Here at People’s Liberty, we like to showcase our residents and the work that our grantees are doing, as well as our leadership team. In an effort to introduce you to more of our staff, we asked our VP of Operations, Jake Hodesh to tell us a little about himself:
Q: What brought you to PL?
A: I had moved back to Cincinnati and was working at a different agency here in town, and I knew Eric and Megan and Kate. At the time, Kate and Megan were working together on building PL, and I was in the process of leaving my other job so they approached me with what they were thinking of building. They had been traveling and researching these different things and were thinking that it was all pointing towards this idea. They knew I was leaving my job and asked if this was something I would be interested in doing, and I said yes. That was over two years ago.
Q: What do you do at PL?
A: I help oversee and orchestrate a lot of the different elements. Definitely the building operations; anything from when the toilet needs to be plunged, the projectors not working to the windows are leaking. Mostly, all the building stuff and serving as a liaison back to Eric, Amy as well as the foundation, to keep good communication open.
Q: Do you feel that your work at PL has made a significant difference in the community?
A: Yes. I am eager to be back in the community more and in the building less, but I think that once we get the mechanics fully flushed out that will be an opportunity. But I think by way of the grants we have made, the grantees are doing some amazing stuff. I think it will be easier to look back when we are at year six and see the impact from all the grants and how the dollars flowed to see all of the people that it benefited.
Q: Is there any individual or group of people that influenced you to go this direction in your career?
A: When I was living in Savannah there was an organization called the Creative Coast which was a civic lab. In some ways it was similar to PL but also in many ways different. We didn’t do grant making, but Creative Coast was very much the beacon, the draw and the magnet for the creatives and the change makers in the region. The Creative Coast hit this valley where they were struggling with what to do from a mission perspective, and at that point the board had invited me to come and help them rebuild. I had never been apart of an organization that was civically engaged or leading from that arm. That board of people challenged me to help rebuild the organization and then they hired me to run that organization. So, I would say that they kind of got me down this path of: "hey be on the non-profit side, do good work, get paid to do good work, mentor people hand-hold people, help people." And there was a building element there. We had a storefront so that helped me exercise the skill set of budgeting, invoicing, check cutting and all these skills I have that I didn’t realize related to a non-profit organization with a board and funding.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Haha retired...I see myself in Cincinnati Ohio...I don't know. I definitely see myself continuing to collaborate with or as a part of Eric and Megan and Aurore. With these same people, whether we’re part of the same organization or foundation or company or lab. I think still working to make this place better, make this place more interesting, more dynamic, still working to change this area. And as long as Megan, Eric, Aurore and Amy are here and doing the work that I know that they’re passionate about, I see us collaborating together. Either I could be working with them or people like them.
Q: If you didn’t have to work to make money, what would you be doing?
A: Probably taking care of my daughter and teaching her. She's two and a half, so I’d just be hanging out with her.
Q: What do you do to unwind at the end of the day?
A: Be with family. I read a lot. We’re kind of home-bodies. We really enjoy being home and going on walks in the neighborhood. My wife and I get babysitters and we like to go see Hollywood blockbusters. We used to go see art house films, but now we can just watch that at home, so we’ve transitioned from art house indie films to only seeing the blockbusters in the theater because it's like 3D with the huge screen with the sound system. So we still sneak out to do dinner and a movie.
Q: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice with the knowledge you have now, what would it be?
A: To floss more and make sure to brush the teeth you want to keep.