Emerging Leadership in Community: Interview with Julie Baker

Gary Quehl October 22, 2014 0
Emerging Leadership in Community: Interview with Julie Baker


[Note: This interview is one of 100 conducted in Nevada County, California by Gary Quehl and his colleagues. One half of the interviews were conducted with “emerging sage leaders” (Julie Baker being one of these emerging sage leaders). The other 50 interviews were conducted with “senior sage leaders” in Nevada County. All of those who were interviewed are actively involved in the ongoing development of their community.]

You have been identified by friends and colleagues as one of our community’s 50 top emerging sage leaders. A sage leader is a person who brings unusual experience, sound judgment, and wisdom in working to advance the civic well-being of our community.

1. To begin, how many years have you lived in Nevada County? Where in the county do you reside?

I am a 12 year resident of Nevada County and reside outside Nevada City in an unincorporated development called Manzanita Diggings. Previously my family and I lived in Nevada City, but we decided to move outside of town for more space. We found property with a pool, a guest house and, most importantly, lots of room for our three sons. We enjoy the expansiveness and privacy of where we live, but are fortunate to be close enough to walk into town.

julie baker.102314 (2)2. May I ask how old you are?

I am 43 years old.

3. If you would, please share a bit about your personal history: where you grew-up; where you went to school and college; what organizations you have worked for and the positions you have held.

I was born in New York City and raised on the Upper West Side. I grew-up in a beautiful 1920s Art Deco building on the ninth floor, an amazing historic building. We lived on 72nd Street, which is a two-lane road. The other side of the street was the Dakota, which is the oldest apartment building in Manhattan. It is where John Lennon lived and was killed. Leonard Bernstein lived there as well. As a child, I remember watching the Macy’s Day Parade from the window and enjoyed watching the floats going past at eye level. They were so close that I could see the patches on the floats.

I had a pretty privileged upbringing. However, my family was not super wealthy and worked hard for what they had to maintain our family lifestyle. We lived on the West side, while people with real money lived on the East side. We also had a summer home in Woodstock, while the privileged had houses in the Hamptons. My parents owned an advertising agency together, and it was a boutique firm primarily for the arts industry including galleries, museums, cultural festivals, and lots of musical organizations. The business started in 1947 and evolved from typesetting to graphic designs over the years. Neither of my parents were artists themselves, but that is who they spent their time with.  They loved their work, which was their passion.

My parent’s business was very successful. It was the 70s and 80s, and there was a lot of money to be made. I was exposed to a diverse world of music and arts, and it provided for a fast upbringing and lifestyle. I went to clubs when I was young and had a rebellious side as a teenager. As a family, we would spend our summers and holidays at our country home in Woodstock, where the infamous festival was created. It was a very artistic town. I would not consider my parents to be hippies, but they were liberals living in a very artsy world.

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