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Julie Steele

Paul Wellman

Julie Steele


The S.B. Questionnaire: Julie Steele

Staying Cool, Calm, and Collected with the Santa Barbara Club’s Events Guru


When the rough gets going, Julie Steele is the coolest person, and you always want her in your corner. She’s surreally calm while running events, displaying an almost beatific smile as she guarantees that everything’s under control.

Formerly the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s special events coordinator, Julie is now event sales manager at the Santa Barbara Club, where she handles events for both members and such organizations as Santa Barbara Downtown and the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce. Speaking of the Santa Barbara Club — what a throwback! I didn’t know a place like this existed in Santa Barbara.

She took time away from her events to answer the Proust questionnaire.

What is your most marked characteristic?

In my work, I would say it is my calmness and ability to think on my feet. In my personal life, I am an optimist and love adventure.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

When I graduated college, a friend and I set out to travel around the world. We were 22 years old, very young and naive. It was well before cell phones and Facebook so we were truly on our own and out of touch with our families. We were gone for one year in total and circled the globe with nothing but a backpack on our backs and each other. To this day that experience has shaped who I am.

What do you like most about your job?

As an event planner I like seeing an event transform from start to finish. We begin with an idea and a date and then the details just start to come together. No event or day is ever the same and I get to meet so many people throughout the process. It is challenging to meet everyone’s expectations but in the end I can see my work on the faces of people enjoying themselves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness is eating Tom Kha Kai soup from a tiny beach front restaurant in Thailand with the warm sun shining on the ocean and my hair crunchy from the salt water. Of course, I want my husband there with me drinking a Singha beer.

What is your greatest fear?

Karaoke!

Who do you most admire?

I admire my 92 year old grandma. She is full of life, open-minded, and has overcome so many challenges. Her laugh is absolutely contagious!

What is your greatest extravagance?

Spa days with my friends. It is the time I take to regroup and relax away from “real life.”

What is your current state of mind?

Ready…set…go!!

What is the quality you most like in people?

I appreciate people who are motivated, fun, and willing to live outside of the box all the while being accountable for their actions.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

I most dislike when people are so busy talking that they forget to listen. Communication is two-sided.

What do you most value in friends?

I value loyalty, trust, and honesty as well as spontaneity. I love when I can call or text a friend on a moment’s notice to do something and they say yes. Life is so busy it is hard to plan in advance so it is fun when it works out on the fly.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Seriously?!” as well as “PLEASE go brush your teeth and get ready for bed!” (I have an 8 year old.)

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be able to sing. I can’t even carry a tune and admire those that can really belt out a song.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

The ability to remember people’s names when I meet them. This is a huge challenge for me especially in my work!

Where would you most like to live?

I see myself someday living on a tropical beach somewhere like Kauai. A difficult choice as there are so many amazing places in the world but for now I will say it is hard to beat Santa Barbara.

What is your most treasured possession?

I don’t really consider my son a possession, more like a gift but I would trade everything for him.

What makes you laugh the most?

The British TV show Absolutely Fabulous and old friends.

What is your motto?

If you don’t have a passport yet get one and go see the world!

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Amelia Earhart

On what occasion do you lie?

I lie openly and blatantly when it comes to kids believing in those that come at the holidays and deliver gifts! I believe deeply in the spirit of these occasions and the joy it brings watching your children who truly believe.

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