Jessica Furst Johnson: Riverview’s own Grad-Made-Good success story
Successful people making it big in their adult lives always grace newspaper covers. So, when Riverview’s own Jessica Johnson is one of the major officials for the Florida recount, excitement for her future is brewing.
Growing up, Johnson loved learning, and she enjoyed her time at Riverview, but much like a lot of people, she took it for granted.
“I did [enjoy Riverview], but like most kids, I am sure I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should. I went to school in Missouri for undergrad and being in really cold weather in a land-locked state certainly made me appreciate a lot of things about Sarasota,” she said.
Johnson’s dad was one of the deciding factors for her to go to law school. He felt it was important, and she agreed. Johnson says it was such an important decision, and she doesn’t regret it at all.
“I loved school, so I always had an interest in going to law school, but at the time, I had other great opportunities... my dad really was really encouraging, saying that it's easier to go to law school relatively right out of school and when you don’t have a lot of other applications in your life. He really was the one who pushed me to go and was the main reason I did end up going,” she said.
As well as touching on subjects like why she decided to become a political operative and election law attorney, she also talked about on how she ended up where she was.
“I worked for a woman that was running for Congress in between college and law school, and I really got bitten by the political bug. Then I went to law school, and when I graduated, I still kind of practiced political campaign finance law, and so I really looked for opportunities that were specific and would allow me to do that...I knew I really had to stand out and work really hard,” she said.
While she developed a career, Johnson talks about how she has never faced discrimination for being a woman in a male-dominated career.
“I feel really lucky for not having some of the experiences than some other women that I work with have had, in terms of feeling personally discriminated against. I’ve worked for wonderful people, both men and women, that really encouraged me and pushed me, poured into me, so I really haven’t felt that I’ve been discriminated against. But I am very aware that it does happen, and I think for us women in politics we really need to stick together, we need to
support each other and elevate each other. And if we see a woman that is excelling in whatever it is, she's doing, we need to encourage her and push her and ask her if she wants to take a bigger role,” she said.
Where Johnson has been and what she has experienced bring a sense of accomplishment for Riverview, where her involvement included cheerleading and being features editor for the Ram Page, and for her family, but we must also be aware that for Johnson, the best is yet to come.