Every time you encounter Annmarie Rogers, she’s in good spirits, smiling broadly and demanding a hug. Even after I found out that her son, Dylan, had been in a terrible accident in Mexico, her optimistic mood persisted. “I’m so grateful he’s alive,” she beamed.
Lucky for Santa Barbara, this contagiously upbeat lady born in Sweden is the director of the Santa Barbara Visitor’s Center on Cabrillo Boulevard, welcoming visitors to our city every day.
She took time away from saying hello and guiding tourists to answer the Proust questionnaire.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Moving to the U.S.A. from Sweden with nothing but a suitcase and raising two sons to be good people.
What is it you like most about your job?
I treasure working with the business community, my staff, and volunteers. We all enjoy helping visitors having a memorable time in Santa Barbara.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Always feeling positive and knowing that my family is healthy! Enjoying a good glass of Santa Barbara wine while looking out at the Santa Barbara Waterfront is not a bad idea either.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing a child or a loved one! I almost lost my son, Dylan, in Cabo, but he survived, and I’m very grateful for that. That was a miracle.
Who do you most admire?
Fred Astaire — a wonderful dancer and he just makes you happy!
What is your greatest extravagance?
I try to go to Sweden twice a year to visit my parents. They are getting older, and I want to enjoy as much time with them as I can.
What is your current state of mind?
Happy Happy Happy!
What is the quality you most like in people?
Being positive, upbeat, and generous. Life is too short not to have those three qualities.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
I really don’t like people who are greedy, negative, and controlling!
What do you most value in friends?
I value honesty and loyalty! I have so many wonderful friends who I have known for a long time. Friends like that are golden!
What is your most marked characteristic?
I think I’m very friendly and patient, and I want everybody to be happy and have a good time!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Hugs. But I really like that word!
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be able to speak Spanish. I did learn German and French in school in Sweden, but here in Santa Barbara it would be great to know Spanish!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Maybe the ability to say “no” once in a while and not work too much!
On what occasion do you lie?
Seldom, and it would only be to not hurt someone’s feelings. And sometimes I lie to my cat!
Where would you most like to live?
Santa Barbara! But, of course!
What is your most treasured possession?
My family and owning a house in Santa Barbara!
What is your motto?
Be happy for no reason and love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t.