Kathy Janega-Dykes
Paul Wellman

I laughed out-loud when Kathy Janega-Dykes described herself as “determined.” I don’t recall knowing anybody who walks into a meeting or any situation with more strength of mind. The fact that she does so stylishly attired and coiffed and accessorized with an enviable handbag is also winning.

Kathy is the president and CEO of Visit Santa Barbara, which means her job is to market our city to the rest of the world. Her success was confirmed earlier this year when she was elected to serve on the prestigious board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association, the country’s leading organization for the travel industry.

She took time from her busy travel schedule to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

What do you like most about your job?

The many opportunities that come with marketing an excellent product. The challenge is the often overwhelming “to do list.”

What is your greatest extravagance?

Shopping . The local economy benefits from this extravagance.

What’s a perfect day in Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara has an amazing diverse number of activities to enjoy. I always encourage visitors to take a trolley or bus tour of our city. I learn something new every time I do this! An excursion on the ocean is a must, followed by wine tasting, of course! (I also suggest a stop at our galleries, museums, gardens, restaurants, theaters, spas, golf, mission, courthouse . . . .)

Who do you most admire?

I admire philanthropists, people who give money and time to those who need it most — and do it without requiring recognition.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I believe that most people would find me dogged and determined once I am on task. I consider myself a hard worker and I admire that in others.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being content with where I am in life, so you could say I am perfectly happy right now!

What is your greatest fear?

Fear, what is that??!!!

What is your current state of mind?

I am grateful for everything I have. I find I have become more so as I grow older and look back at the path I have traveled.

What is the quality you most like in people?

I am drawn to people who are honest and candid. It is much more productive to work with someone who is open to new ideas and direct.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

I find pretentious people, people who “put on airs,” annoying. When I think about it, what I enjoy most about Santa Barbara is that most people here are genuine.

What is the quality you most treasure in a friend?

I treasure my friends who are there when I need them most. I try to return the favor.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Well, anything that is popular right now. I like being trendy! So how about “amazing”?

What is your most treasured possession?

My collection of handbags, but don’t make me pick just one!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be able to sing well…and tour the karaoke circuit!

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

Be more spontaneous.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I have a wonderful son and a great husband of 24 years. Together we have a great family life.

Where would you most like to live?

I am already living in the most ideal location!

Who makes you laugh the most?

My friends after an afternoon cocktail or two!

What is your motto?

Be grateful and be present.


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