Get to Know… Julie Jacobson

June 14, 2011

Julie Jacobson is the spouse of the U.S. Ambassador to Canada

You can contact her through the US Embassy website.


What do you actually do in your job? It’s not a job, it’s more of a “position”, i.e. I don’t get paid.  But I work very hard to support the U.S. mission in whatever way I can.  Practically every day is different: I host and attend a LOT of functions in the diplomatic, political, business and cultural communities;  I engage with many organizations in my community, mainly book-related, including sitting on several boards and occasionally giving speeches; I oversee the management of the residence; and I pitch in at the Embassy as needed.

What is the hardest thing about your job? It’s not hard.  It’s almost always exhilarating and fun.

What do you most enjoy about it? The incredible people that I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend.

Where were you born and raised? Des Moines, Iowa

What did you study? B.A. in history.  Advanced degrees in law and in interior design.

What was your first job and what path led you to your work today? I was a page to Governor Robert Ray of Iowa in the late 1970’s.  I’ve been interested in government and politics ever since.

What is the best advice you received in the course of your career? When I graduated law school, David convinced me to become a corporate lawyer instead of a litigator.  Good call.  I have a very low tolerance for stress.

Looking back, what are you most proud of? Obvious answer: raising two children who have such wonderful hearts.  In my work life, my willingness to keep trying new things.

When and how do you start your day? I usually wake up around 7:00.  I reach over for my iPhone and read emails while still half-asleep.

Blogs or websites you find interesting or useful: NY Times, Washington Post, Politico Playbook and for fun the Borowitz Report.

Where are you most likely to be found when you’re not working? Curled up with a book or at Pilates class.

If you had an alternative career, what would it be? Editor at a large publishing house.

Favorite sports team? The lovable losers: Chicago Cubs.

Who is your hero or heroine? Barack Obama.  Of course.

Drink of choice? Diet Dr. Pepper.  A glass of Brunello wine.  But never at the same time.

Hobbies? Reading (you probably guessed that by now), NYT Crossword puzzle, cross-country skiing (new hobby acquired in the past year)

What is one worthwhile book you read in the past year? That’s a hard one, I love a lot of books.  But probably my favorite in the past year is David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet.  What a storyteller, I couldn’t put it down.

What is one thing you’d like to learn more about? Playing an instrument

What is your favorite place in Canada and your favorite place in the US? Somewhat unoriginal, I know, but I love the city that has been my home for 25 years, Chicago.  It has everything.  If the weather was better, the whole world would want to live there.  It’s dangerous to answer that question with respect to Canada because we have travelled all over and I have found something to love everywhere we’ve gone.  But the place that most took my breath away is Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.

What is one thing you’d like to tell Canadians about the U.S., and/or one thing you’d tell Americans about Canada? I’d like to tell Americans to learn more about Canada and to travel beyond Montreal and Toronto (although I love both of those cities).    There are so many spectacular places here to visit!


Also Get to Know… David Jacobson, David Archibald, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Connect2Canada, Perrin Beatty,David Biette, John ParisellaSheldon AlbertsDanielle DroitschLee-Anne GoodmanDavid Wilkins, Christy Cox, Chris Sands, Birgit Matthiesen,  Scotty Greenwood, Luiza Ch. Savage


On Twitter at luizachsavage