In this recurring feature, Cabrillo introduces each of our board members. We are grateful for their support, commitment to community, leadership, and experience in their fields.
Jessica Cook has a long connection to Cabrillo Village, the labor camp community that formed the first housing cooperative in Ventura County. Resisting the razing of their homes, these courageous families raised money to purchase the land and became the legal owners in 1976. Incorporated in 1981 as the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, we now manage 1,122 rental homes in 23 properties and collaborates with community partners to provide a variety of resources, social opportunities, and educational programs for residents.
“I had family and friends who lived there for years and still have friends who reside there. Many of my memories of Cabrillo Village are of the family-oriented atmosphere. There was always a soccer game in the park, a fiesta in the recreation room and the Carniceria was the best place to get meat for the family barbecue. My appreciation for Cabrillo comes from changing the life of one of my friends when her family was given the opportunity of affordable housing. I knew this organization was the best fit for me because they have helped people in my life be successful.”
With 20 years in the banking industry, Jessica is the Assistant Vice President and Branch Operations Manager of Community Banking for Pacific Western Bank in Camarillo, one of the youngest in this role in the region. She oversees sales and operations at the branch level, as well as serves as a regional trainer. She also serves her community through participation on various boards and nonprofit organizations.
What is the best part of being a board member?
The opportunity to make a difference in our communities.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the reason is not that he is handsome, although it is nice. He lives his life being humble and gives back to the world as much as he gets from it.
Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.
What makes our mission meaningful?
Everyone deserves a safe place to live. It should not come with an unattainable price tag. Cabrillo’s mission to better the quality of life for those who lack opportunity is an impressive task. My grandparents and father were field workers trying to better the lives of their children. I have seen the struggle to decide if food or rent was more important this week. Families like mine are not a rarity, and Cabrillo is the reason these families succeed. I am living a life of gratitude for all the opportunities I have been given through the struggles of my parents. If I can be a part of helping even one family not have to decide between rent and food, I have been successful. To be a part, either big or small, of changing someone’s life for the better is an everyday aspiration, and Cabrillo does it every day.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I am a bit of an adrenaline enthusiast. I have gone skydiving and bungee jumping. As a kid, it would get me in trouble. I have broken both arms, cracked my head open and found out I was allergic to bees – but not all at the same time!