In the decade that Jerry Jen has been a part of the Westchester/Playa community, he has become a dedicated ambassador for small businesses, community groups and local events.
When looking for a location to set up his law firm, specializing in collection services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, he was drawn to Westchester simply because of its convenient location close to many of his clients, and the fact that he could carpool with his wife, Delia Chi, who worked near LAX. After networking with local groups, like the LAX Coastal Chamber and Rotary, he quickly discovered he had lucked out in finding this “small town, in a big city.”
“I was looking for things to do and places to volunteer, and I was introduced to these two organizations at about the same time,” said Jerry. “I was able to meet so many great people, and instantly wanted to get more involved with this community.”
Currently, Jerry serves on the boards for both the chamber and the Mar Vista Family Center. He is also a past president of the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club. He was recently honored with the Hugo Francis Volunteer of the Year award for his work leading the chamber’s Network for Change committee, co-chairing the annual Fourth of July Parade and for his service to the local area. If you see Jerry around town serving in his latest role as Westchester’s Honorary Mayor, welcoming new businesses to the area with ribbon cuttings and sharing ways to get involved with the neighborhood, make sure you say “hi!”
We recently sat down with Jerry and asked him to share his thoughts, so here is “5 Questions With…Jerry!”
If you’re looking for the perfect evening out, where are you going?
You know, the perfect night out doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be fun. I was recently introduced to the ribeye steak at Mo’s Place. For a perfect night out, I’d take Delia for a walk on the beach, hang out there for a bit, and then come back to Culver Blvd. for a nice juicy steak at Mo’s with an Old-Fashioned! We’ve been there now a few times to hang out, and it’s a great place to relax and watch a sports game. It’s a great place to people watch, too. The place has a good energy, it’s low-key, and you can go in with shorts and flip-flops.
What is your favorite neighborhood tip or trick?
I’ve been traveling so much recently, so this has been my trick to get in and out of LAX quickly. There’s a lot of shuttles and parking locations on Century Blvd. There are certain places that have more frequent shuttles than others, and those are the ones that you can select to do business with. Before you pick a place to park, not just based on the price or even location, check their shuttle frequency. With all the people traveling now, a faster shuttle pick-up can be the difference between waiting two minutes versus waiting 30 minutes to get out of the airport.
What’s one local spot you couldn’t live without?
I’m going to have to say SoCalSport! Jeff, Rob and Carisa have built a great community in terms of no judgment and no ego. The inclusiveness makes me want to come back and work out, otherwise, I would not feel motivated to go. When I first joined the studio, I was in OK shape, and taking some martial arts, but I never felt fit, and was a little overweight. The doctor told me I needed to bring down my BMI and that’s when I approached the studio. Now, I’ve been a member for around five-plus years. It’s helped me feel stronger and get healthier. As a business owner, because we are working so many hours, your health can suffer; you end up working too much; you don’t sleep, and you don’t work out. Joining the studio has helped me become stronger, more committed, and I’m feeling healthy because of that. I promise they did not pay me to say that!
What do you tell people that are new to the area about Westchester/Playa?
I would tell them that they made a great choice whether they intended to come here or not! The draw here is that the Westchester/Playa area is really a community. We’re in a big city, but this community has a small town feel. It’s one of those places where you can literally walk down the street and recognize people and they say “hi” to you. I’d recommend getting involved in the community and all it has to offer; you get out of it what you put in!
What is the most rewarding thing about volunteering with community groups?
I believe the most rewarding thing about volunteering with local community groups is that you get to meet, learn and work with like-minded volunteers who all love and want to make things better for the residents, businesses and the local neighborhood. While we all volunteer for philanthropic reasons, the unintended benefit is that you end up meeting and establishing lifelong connections, which in turn, continues to motivate me, and others, to keep volunteering. It is also a wonderful reminder that while it just takes a single person to make a difference, we can do even more by working together.