Focus On Jen Tooker: Getting Through & Getting Stronger

Jen Tooker has lived in Westport with her husband Mo since 2008. The couple has three kids: A college freshman, a high school junior and a sixth grader. After a 22-year career in the marketing and underwriting side of the reinsurance business she is now Westport’s Second Selectperson. Jen has been working around the clock as part of the town’s leadership response team to the Corona Virus Crisis. 

“As Westport’s Second Selectwoman, I’m working 24/7 alongside First Selectman, Jim Marpe, to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working in different locations from each other and from our amazing department heads so we can all stay healthy to lead and support our residents and local businesses through this unprecedented time. The information is moving at record pace. Our responses must be equally rapid. I’ve had some high-pressure jobs in my almost 25-year career in finance, but this experience has redefined pressure. We work every day to ensure the health and safety of our residents and the economic viability of our businesses. It’s a pleasure and an honor, but can be a little tiring! 

When I’m not working, I’m helping my three kids find a schedule with school and life and trying to keep them out of my husband’s home office where he is also working 12 hours a day. We have a very disappointed college freshman who is back home for the school year, an anxious high school junior who can’t figure out how this will affect her future and a restless sixth grader who misses her friends but loves having the attention of her older siblings. I have to admit, I love having the kids home. We have family dinners, family movie night, family game night, family walks and, best of all, family house cleaning day – including toilets!  

I now do everything via email, phone, Zoom, GoToMeeting or FaceTime. While those platforms are all important, especially right now, I got into public service because I love people. I am energized by speaking with, learning from, interacting with and problem-solving for our residents. It’s just not as fun doing this job via technology. I miss seeing everyone in person! And I simply can’t wait to see everyone again soon – when the time is right.  

I’m very proud of Westport. We are focused on stay safe, stay home. If you have to go out, practice virus distancing. Many of our businesses and non-profits (like Westport Museum!) have been forced to close or drastically alter the way they bring their products and services to their clients. This Westport in Focus project is a fantastic example of the creativity of our community. Thank you! It takes a village to “flatten the curve” and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than Westport.

My husband and I were both raised in families that believed in “figuring it out”. Life didn’t always go the way we expected. There was no obvious path and knowing how to rise to the occasion for family and friends was a priority. I’m staying true to these principles. We will get through this together and be stronger for it. I’m sure of that.

…We will get through this together and be stronger for it. I’m sure of that. 

Explore More of “Westport In Focus”

To read more of the museums long lens oral histories please visit the Westport In Focus page.