Getting Personal: Danville visitors bureau worker Jeanie Cooke

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I typically get up at 6:30 a.m., feed my dog, check personal and business e-mail, respond when appropriate, check my calendar for the day, and grab a cup of coffee. I can usually make that last an hour, which means I then have to rush the rest of my morning to get to the office.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? Who with?
Big day! Lunch today was with the office staff to celebrate our sales director Anne Sacheli's birthday. The location will be decided, in route, by Anne. Danville offers us a lot of great choices!

What's your best high school memory?
Boys' basketball games – great team – great fun. We played in the state semifinals at Hinkle Field House, where they shot "Hoosiers." I still have that scrapbook!

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.
Tennis shoes, definitely. They should be the only shoes allowed!

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
Sitting on the patio, in warm weather, reading a great book.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?
This is a tough one – it was not unusual for me to read two books a day! I'm not sure I had a favorite and I still have a number of them. So, I will go with "Misty of Chincoteague" (see, I still know how to spell it!), which I recently ordered for my granddaughter, not wanting to give up my own copy.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?
Back to Maine for the scenery and the seafood.

Tell me about your favorite pet.
I have always had a pet, so many were my favorite at the time. Right now, my 90-pound boxer, Tucker, is No. 1 on the list. He has everything you want in a best friend.

Have you discovered as you matured that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?
I lost my dad at 10, but rather suspect I have many of his characteristics – like loving baseball. I strive to be more like my mother, whom my children refer to as Saint Noie.

What would you order for your last meal?
Loving nearly all food, picking one would be impossible.

What can you NOT live without?
Friends, dog, family and baseball – do I have to pick one?

Who do you have on your iPod?
I have Broadway, classical, country and oldies music. I like every kind of music except hard rock and progressive jazz.

What's the happiest memory of your life?
Like all moms, the birth of my children and grandchildren.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, what three people would you invite?
Ryne Sandberg for his baseball connection and his class, Newt Gingrich for his knowledge of history (have you read "Pearl Harbor"?), and Ned Colletti to find out how he got from sports writer in Danville to general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. How's that for eclectic?

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit.

What's your best piece of advice?
You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit.

What was your first job, and how much did you make an hour?
Washing dishes in a restaurant. Minimum wage – and it was a LOT less then. If memory serves me, $0.50!

What was a pivotal decision in your career, and how did you arrive at that decision?
How lucky I have been! I've loved everything I have done in my checkered career and have learned a tremendous amount from each experience. All of the experiences led to where I am right now. Tourism is the best field in the world. In spite of that, it was never about a decision, but about whether or not to open a door and walk through when opportunity presented itself.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?
Doesn't everyone? My problem is which one to admit to!

How do you handle a stressful situation?
Most important – I try not to react to the situation before taking time to breathe and reflect.

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