Fabulous People: Rebecca Staffel

As the founder of a specialty jam company and the former cookbook editor at Amazon (when the department started in 1996), Rebecca Staffel brings her love of food to her work as the director of marketing for Picnic Works in Seattle. Learn about Rebecca Staffel…

Hometown: Philomath, Oregon, but I’ve lived in Seattle since the movie “Singles” came out.

What was your first job? Beyond babysitting and housecleaning for neighbors, my first job with a W2 was at a combination graphic design/copy and print shop. I sold fancy pens and made a lot of photocopier art. Now, years later, as the director of marketing for Picnic Works, I still love fancy pens and basically work on the digital equivalent of photocopier art!

What are your favorite ways to spend your free time in WA? Shopping for dinner party ingredients at the Ballard Farmers Market; riding bikes with my husband all around town; attending events at Seattle Arts & Lectures; listening to public radio, including KSER, KNKX, KING and KEXP; drinking a fine Red Mountain Syrah; and hanging out with my friends and family by a lake or the ocean.

What is your biggest accomplishment and why? Personally: I raised a daughter who is kind, funny, generous and makes the world a better place. Professionally: I built an award-winning artisan jam business (Deluxe Foods) from scratch and then closed it five years later in a way that was satisfying. I miss being in a kitchen every day, but I’m grateful for all the people I met and lessons I learned along the way. And I still make a lot of jam each summer!

What is the biggest obstacle you overcame? I lost my confidence and sense of self in my early 30s and it took me a lot of work with a great therapist to get to the other side. At some point I was driving behind a car with a cheesy “Don’t Postpone Joy” bumper sticker and it must have been just the right moment—I embraced the mantra and found my way back to the world.

Who is someone who inspires you and why? Rebecca Hoogs, executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures. I’ve known her for 15 years. While I have moved from one career to another, she has steadily grown with and at SAL and been part of creating a world-class literary arts and educational organization. All that and she continues to work as a poet and wears the snappiest shoes on stage! I appreciate her full commitment to the mission and vision of SAL—she’s part of what makes Washington fabulous.

What is advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do? Say yes to every work opportunity that sounds fun, even if you’re not sure how to do it. You’ll figure it out. Working in marketing should be creative and interesting, even when you’re in spreadsheets.

What is your favorite quote? I’m a reader, so I have a million favorite quotes! But I think the one I cite most often is the Ben & Jerry’s motto: “If it’s not fun, why do it?”

What is something someone would be surprised to learn about you? I used to place tiny literary ads on the front page of the New York Times for with Jeff B’s personal credit card.

What makes someone fabulous? Curiosity and a sense of humor.

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