Michal Wiesbrock Arthritis Foundation.Executive Director for the Central Coast at Riviera Park
Paul Wellman

“Arthritis is not an old person’s disease,” says Michael Wiesbrock, whose job as the executive director of the newly established Arthritis Foundation Central Coast is “to re-establish ties with the community, outreach as far north as San Luis Obispo,” and create as much awareness on this affliction as possible.

That includes reminding people of how common juvenile arthritis is, as children as young as four years old have been diagnosed right here on the Central Coast. “It’s also the number one disease for people in the military and veterans,” notes Michal, explaining that one in three veterans deal with it. But kids and vets are just a slice of the story: In California alone, more than five million people are affected by arthritis and related rheumatic diseases.

This coming weekend, Michal is excited to take part in the 35th Annual Taste of the Town, the iconic food and wine event on September 11 at the Riviera Park Gardens that raises money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation. He’ll also be at the preceding Friday night’s Connoisseur’s Circle Gala Dinner, which takes place at Bacara Resort on September 9, and this is the first time individuals can purchase tickets for that. See www.arthritis.org/tasteofthetownSB.

I’ve known fun-loving Michal for many years, since he served as the development director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival prior to his current position. He’s a steadfast fundraiser, and a great asset to this community.

He answers the Proust Questionnaire.

Who do you most admire?

Barbra Streisand. She is talented, strong-willed, and not afraid to speak her mind regardless of the consequences. I’m a Barbra-holic.

What do you most value in friends?

Steadfastness in good times and bad. 

What do you like most about your job?

I have a big space to display all of my Disney collectibles (toys) that I am not allowed to display in the house.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Fall weekends on the couch watching football, eating pizza, and drinking a nice glass of wine. 

What is your greatest fear?

That I may one day have to learn how to use all the A/V gadgets in our house.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My once-a-year shopping spree during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

What is your current state of mind?

At peace.

What is the quality you most like in people?


What is the quality you most dislike in people?

People who feel the need to one up you in a conversation.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My love of all things Disney and cartoons.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


Which talent would you most like to have?

Would love to be technologically savvy. Computers are not my friend.

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

I guess it would be my hairstyle and color, which I seem to change pretty often.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating a beautiful partnership with the same person for the past 24 years!

Where would you most like to live?

A luxury cabin in the Pacific Northwest with a view of the sound and satellite TV to watch cartoon network and ESPN. And no mortgage.

What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring.

Who makes you laugh the most?

Amy Schumer – she rocks. Everyone needs to laugh at least once a day.

What is your motto?

It’s all good.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Not sure. Skipped history classes in college.

On what occasion do you lie?

Never. Except when filling out questionnaires.


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