Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Local Career Story #2: Jenna Cook
From Tortes to Torts
Cake Caterer to Paralegal
Jenna Cook has always been a problem solver. Growing up in Southern California, loving the surf and sand, she was captured by the importance of the environmental movement. She wanted to study to be an environmental engineer. But after starting university studies and working part time in a restaurant, she realized that her passion was more for the hands-on chemistry creations of food than for classroom scientific inquiry.
She changed paths and moved from university education to culinary school in San Francisco. She loved it, and was lured to Sonoma County to work for a catering company. Once in the Santa Rosa area, she realized that she just loved the people, the place and the whole vibe of Sonoma County. She had reached her true home. She also loved the community spirit and has been an active volunteer for the ACTIVE 20-30 since the mid-2000s.
And although her catering and restaurant work was gratifying, she longed to have her own business.
The time came when she was making desserts at a local restaurant and several of the regulars kept coming back for her personal creations. That was the beginning of Da Bombe Cake Co, a cake catering company that she successfully ran for over 10 years!
So what prompted the move from tortes to torts?
While running her cake business she needed to get some legal advice. While working closely with a paralegal
she was enthralled with the kind of thinking and problem solving that went on in the law.
Never one to shy away from change, Jenna researched the path to becoming a paralegal and found an excellent program right here at the Santa Rosa Junior College. In fact, it was her instructor, Joni Boucher, who wrote to me, encouraging me to write an article about one of her star students, Jenna Cook!
While completing her para legal studies Jenna applied for a job at the local law firm of Anderson Zeigler.
They were impressed with her from the start, and one of the partners, Wendy Whitson (who I happen to be on the Board of the Sonoma County Volunteer Center with) had this to say about Jenna:
“She is a wonderful addition to our office. Her previous experience running her own company, though in a completely different field, makes her a superior employee now. Her ability to organize, multi-task and take responsibility for projects is stellar. It’s an added upside that she makes killer treats for everyone in the
office and brings the best dishes to our potlucks.”
Although Jenna Cook is now firmly in the legal world, her past talents are still proving valuable. And we see this theme repeatedly in people who make transitions in their careers. There are usually excellent transferable skills for all professional work.
Yes, Jenna Cook is a prime example of a successful Sonoma County career story. We in Sonoma County are fortunate to attract people with passion, talent, intelligence, hard work and a love of place that makes them committed to both their personal success and community success.
Onward to your continued success Jenna!
And readers, please send your local career story suggestions to me: email@example.com.