Meet Jen Tooker!
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time? The teenage years are tough! They are yearning for independence, and so much of the time they aren’t interested in you. However, there are still plenty of times when they are ready to talk, or really need to talk. The challenge is to make sure I’m available and “present” (you know what I mean) when that moment comes. Timing is tricky! If you miss the moment, you’re not sure when you get will another one. Having regular family dinners (usually Sunday night for the Tookers) has been so important for us to stay connected.
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? My husband built a 20 foot wooden canoe many years ago (before we met). All 5 of us, plus food and drink, can comfortably fit in it – it’s huge! I love leaving from Compo Beach, paddling out to Cockenoe Island, swimming and having lunch, then returning to Compo to enjoy a bit more beach time. It’s even better if the kids do most of the paddling!
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? Oh Baby lip glass from MAC
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I always wanted 6 kids, decided 4 would work, and ultimately had 3 beautiful ones!
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been? I wanted to be a professional athlete for years. Soccer was my primary sport growing up. Mind you, I’m not sure what sport I could have pursued as there weren’t many professional female soccer players 100 years ago when I had this dream 🙂 But, more than the actual sport, I think what attracted me to that profession is the concept of being part of and leading a team, where hard work and superior skills are rewarded and everyone has a role in the success. Those continue to be important workplace characteristics for me – regardless of the profession.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? I’d walk around London with my family, wandering around the beautiful gardens, window shopping along the King’s Road, exploring interesting neighborhoods, listening to all the different languages being spoken and of course frequenting a few of my favorite pubs! Mo and I lived and worked in London for 12 years prior to our move to Westport. All 3 kids were born there. It has a very special place in my heart.
What is your most marked characteristic? I’m always smiling! Life is better when you smile!
What do you most value in your friends? A truly kind heart.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? Drive as many carpools as you can! I honestly take time out of my work day to do this. It is amazing what you learn when kids talk amongst themselves in the back seat. You must act like you aren’t paying attention though!
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? Serving the public as an elected official is actually career #2. I retired just a few years ago after 22 years with Gen Re (a global reinsurance company). My career took me (literally) around the world and I considered many of my work colleagues as family. It was a very fulfilling job. However, I knew I wanted to pursue serving my community through public service. Now as I serve on my third board in Westport (first the Conservation Commission, then the Board of Ed and now the Board of Finance), I know I made the right decision. I thoroughly enjoy my work and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity.
What made you ultimately decide to be Jim Marpe’s running mate? It was a very easy decision to run with Jim for the Board of Selectmen! He and I first worked together as members of the Board of Education. We found that we shared an unwavering commitment to Westport’s schools and a dedication to working in a non-partisan, collaborative manner. Westporters know that the reason our local government works is because we don’t bring partisan politics into our decisions. I’m proud to be part of a leadership team that has a track record of bringing people together, building consensus and using that common ground to find solutions. This is what Westporters demand from their elected officials and another reason why we are such an amazing Town! I would be honored to serve Westport for another 4 years.