique, but lately I’m super into my Instant Pot. (here’s one of my favorite one-pot vegetarian meals) I try to get outside every day and I’m lucky enough to live just a couple blocks from Lake Merritt in Oakland. I get to walk by the lake on my way to Viscera and when I’m lucky, I get to see the lady pelican named Hank. Most days, I also do some work! I’ve been working as a consultant for the last three years so every day is unique and I love the variety, routine really bores me. I have loved working with organizations who are looking to grow and change and Viscera is a great new challenge for me! I’m also a sort of secret artist so I try to do something creative every day, whether it is writing, painting, or my most recent obsession, block printing.
Ari: Yes, I love the new block prints! I can't wait to see what you do with them. So now let's get down to it! Tell everyone what your role is here at viscera?
Jen: I’m a new co-founder and COO. I really like making things work and plotting out what to do next. Viscera has been a great new challenge to me as we look at things like growing our ecommerce channel, considering funding for scale, and needing to adapt quickly based on our customer feedback and other factors.
Ari: How did you get involved with viscera?
Jen: I was initially a customer of Viscera when I worked in the office next door. Then, I left my 9-5 to focus on a small accessory company I founded and met Ari when I did a pop-up at Viscera! Ari and I have kept in touch over the last few years and our skill sets match up nicely as co-founders. I most admire Ari’s ability to connect with her customers and the community in Oakland.
Ari: P.s. You can read the feature we did on Jen back in 2016 when we talked about Esperanza's Workshop.
Ari: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jen: I wanted to be a lot of things. I remember wanting to be a chef or a traveler. Not much has changed!
Ari: Who's your Favorite artist or designer
Jen: There are so many to pick from but I’m really drawn to Marina Abramovic’s work. She is a Serbian performance artist and I’m intrigued by the emotional and energetic power she can channel in her pieces. Her work really appeals to the spiritual side of me and inspires me to think about the emotional power of art.
Ari: Where are you from/where have you lived?
Jen: I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and as an adult, I have lived in Pittsburgh, PA; London, UK; and 11 different apartments in the bay area. My current home is my favorite.
Ari: What inspires you?
Jen: This answer might be a bit ethereal but right now, my inspiration is slowing down. I live in a vibrant and complex place in a fascinating point in time. So, I’m trying to take more baths, look less at my phone, take a little more time getting places, and just be still and I’m finding it helps me discover all those little daily doses of beauty and inspiration that are always all around me.
Want to know more about Jen? Drop her a line at Jen@VisceraStudio.com!