This is Julie "Jukie" Mecteau, from Toronto.
Jukie is 35 years old and grew up on the South shore of Quebec City. When she was 24 years old, she left Quebec City to move to Australia for two years. When she came back, she settled in Montreal, moved briefly to New York city for her wine studies, and eventually made the move to settle in Toronto. Jukie is what we call a restaurant kid. She literally grew up in them. Her father owned 11 restaurants over the 35 years of his hospitality career. She started to work for her dad when she was 15 years old and worked all the positions in his restaurants. Subsequently, Jukie developed a very deep understanding of our industry from a very young age.
When she was in her early twenties, she took a turn towards the wine world and studied to become a sommelier. Then she moved to Australia for a couple of years. She learned a lot about the cocktail culture over there, they were quite ahead of us back then. When she came back, she realized that she didn’t really know how to talk about wines in English so she moved to Montreal to do her WSET 2. She loved it so much that she decided to pursue with her WSET 3, which she did in NYC. Upon her return, she got a wonderful job opportunity at Montreal’s famous restaurant Garde Manger, where she worked behind the bar with Sam Turp. She did her Master Sommelier level 1 and also became the assistant-sommelier of Jessica Midlash. Eventually, she got an offer to open a new project as the head sommelier and general manager. Unfortunately, the new project didn’t succeed, but it was nonetheless a great learning opportunity. It led her to take a job at Pullman, one of the most iconic wine bars of the city.
Eventually, Jukie made the move to become a brand ambassador. She was approached by Rezin Agency, who had just created their first spirits ambassador position and wanted Jukie to take it. Of course, she was up for the challenge and she loved it. She was the ambassador of the agency’s whole portfolio, which included Tromba. She would go to Toronto to work events for Tromba and felt a particular connection both to the city and the brand. She decided to move to Toronto and worked for another agency for a while. Eventually, Tromba had an opening and offered her a position as the National Brand Development Manager, which of course she accepted. If a big part of her job is to build rapports with her accounts and do some brand education, since covid hit she tackled the marketing side of things and developed a specific focus on social media and marketing strategies.
Altogether, Jukie is one of the people that is incredibly present and involved in our community. If you haven’t met her in person or on social media, little effort will bring you to her since she is kind of everywhere in the friendliest and most flamboyant ways. She’s one of these people that seem like they have more hours than most of us to accomplish things in a day. This being said, Jukie is also not afraid to talk about how difficult it is to have a balanced life in our industry. She often reminds us of the importance of physical activities to stay both physically and mentally healthy. Overall, she has a very inspiring path in our industry. We are very glad to be able to share it with you and hope it will go on inspiring others.
A little bit more about Julie...
The three words that describe her best: ADHD – passionate – workaholic
Fun fact about her: She has a phobia of fish.
Something she has yet to achieve on her life to do list: To be perfectly fluent in Spanish.
The biggest lesson that her job taught her: It’s the work of a life, but it’s learning to let things go. Letting go is very difficult when you care and are passionate about what you do.
An advice she offers future brand ambassador: There are a few...
1- Go towards products that you love, it’s has to be passion driven.
2- Know your shit. If you don’t, acknowledge it, find the answer and follow up.
3- Surround yourself by people, build a circle, be active on social media and create a name for yourself.