Jennie Jacobs director of sales and marketing at Hotel Santa Barbara. (January 29, 2020) | Credit: Paul Wellman

“It’s all about bringing people to town,” says Jennie Jacobs. “We love to highlight all the fun stuff to see.”  

Jennie is the director of sales and marketing for the Hotel Santa Barbara, and I love following her account on Instagram, for she puts in so much creativity to showcase the diverse experiences that Santa Barbara offers. It would be easy to think that she’s doing marketing for the entire region, not just the historic downtown hotel. 

“We’re not a resort,” she explains of Hotel Santa Barbara. “What makes the hotel special is all of the things around it. I think of Joe’s Café as an extension of our hotel.”  

Located near the intersection of State and Cota streets, this property has been a hotel since the late 1800s. Since 1975, it has been owned by the Jacks family. For more than 30 years, Carminia Castaneda has been the general manager. Such combined experience makes the hotel feel like an oasis in the middle of State Street’s bustle. 

Jennie has worked there for more than three years, but only recently launched the Makers Workshop Series, in which artisans lead classes and share their crafts with guests. There was a driftwood wall hanging workshop last week, while future events will focus on brass earrings (Feb. 22), block carving and printing (Mar. 5), and dream catchers (Mar. 11). All classes are open to the public, with discounted rates available to hotel guests. “We’re excited about the series,” she says. “It’s fun for us to put together.”

Born at the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, Jennie has an infectiously brassy and positive attitude. She graduated from Dos Pueblos High in 2002, a straight A student. “I always wanted to be an artist,” she admits. “I’ve always liked to create things.”    

After studying at SBCC, she majored in psychology at Sonoma State. “My first job was as a case worker for the criminal diversion program in Santa Rosa,” she recalls. “I was 21, and I was telling people they needed to go to AA!”

She came back to Santa Barbara in 2008 during the financial crisis and found there were no jobs. “I went back to school at SBCC and studied graphic design,” explains Jennie, who then worked for a marketing agency before landing a marketing job at Sansum Clinic.

She met her husband, Kyle Phillips, at Velvet Jones. They’ve been together for 12 years, and married for five. “He’s so different from me,” she confesses. “He works for CMC, the rescue equipment company.” They live on the Westside. 

She cherishes her current position and the team at Hotel Santa Barbara. “I went from marketing colonoscopies to marketing cotton sheets,” she says with a laugh.

Jennie Jacobs answers the Proust Questionnaire.

What do you like most about your job?
I love being so involved in the Santa Barbara community. Being downtown, collaborating with Downtown SB and Visit Santa Barbara, serving on the board for Hospitality Santa Barbara. I feel like I am in the know. Plus, I get to work and collaborate with so many amazing people. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to stop comparing myself to others so much and comfortably embrace where I am now. I love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am proud of my choices and hard work that have allowed me to carve out a happy life here in Santa Barbara.

What is your motto?
YOLO! Someone told me it isn’t cool anymore, but I stand by it, dammit. Mainly because I really, truly believe I’ll only live once and I might as well make the most of it.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A summer weekend at our family beach house in Cayucos, with a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in the other. And let’s just throw a cheese board in there too.

What is your greatest fear? 
Mayonnaise. Definitely, mayonnaise.

Who do you most admire?
My husband, Kyle Phillips. He is adept at so many things I couldn’t ever fathom attempting. Things like fixing cars and climbing mountains and performing killer guitar riffs and wiring electrical gizmos. But he is also smart, kind, generous with his time, and he has perfected the art of one-liners at the most unexpected of times.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Food! Spending a full day of cooking in the kitchen or gathered around a table to feast with friends and family is never time or money wasted.

What is your current state of mind?
Contemplative. And hungry.

What is the quality you most like in people?
I love people who can engage in the art of quick-witted banter.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Small mindedness!

What do you most value in friends?
A sense of humor. I love people who make me laugh and laugh at my jokes. (Shoutout to all my friends!) The funniest people I know are some of the smartest and most creative I have ever met.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My curly hair!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I have the mouth of a sailor and I do not apologize for it. Science tells us that people who swear a lot are smarter, have better vocabularies, are happier, healthier, and better looking. Okay, maybe not that last part.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I feel like this is a common one, but to sing well! Look, don’t get me wrong, nothing stops me from singing. I just wish it sounded prettier. And my husband probably does too. 

Where would you most like to live?
I would love to live in a perpetual summer, so splitting my time between Santa Barbara and somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere would be dandy. Anybody want to do a house swap?

What is your most treasured possession?
A family heirloom emerald ring, given to me by Kyle.

What makes you laugh the most?
Dogs! Especially our dog Remy, he’s a funny dude.

On what occasion do you lie?
I will lie to save someone from having hurt feelings unnecessarily. And I am also known to embellish a good story, but used judiciously, and only for maximum impact and hilarity.  


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