This is part of our ‘meet the team’ blog series where we get to know the faces behind CircleCI. In this post Jenneviere sits down to tell us a bit about herself, how she joined CircleCI, and what fuels her passion.

Jenneviere Villegas

Tell us a little about yourself The first thing that comes to mind is: I was CircleCI’s first employee - I’ll have been here for four years in October. When I’m not working, I can be found acting, singing, and dancing on stage, television, and film (a special feather in my cap is having been in a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola). I also work for the man who burns at That Thing in the Desert. I like hoppy, chewy beers, design costumes in my spare time, and Stabby the Unicorn is my spirit animal. I have a penchant for all things skull and skeleton related.

Where are you from? I grew up in rural Minnesota, in a town so small we didn’t have even a single stoplight and when we dug post holes for a new deck we unearthed historic farming supplies. Prior to moving to San Francisco I lived in Seattle, which was lovely, and not nearly as rainy as the rumors say. I sincerely miss the midwest thunderstorms.

What was your first job? It feels a little embarrassing, but my first job, which they fudged my age on because they really wanted to hire me even though I technically wasn’t quite 16 at the time, was at Victoria’s Secret. It was in a mall, which made for really amazing people-watching, which I’ve always loved. And - and I say this without irony - it taught me a lot. It’s a well-oiled, successful machine, and it, and their methods, influenced me in fundamental ways.

Now that I think about it, I guess technically babysitting was my first job, but since I was the eldest of 4 kids, even when I wasn’t babysitting for my siblings it never felt like a real job, even though I got paid.

How did you get here? Serendipity? I was running operations and managing a small storefront for a company in the men’s garment industry for nearly 8 years prior to finding CircleCI. The work had sunsetted, and I found myself looking for a new place to call home.

I’ve a degree in theatre and dance, which isn’t traditional in, well, any of the areas I’ve worked formally except for waiting tables. I’ve always kept a Job with a capital J to help support my theatre habit. I’ve never really wanted to rely solely on that as a career.

I happened to stumble on a Craigslist ad looking for someone with a bunch of my random skills, and I thought, “hey, I could do that”. The rest, as they say, is history.

Where do you work, and what are you working on at CircleCI? I work at CircleCI Headquarters in San Francisco. I work on the Marketing team, and my specific area of focus is social media, our blog, and content marketing. Internally, I also manage our Voice and Tone Style Guide and I’m particularly passionate about our culture.

What’s your favourite thing about working on the CircleCI team? I’m exceedingly proud of the work culture that we’ve built, and continue to build, here at CircleCI. In a market that has a (sometimes well-deserved) bad reputation for lack of diversity, non-inclusion, and general awfulness, we stand out as a place that celebrates diversity, embraces inclusion, and sets its foundation on trust, kindness, and gentle touches. Even during times of stress, when everything is on fire and going pear-shaped, everyone is kind and respectful to one another. I think we’re doing a great job of leading by example, and it’s one of my favourite things to get to share with people about why I love my job.

What do you do in your spare time that you’re excited about? I was going to say “singing”, but I realized that while it’s something I do all the time, I wouldn’t really say I’m excited about it. It’s just a part of who I am.

I think right now I’m most excited by the staff bar that my husband and I manage out at Burning Man. We’re there for 3 weeks and of that, The Black Hole Bar is open 24 hours a day for 17 full days. We manage everything, from the donations of beer and alcohol, to the staffing and training of the bartenders. It’s challenging, but so rewarding. It’s our way of supporting and giving back to the other staff members out there, making the city run and doing all the dirty work so the participants can stay safe and have a great time. With over 20 combined years of working out there between the two of us, we’ve been on the front lines of some of the enormous dedication that goes into making the event. It’s a thrill to pull off something so successful on such a large scale.

What inspires you? I’m really inspired by inclusive language and how it shapes our world. Whether it’s gently nudging people away from using “you guys” when they mean “you people”, or teaching my daughter about the singular pronouns they, them, and theirs, or discussing gender and diversity issues, I’m excited to be living in a world where those things are being discussed, and changes are being made. It’s wonderful to feel like I’m having even a small part in effecting those changes. I hope I am.

What’s something that we wouldn’t know about you unless you told us? Well, for a little over a year I held the record for the biggest Northern Pike caught in Butterfield Lake in Minnesota. I was 11.

Interested in joining the talented CircleCI team? We’re hiring!