I’m Jenny Poon. I’m the founder of CO+HOOTS, a coworking/incubator space, based in Phoenix, Arizona.
I fell in love with community building by finding clients that were working in communities. I realized that, when you are able to shape a space and have a voice, you can have a lot more impact on your local environment than anywhere else. You can actually change the lives of tons of people.
The biggest thing that’s helped me is having a really strong, stable tribe around me. My best friends are all around the world, but my family has always been pretty stable. I didn’t have a tumultuous family. We love each other and we’ll always be there for each other—especially my mom. I read a quote that said, it takes someone strong to make you strong. It reminded me of my relationship with my mom.
“When I was younger I was the shyest girl you could ever imagine.
I’ve failed a lot, but what has really helped me continue moving through this, is remembering that my parents went through it as well. They had more barriers and fewer opportunities and they were able to make it. So these things that I’m dealing with today are nothing compared to what they’ve dealt with—like escaping war and fighting for their lives. That has always grounded me. Yes, this is hard and it hurts. It’s uncomfortable, it’s all new and I have to learn so much. But I’m alive and able-bodied, and I’m not struggling.
There’s always a way, and that’s how my mind has always worked. When I’m uncomfortable, I have to think through a plan B, C and D, and knowing those different plans helps me feel comfortable. This is going to sound kind of awful…but also funny. I’m a little bit like Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. If somebody wrongs me or if I feel like something is unfair, I start making a list about how I would feel when I actually prove them wrong. So the worst thing…or the best thing you can do for me is to tell me that I can’t do something and then I will put it on my list, and constantly think about how I can prove you wrong.
Over the years it’s been a fuel to think about someone not believing in me, and saying, look at what I did. I’ve always been that type of person. Like an underdog.
When I was younger I was the shyest girl you could ever imagine. I was very self-conscious. I had to be perfect, and it was paralyzing. I never wanted to raise my hand or speak up because I was so worried about what other people were thinking about me.
Then I left home to live in a foreign country. Something clicked in me— this “I don’t give a fuck” mentality just set in. I didn’t have enough energy to worry about what everybody else thinks. There’s not enough time in the world for me to stress over that.
I just realized we’re all people—we all screw up. You can’t do anything if you’re just worrying about what everybody else thinks. Now, I spend more time on activating and doing things right. I let the shy part of me go.
I’ve been reading stats that say if a woman asks a question first in a room full of people, it gives other women space to feel like it’s okay to ask a question. I have also learned to bring the right people around me—people who understand how to work with me.
Being a mom definitely changed me. It made me think about what the world is going to look like for my daughter. It’s interesting watching little people become big people. I think a lot about how to nurture a little person to become a good person.
Girls in Tech needs you, just as you are
Log into the member portal
Not a member? Sign up
It's quick, simple, and free
Already a member? Log in
For more localized content and events, select a chapter near you:
How many years of experience do you have in the tech space?
If other, please specify
Drag and drop files or browse
Supported formats: JPEG and PNG
Or, select an illustration:
Select as many as you like, or skip if none apply to you