Q&A: Jessie Smith, General Manager, Northern California
At Opendoor, we power the progress of life, one step at a time. Whether consumers are looking to upsize or downsize, seek a better school, a place to pursue a passion, or expand their family, Opendoor gives them the confidence and control to take life-changing action. With Opendoor it’s simple – buy and sell at the push of a button.
We recently announced one of our biggest market launches yet, and we’re excited to serve even more customers right where our company was founded: the San Francisco Bay Area. Opendoor also welcomes Jessie Smith as General Manager of Northern California.
Prior to beginning her role as Managing Director, Jessie led the expansion of a new market for Opendoor, helping to double its footprint. She knows what it takes to operate in any city across America – including a market as dynamic as the Bay Area. We asked Jessie to share more about what she loves about Opendoor living in the Bay Area, including her favorite local spots.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to join the Opendoor team?
I am Australian and moved to the United States five years ago to complete an MBA at Harvard Business School. After graduating, I was drawn to Northern California for the abundance of job opportunities and natural beauty. I like spending time outdoors.
I was drawn to Opendoor because of the tangible impact we have on our customers during one of the most important times in their lives. People often move to change their lives, and it can be a daunting and stressful process. I loved how Opendoor was able to make this experience smoother and easier, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
What excites you most about your role as General Manager in Northern California?
It’s an amazing time to be part of the Opendoor team, which makes it hard to define one thing in particular. From the growing demand for Opendoor in Sacramento, to bringing our services to Reno, of course, to the recent launch in our backyard – it has been rewarding to grow and invest in our team. We are also building strong local relationships in the community and deepening our business partnerships with general contractors and other suppliers.
What makes you proud to call the Bay Area home?
The Bay Area offers diversity, natural beauty (with views I will never take for granted), and history with beautiful old homes and unique neighborhoods.
What does home mean to you?
Relationships – as an expat, building a strong community is what makes the city feel like home. Having lived in a handful of different places (I actually didn’t have a fixed address for about three years due to a work trip), I’ve also found that personalizing my space – decorating and choosing intentionally things for my space over time – is closely related to feeling at home.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love the outdoors and making the most of the natural beauty on our doorstep. Whether it’s road biking over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin, hiking and camping in the summer, or skiing in Tahoe in the winter. We are so lucky to have such beautiful places around us. I also really enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes when I have friends over and explore the fantastic bars and restaurants the city has to offer.
What personal and/or professional achievement are you most proud of?
Professionally, I’m proud to have doubled Opendoor’s footprint in seven months from a standing start, as it’s been a while since we launched a deal. Personally, I have maintained deep and authentic relationships despite time and space. My best friend from kindergarten is still one of my closest friends today!
Share three things about yourself that would surprise people?
In a world where so much of our interaction is via video, people are often surprised to learn that I’m tall (5’11) when I meet them in person!
I’m a vegetarian and love to cook, especially when hosting friends over for long lunches and dinners.
I like to take analog photos, usually portraits of my friends or landscape photos when traveling.
Is there anything else about you or your role that you would like to add?
One of my other favorite things about the Bay Area is its amazing live music venues. From the Greek Theater in Berkeley to the Fox Theater in Oakland, to the Great American Music Hall, Stern Grove and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, there are some truly unique places to see your favorite artists perform.
Now for the rapid fire q’s:
- What is your favorite neighborhood in SF? It’s so hard to choose just one, but I love Pacific Heights. It is full of beautiful unique period homes, plus you have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, easy access to parks and the Presidio.
- What is your favorite local bar or restaurant? I’m a big fan of fresh pasta, and there are great places for it in San Francisco. One of my favorites is Seven Hills, although Itria, Penny Roma and Flour and Water are also fantastic.
- Where is the best coffee? Cafe Saint Frank. It’s a San Francisco institution.
- Salty or sweet? Savory – cheese on chocolate every day of the week. And a big catch for Cheese Plus, a fantastic local cheese shop and sandwich shop in Nob Hill.
- Favorite movie genre? I love following film festival winners and award season nominees, and I’m an equal opportunist when it comes to genres. One of my majors at university was European studies, so there’s a soft spot in my heart for the various stories you see in foreign films.
- What’s the most recent book, podcast, or show you abused? I am an avid podcaster and listen daily to the BBC Global News podcast, which I love for its international perspective.
- What is your favorite anthem/song? Innerbloom by Rüfüs Du Sol and Alaska by Maggie Rogers always put me in a good mood!
If you’re excited about the opportunity to change the status quo in the trillion-dollar real estate industry, check out our open positions.