Jessica Irish is the communications and brand manager for the Center for Human Services. She also has her own business, Jessica Chang Consulting, helping professionals build confidence in their communication and public speaking skills. Since moving to Turlock, she has also become involved the Turlock Young Professionals and is on the Turlock Certified Farmers Market Board of Directors.
A Southern California native, Irish has lived in Turlock for almost six years. She grew up with her parents and younger sister in what she considers a ‘truly Chinese-American household.’ She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in broadcast journalism, and launched her TV news reporting career in Midland, Texas. From there, Irish moved up to the larger markets of Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego. While living in San Diego, she met her husband Trevor Irish, an optometrist at Monte Vista Optometry, and moved to Turlock.
Q. How did you first become interested in marketing?
A. If you told me 10 years ago that I'd be in marketing, I wouldn't have believed you. I was a reporter and producer in San Diego with my own interview show. But as I "grew up" from my late 20s to early 30s, I realized I may not be happy living the transient and stressful life of a TV news reporter. When I did leave the news business, I became an outreach representative for Academy of Art University in San Francisco, which was all about marketing the university to prospective students. I loved sharing success stories about our alumni who became film directors and fashion designers and crafting messages to entice and inspire the prospects. That was the transition to my career in marketing — a fitting one that allows me to use my experience in journalism to inform the public and promote the various universities and organizations for which I work.
Q. Can you tell us about the Turlock Young Professionals, and your role within the group?
A. Turlock Young Professionals provides people who live and/or work in Turlock with a friendly and social setting to build relationships and develop their careers. With the support from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, we help cultivate Turlock's future professionals by providing opportunities to engage with civic and business leaders that make Turlock what it is today. TYP is composed of young business professionals and also encourages college students transitioning to the work force.
I'm the TYP Vice President and have been a member since the organization started about four years ago. Since becoming VP, I've really enjoyed working with our board of directors to fulfill our mission, while giving our members a fun and comfortable way to meet new people and make connections. Thanks to TYP, I've met good friends and established my public speaking consulting business.
Q. What is your favorite part about being on the Turlock Certified Farmers Market board?
A. My favorite part is learning about and interacting with the creative and tenacious entrepreneurs who are our vendors. Turlock Certified Farmers Market is such a great outlet for business owners with a craft, food or drink item to share their talents, build their businesses, and provide high-quality products to our community. I'm inspired by these entrepreneurs and they make me proud to be a Turlockian.
Q. What do you find most gratifying about working as part of the Center for Human Services?
A. What I find most gratifying is the opportunity to get to know and tell the stories of the clients our nonprofit organization serves. Whether it's a mother who overcame drug addiction and is getting her children back thanks to the help of our counselors or a 20-year-old who has an apartment and a job thanks to Pathways, our transitional living program, I'm grateful for the chance to get to hear and share their stories of resilience and for my coworkers who provide these valuable services to community members who need them.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do in Turlock for fun?
A. My favorite thing to do in Turlock for fun is visiting the Turlock Certified Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Aside from shopping and chatting with the vendors, I always bump into friends there so it's a great gathering spot to catch up with people.
Q. What is the last book or TV show that captivated you?
A. The last books that have captivated me are “The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” series. I love suspense novels and I couldn't put them down! And as usual, the books were much better than the movies!
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A. I'm not sure how surprised they'd be but I don't think many Turlockians know that I traveled throughout Southeast Asia for three months on my own six years ago, right before I moved to Turlock. I volunteered at a rural school in Thailand teaching English and at an orphanage in Vietnam caring for disabled children. Thinking back, I'm still a little surprised with myself that I made the trip and came back without losing anything!