One of the signature events in Santa Barbara’s busy social scene is the Pacific Pride Foundation’s Royal Ball, and the key to its success is the creative mind of Merryl Brown.
Merryl is an event producer, but just calling her that is a disservice, for she does so much more. She creates dreamscapes where we mere mortals can celebrate amid style and magic. From fundraisers to weddings, Merryl’s panache and attention to detail is immediately recognizable. She’s also in charge of Planned Parenthood’s 50th anniversary cerebration at the Coral Casino, which is this coming Friday, March 14, so expect another evening to remember.
She took time from her creativity to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
What do you most like about your job?
I like that I work in a business that allows me to be both deeply creative and analytical. My work as an event producer allows me to go deep into my imagination and develop a creative vision that will eventually unfold into an experience, not just an event, that guests will be a part of. These experiences are often quite transformative, and people leave them knowing that they were a part of something wonderful, unique, and uplifting.
What is your current state of mind?
I am delightedly fully immersed in my work, almost all the time. I love what I do, and I throw myself into every single event that I work on with passion and enthusiasm. I love to create magic for our clients. I am happiest when I am working on exciting projects with my team, each of whom is a rock star.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My tenacity. I work very hard to do the best job that I can possibly do on whatever I have set out to achieve.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Traveling with my husband and two sons, having amazing adventures, and new experiences together. We once took a yearlong trip around the world, and that was, to me, perfect happiness.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing those that I love. I adore my family and friends so very deeply, and, while loss is a part of this journey that we are all on, it is never an easy thing when it happens.
Who do you most admire?
My parents more than anyone in the world. They have taught me the meaning of hard work, setting goals and achieving them, the importance of a great education, and the importance of the family bond.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I am not, by nature, an extravagant person, but the one thing that I do allow myself to splurge on is visits to the Four Seasons Biltmore Spa! I am always very peaceful and happy when I spend an afternoon there.
What is the quality you most like in people?
A great sense of humor. I am very drawn to funny people. My husband and children make me laugh a lot — when they are not laughing at me, that is!
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Unkindness is a total repellant! I run away from mean and rude people as fast as I can!
What do you most value in friends?
Loyalty is what I treasure above all else. It means the world to me when my friends are loyal. I am fiercely loyal, as well.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Epic, fabulous, awesome. I know that I overuse these words, and yet, they are just such great descriptors that I simply cannot help myself!
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish that I had the innate talent of Tony Duquette. He is my muse and has come to me in dreams before, and let me tell you, I live for those dreams! His works inspires me tremendously, and I so wish that I had his talent for conceptualization and fabrication.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am already hard at work on it, and that is getting in shape! I am working out with a fantastic trainer and pushing myself to make my physical well-being a priority.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having the two most incredible sons, a sweet husband, and a company that is successful and growing, with a fantastic staff, all of whom I love to work with!
Where would you most like to live?
I would be really happy living at the beach. I have always loved beach houses — our happiest summers were spent at Sandyland Cove in Carpinteria. I am peaceful and happy when I am near the ocean. The Coral Casino is where I spend most of my free time, since a beach house is not currently in the cards.
What is your most treasured possession?
I have been blessed in my life with some very nice possessions, but there isn’t any one thing that I have that is that important to me. It is my health, my family, and my close friends that I truly treasure the most. I had a health scare a number of years ago, and it was a big wake-up call to me. Without your health, you simply cannot enjoy any of the material things because the discomfort and fear become so all-consuming. Health and love are what I treasure most!
Who makes you laugh the most?
My older sister, Zerline, is absolutely one of the funniest people that I know. Pretty much anything that she says makes me laugh. Her delivery is impeccable!
What is your motto?
A quote from Jim Collins: “Good is the enemy of great.” I truly believe that whatever we do, we must do amazingly well. Good is just not good enough for me. I know that God is in the details, and I strive to shine His light on every single thing that I do. Every. Single. Day.