Q&A: Jessie Smith, General Manager, Northern CA

March 2, 2022 — Written by Opendoor

At Opendoor, we’re powering life’s progress, one move at a time. Whether consumers are looking to upgrade or downsize, seeking a better school, a place to pursue a passion or grow their family, Opendoor gives them the confidence and control to make life-changing moves. With Opendoor, it’s simple – buy and sell at the tap of a button. 

We recently announced one of our biggest market launches to-date, and we’re excited to serve even more customers in the place where our company was founded: the San Francisco Bay Area. Opendoor also welcomes Jessie Smith as the General Manager of Northern California.

Before starting her role as GM, Jessie led new market expansion for Opendoor, helping to double its footprint. She knows what it takes to operate in any city across America – including a market as dynamic as the Bay Area. We asked Jessie to share more about what she loves about Opendoor, living in the Bay Area, including her favorite local spots.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to join the Opendoor team? 
I’m Australian, and I moved to the U.S. five years ago to complete an MBA at Harvard Business School. After graduating, I was drawn to Northern California for the abundance of job opportunities and natural beauty. I love spending time outside.

I was drawn to Opendoor because of the tangible impact we make on our customers during one of the most important times of their lives. People often move to make a life change, and it can be a daunting and stressful process. I loved how Opendoor was able to make that experience simpler and easier, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

What are you most excited about for your role as GM in Northern California? 
It’s an incredible time to be a part of the Opendoor team, which makes it difficult to nail down one specific thing. From growing demand for Opendoor in Sacramento, to bringing our services to Reno, to of course, recently launching right in our backyard – it’s been rewarding to grow and invest in our team. We’re also building strong local relationships in the community and deepening our trade partnerships with general contractors and other vendors.

What makes you proud to call the Bay Area home? 
The Bay Area offers diversity, natural beauty (with views I’ll never take for granted), and history with beautiful old houses and unique neighborhoods. 

What does home mean to you?
Relationships – as an expat, it’s building a strong community makes the city feel like home. Having lived in a handful of different places (I actually didn’t have a fixed address for about three years due to work travel), I’ve also found that personalizing my space—decorating and intentionally choosing things for my space over time—is closely tied to feeling at home.  

What are your hobbies outside of work? 
I love the outdoors and make the most of the natural beauty on our doorstep. Whether that’s road biking over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin, backpacking and camping in the summer, or skiing up in Tahoe in the winter.  We’re so lucky to have such beautiful places surrounding us. I also really love to cook and experiment with new recipes when hosting friends at home, and explore the fantastic bars and restaurants the city has to offer. 

What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Professionally, I’m proud of doubling Opendoor’s footprint in seven months from a standing start, since it had been some time since we’d launched a market. Personally, I’ve maintained deep and genuine relationships despite time and space. My kindergarten best friend is still one of my closest friends today!

Share three things about yourself that would surprise people?

  • In a world where so much of our interaction is on video-conference, people are often surprised to learn that I’m tall (5’11) when I meet them in person! 
  • I’m vegetarian, and love to cook, especially when hosting friends for long table lunches and dinner parties.
  • I enjoy taking film photographs, usually portraits of my friends or landscape shots while traveling.

Anything else about you or your role that you want to add?
One of my other favorite things about the Bay Area is its incredible live music venues. From the Greek Theater in Berkeley, to the Fox Theater in Oakland, to Great American Music Hall, Stern Grove and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, there’s some really unique venues to see your favorite artists play. 

Now for rapid fire q’s:

  • What’s your favorite neighborhood in SF? It’s so hard to pick just one, but I do love Pacific Heights. It’s full of the unique, beautiful period homes, plus you have views of the Golden Gate Bridge, easy access to parks and the Presidio.
  • What is your favorite local bar or restaurant? I’m a huge fan of fresh pasta, and there are some great spots for this in San Francisco.  One of my favorites is Seven Hills, though Itria, Penny Roma, and Flour and Water are also fantastic.   
  • Where is the best coffee? Saint Frank Coffee. It’s a San Francisco institution.  
  • Salty or sweet? Salty – cheese over chocolate any day of the week. And a big plug for Cheese Plus, a fantastic local cheesemonger and sandwich shop in Nob Hill. 
  • Favorite movie genre? I love to follow film festival winners and awards season nominees, and am an equal opportunist when it comes to genres. One of my majors in college was European studies, so there is a soft spot in my heart for the diverse stories you see in Foreign films. 
  • What is the most recent book, podcast or show you binged? I’m an avid podcaster and daily listener of BBC Global News Podcast, which I love for it’s international outlook. 
  • What’s your personal anthem/go-to song? Innerbloom by Rüfüs Du Sol and Alaska by Maggie Rogers always put me in a good mood! 

If you’re excited by the opportunity to change the status quo in the trillion-dollar real estate industry – check out our open roles.