Friend of the Week: Jessica Shambora

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jessica shambora

/jeh-sih-kuh/ /sham-bohr-ah/


1. Ironwoman (also named One of the Fittest People In Tech)

2. Could moonlight as a professional organizer.

3. Mother of Mayer.

4. My SNL partner in crime.


How do we know each other?

Carly and I have known each other for nearly 30 years. We met in Ms. Masatani's third grade class at Walter Hays Elementary School. However, we became close friends in fifth grade when we were both on a softball team sponsored by the Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World, which still exists on Waverley Street.

What's a day in the life of Jess Shambora like? 

These days every day is different, since I now have a 7-month-old son named Mayer. Usually I sleep as late as he will let me, then get up to feed him and play with him. When he goes down for a nap, I scramble to get as much done as possible. If I have babysitting help during the day, I go for a run in Los Altos Hills and work on a marketing project for one of my freelance clients. In the evening, Mayer and I take an evening walk and say hello to our neighbors, and when my husband Eric gets home, he puts Mayer to bed and then we eat dinner together and relax for a bit.

What are your nicknames?

J, Jess, JShambo, JSham, Shambo, Shamwow.

What's your greatest attribute?

This is tough to answer but I believe that I am very compassionate. I feel deeply for other people and whatever they might be going through and I do what I can to help, whether I know them well or not.

Congrats on being a new mom! Favorite Mommy Moment? 

Hard to pick one favorite mommy moment. I'd say it's every time he gets excited when he sees me.



There are a lot of things no one told me about childbirth and pregnancy. But one that really surprised me is how much of your hair falls out after you have a baby. I actually have bald spots!



The climate in the Bay Area really is the best. Until I left California as an adult, I don't think I had ever checked a weather report.


There's a lot I miss from my NYC days--Central Park, people watching, long city walks--but I think what I miss most is the magical feeling that at any moment, something crazy, unexpected and wonderful could happen. 

Greatest moment working at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit?

It was such a wonderful experience to be part of this event for three years, and there were many amazing moments. But one that stands out was the time I got to interview Sally Ride during a breakout session on promoting STEM education.

If you could only have one kind of food and drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Really good pizza and milk (weird, I know).

You finished a freakin' ironman, congrats! what were you thinking during the race and how did you feel after?

During the Ironman I just kept thinking "This is it! This is what I've been working toward for years. I'm doing it! Just follow the plan." My emotions ranged from feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of what I was trying to do and not being sure if I'd be able to do it, to elation as I knocked out each piece of the race and became more and more confident that I was going to finish.

When I was done I felt really happy--better than any runner's high! And I wasn't feeling too bad physically either. 

what's the first thing you ate after the race?

When we got back to the house we were staying at, Eric made me one of my favorite things: fried pasta!

What was harder: childbirth or the Ironman?

The truth is that neither childbirth nor the Ironman are the hardest things I've done. In my opinion, breastfeeding is the most challenging thing I've ever done. It's an endurance event that lasts for months! I'm seven months in and am trying to make it to a year.

What's something that most people don't know about you?

I had a job as a basketball referee in college. I've never played basketball and I'm a little fuzzy on the rules, but the intramural department convinced me to give it a shot (pun intended!).

What's your signature style? 

My go-to is jeans, a cotton v-neck, a scarf and my Theory leather jacket. I'm also working on mastering the athleisure look.

Favorite SNL sketch and/or character? 

How can I pick just one?! Amy Poehler is my favorite cast member of all time, so I'd have to say it's a toss up between her roles as Betty Caruso on Bronx Beat and 10-year-old Kaitlin.

Funniest moment with me that you can remember?

Again, so tough to choose just one! But I'm going way back to when we memorized entire episodes of SNL and recited them to each other. We know so many SNL sketches that we could probably communicate just with lines from the show. Like, "Hey, what do you want to get for lunch?" Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...


First bucket list item that comes to mind? 

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

Life Motto: 

"I have a life and it only goes in one direction: Forward." This is a Don Draper quote from Mad Men and it helps me keep going when things get tough.

follow jess on all of her athletic, mommy, techie, and fun adventures on instagram @jshambora

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