Globetrotting ad specialist settles at the COURIER

When new COURIER Classified Sales Manager Jessica Gustin says she loves Claremont, she knows what she’s talking about. As the daughter of a career navy man, she has shopped around, living all over the globe during the course of her 23 years.

Ms. Gustin, who was born in Virginia, earned her communications degree at Sonoma State University amid the lush California wine country. Before that, she lived in Ventura for a decade, the longest she’s stayed in one place.

California is just the beginning of her geographic history.

From age 6 to 9, Ms. Gustin lived in Atsugi, Japan, a 40-minute drive from Tokyo, where her father was stationed at the Naval Air Facility. From there, the newspaper’s latest hire relocated to Hawaii for a 3-year stretch on the island of Oahu, where her father was stationed at Kaneohe Bay.

Ms. Gustin, who came to roll with the punches, attributes her adapitlity to her mother Anne, who she says can make the best of any situation.

Being a “military brat”—a lifestyle that requires going from place to place, regularly changing schools and cultures—can have one of 2 effects,  Ms. Gustin said. You can become embittered, or you can become “a super-extroverted person who makes friends easily.”

Ms. Gustin, who impressed COURIER publisher Peter Weinberger and managing editor Kathryn Dunn with her sunny disposition as well as her obvious smarts, falls into the latter category.

“I love it,” she says of her nomadic youth. “You only get one chance to make that impression, to make friends and make people like you. I think it made me very outgoing and very vocal.”

Once again in a new locale, this time the newspaper office on Claremont Boulevard just north of the Claremont Colleges, Ms. Gustin’s sociability will come in handy. Her job entails constant communication as she helps people place classified ads, solicits new advertisers and assists the office manager in fielding phone calls during the many days the COURIER phone is ringing off the hook.

It’s a busy job, but Ms. Gustin, who dreams of an eventual career crafting advertising campaigns, sees the COURIER as a great next step.

 “It’s the foot in the door I’ve been looking for,” she said.

Before this job, Ms. Gustin, an avid swimmer, spent 7 years in aquatics, starting as a lifeguard. Most recently, she served as the aquatics director at the Covina YMCA. Ms. Gustin’s boyfriend, Zachary Pfahler, who she met at Sonoma State, still works at the Covina Y.  

He was an art history major, and aspires to work as a museum curator. She minored in art, which means the couple shares arty interests like visiting museums. He’s into modern art, things that have “boxes and lines,” while her taste runs to the Renaissance and Rococo periods.

Their differences, she said, “ruined my dream of living in Italy near the Vatican.”

From such aesthetic divergences to a childhood with a Texas-born, career military father, Ms. Gustin is used to negotiating different opinions. As a result, she’s not too apprehensive about the inevitable frustrated customer. For the most part, however, Ms. Gustin, who describes Claremont as “this little Sonoma-type, San Francisco-style town within the desert,” can expect a warm welcome.

“It’s really comfortable and inviting. It feels like a family,” she said of the close-knit COURIER office.

It’s undeniable: the COURIER workday has been known to devolve into an impromptu chat session. Newsroom employees can look forward to hearing about Ms. Gustin’s hobbies: crafty pursuits like jewelry-making and stamping. Ms. Gustin has also acquired a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes from her far-flying upbringing.

She experienced the very real phenomenon of “rock fever” while living in Oahu, an island that can be traversed during an hour’s drive. Of her time in Japan, she notes that her experiences were both metropolitan (riding the crowded, lightning-fast Tokyo subways) and bucolic (feeding squirrels at a Buddhist  temple and visiting a mountain village whose entire population crafts remarkable wooden toys.)

 “It was just amazing,” she said of her time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

This well-traveled new addition has continued her tradition of making good first impressions. The general consensus is that she will be a delightful addition to the COURIER staff.

Ms. Gustin is equally optimistic.

“I’ll have a lot of room to grow here,” she said

—Sarah Torribio


Coming up: A profile of our new staff reporter Sarah Torribio


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