We'll spare you the details of our hectic commute to the famous Golden Gate city, (a train to San Mateo, lunch in the cute downtown, and a trip from there up to SF) but the journey made the trip all that more exciting. However, nothing could beat the excitement of the reason we were actually journeying in the first place-- The interview!
The Kiva headquarter is in a sleek glass building on a busy San Francisco street, and the office is, as we both agreed, the literal definition of San Francisco. Loads of green plants (Actually, mostly everything was green) and earthy tones/decorations catch your eye as you walk in. A screen projects Kiva's site and informs you of exactly when the last loan was made. The office is unique in that is is all open and set up with a few makeshift walls in between. There is a map of the world with pins marked for each place an employee had been, as well as currency from that country. Dogs and babies are known to be hanging around, everyone was in super casual clothing, a masseuse was in a private room, and they had a library AND a hammock room. We walked by the CEO, who looked like any other employee, while he was in a meeting. Fun fact: His desk has has no chair- He just stands and works in the middle of the office space, with everyone else. As well, one of the founders of Kiva, Premel, had a similar set up.
At Kiva, everyone was in a happy mood. As Jessica said, people are sad when they have to leave work. Even the unpaid intern we spoke to explained how she always gets excited to come into the office! The place was hustling and bustling with activity and discussion. You could tell that every single person in that office genuinly cared about the work they were doing, and thats one of the big reasons why Kiva is so successful today.
Jessica was one of the most inspiring (I know, we say that about everyone) women Alexis and I have ever had the honor to meet. This outstanding, kind hearted, positive, and well educated woman has done far more in her lifetime than majority of people can even dream of. She has lived and traveled around the world and worked at every social justice job you could think of (Everyone from the UN to Doctors Without Borders). The stories and experiences she shared left Alexis and I with our mouths open in shock, Jessica has interviewed people in detail and heard stories of rape, soldiers cutting open pregnant women, and heads being used as soccer balls...but despite it all, she stressed how optimistic she is for the future. She described how positive you have to be in her field and how she truly believes third world countries will one day catch up with more developed ones in terms of poverty and education. Every part of her radiated joy as she recalled the changes she's seen in small villages in Kenya. Jessica is the walking example of optimism and true fulfillment, refusing to let the disheartening things she's seen in her line of work bring her down and reminding everyone of the work they can do to make the world a place where all can smile.
If you're interested in the work Jessica is doing, watch our interview that will be posted later this week!
For now, we'd like to leave you with one word of advice Jessica told us that keeps coming to mind, even 5 days later: When asked about her job and how she's gotten to this position, she spoke of how instead of worrying about how much each job pays or the benefits of said job, she simply asks herself if she would do the job even if she wasn't being paid. With h=this perspective, she's allowed herself to be passionate about every job she's had. Maybe it's something to apply to all the aspects in our lives. It's a good reminder to ourselves to choose the things that make us fulfilled, the things that we can look forward to and never lose our passionate for.