Interview #93: Vanessa Jameson
Meet Vanesssa Jameson.
Vanessa left her job at Google to start a busines that brings mothers together.
Her mission? To create something awesome (along with four other new moms).
Covey is an app that will bring new mothers together and will eliminate the need to plan in advance.
(Because really ... who has time for that?)
I'm so glad I got a chance to sit down and chat with Vanessa. She's soft-spoken, relaxed, and confident. She's very warm and easy to talk to.
Fun fact: I found out we're both Airbnb hosts! It was fun to learn about her experience and compare notes.
I hope you enjoy Vanessa's Q&A, and if you're a new mom looking to connect on the fly, be sure to keep up with all things Covey and Vanessa on the Covey blog!
Name: Vanessa Jameson
Job title: Co-founder, CEO at Covey
Blog: Covey Blog
Neighborhood you live in: East Liberty
Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: Dark roast drip coffee with a splash of milk (preferably from Tazza D’Oro!)
Current Shampoo Preference: Nexxus
Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?
Pittsburgh is the perfect cocktail of (1) ambitious, hard-working, fun-loving and friendly people (2) big city perks with a small-town vibe (3) a great community for raising a family (4) a vibrant tech culture
Who do you spend your time with?
I spend most of my time with my husband, Kevin, my 20 month-old daughter, Shay, and our dog Trout. I love to get together with Kevin’s family, who live in Monroeville, Wexford and all around the city. I spend a lot of time with our neighbors in East Liberty, who I constantly brag about and cite as one of the best parts of living there. I also love to spend time with my friends, many of whom have become like family to me since I moved to Pittsburgh for the first time to attend CMU 13 years ago.
What are your favorite aspects of your job?
I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of career satisfaction so far. Two months ago I was working happily as a Software Engineer at Google. At Google there is a culture of fixing problems when you find them, so when Shay was born and I discovered how inadequately technology was serving new mothers, I took it personally and knew I needed to put myself out there to make a difference. At Covey we are helping local moms to meet each other and build vital but often overlooked in person friendships.
The Covey team (Jess Ghilani, Paige Beauchemin, Sarah Aerni and Julie Pezzino), is another favorite aspect of my job. We came together as new moms through a series of coincidences and provided support for one another that was invaluable during that time period. Now we continue our relationships as friends and business partners, because we want to ensure that other moms don’t need to depend on coincidence to find relationships like ours. Among us we have backgrounds in engineering, academia, nonprofit and nursing, and each person brings a completely different perspective to the table. We’re designing solutions together through lively debate and discussion that is firmly grounded in mutual respect. Working with women who are able to simultaneously challenge each other and lift each other up has been an incredible privilege.
Do you have a soul food?
Homemade mac & cheese, greens, and any kind of fruit crumble—just like mom used to make!
What are some of your recent personal goals?
I ran the marathon this year. It was my fourth marathon, but first one post-baby so it was an important goal for me. Another goal that’s a work in-progress: start a successful business.
What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?
If we’re out with Shay, our favorite spot is Max Mex because it’s super kid friendly. For date nights we love Spoon and Legume/Butterjoint. Favorite take-out is a tie between Smiling Banana Leaf and People’s. Favorite pizza is Spak Bros all the way. And for breakfast: Square Cafe.
Describe your ideal day.
I’d wake up in the morning and head straight out for a long run, preferably hitting up some trail time somewhere like Frick Park or along one of the rivers. After the run I’d head with Kevin and Shay over to Square Cafe for breakfast, then to the Children’s Museum to explore. A perfect evening would include biking over to watch outdoor music at Weather Permitting and eating Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches.
What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?
Milk Carton Kids at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre this summer.
What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years? What do you love most about the city?
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is the pride that Pittsburghers have in their city and the appetite the city has shown time and time again for making a difference.
One example: the startup community! One company at a time, Pittsburgh is demonstrating that great startups don’t have to come out of just Silicon Valley and NYC. Covey is participating in a startup accelerator called AlphaLab which has helped set us up on the right track. AlphaLab and other local entities are moving and shaking to grow the Pittsburgh startup community and make it competitive on a national scale. In ten years people will be looking to Pittsburgh as one of the elite cities capable of producing the Next Big Thing.