Circulate is very excited to welcome Jana Schwartz to our team. As is customary, we asked her to answer a few questions so that our members and supporters could get to know her. Read below to see what she had to say!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Jana! I tell people it rhymes with Dana. I am from La Mesa and went to Monte Vista High School. It has been about 10 years since I last lived in San Diego, but I am so glad to be back! I have bounced around California a bit and attended UC Davis to study Landscape Architecture, received my graduate degree in planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and lived in San Jose before moving here. In the middle of that all, I lived in Greensburg, Kansas for an AmeriCorps position with Greensburg GreenTown, a non-profit assisting the community’s sustainable redevelopment effort after a devastating tornado in 2007.
Outside of work and school I enjoy bike riding, finding a great deal at a thrift shop, and checking out new communities. Before starting at Circulate SD, I was on a three-week roadtrip across the country. Some of the highlights included being at the opening weekend of the Peace and Justice Memorial in Montgomery, AL finally visiting the very tiny Prada store art installation in Marfa, TX, and checking the Thorncrown Chapel off my architectural bucket list. There is so much to see out there!
Peace and Justice Memorial in Montgomery, AL Prada store art installation in Marfa, TX
How did you become interested in Circulate San Diego?
My interest in bike riding and my background in planning made Circulate SD an ideal place to work and grow professionally. I looked forward to moving back to San Diego and becoming more involved in an active transportation planning group. When I was ready to make the move Circulate SD was a top choice. The team is made up of motivated and experienced individuals and the projects prioritize the community and equitable mobility options…those were major items that I was looking for.
What is your biggest achievement to date? Choose one.
Last July I participated in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa), and I spent 6 days biking over 430 miles across the state of Iowa…which was surprisingly hilly! It felt really good biking 50 to 70 miles a day, camping amongst 20,000 other bikers, and getting to know people from all over the world! This event attracted novice to experienced bike riders, and everyone coexisted and had a great time! I loved this ride because of the people, the challenge, and getting the super cool shorts tan. I tell everyone they should do it.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
Well, I can’t pick just one. Lots of people inspire me, but I am particularly motivated by power ladies. I have always looked up to my mom, who is incredibly organized, generous, and a hardworking professional. I have been mentored by amazing professors who have provided life-changing advice. I am also motivated by high-profile folks using their popularity to do great work. For example, Emma Watson is someone my age, taking action, rising above criticism, standing up for important causes, and I just thinks she’s cool.
Why are you most excited to be part of Circulate San Diego?
I love the opportunity to work with communities! I cannot wait to meet as many people as I can, gather input on how mobility can be improved in San Diego, and be a part of the change. San Diego is a large area and each community has a unique vision for the future. I am excited to work with neighbors and local groups to make planning decisions that support those visions. I also really enjoy talking about the topics that Circulate SD deals with, so working in that environment is a fun space to be in and allows me to nerd out on transportation/planning topics.