Meet the Team | Pamela Johnson
Meet Pamela Johnson
Today, October 16th is Boss’ Day. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a dedication to Bruce Springsteen. Invented in 1958 by State Farm secretary Patricia Bays Haroski, it is in fact a day upon which employees celebrate their superiors in an attempt to lighten their heavy load for a day, make them feel appreciated and possibly secure an end of year raise. It is estimated that 40% of the world’s total boss population is made up of women. And one such female power house sits at the helm of the Oil Nut Bay team. Fearless horse woman, confidante and counselor, passionate animal advocate, outstanding interior furnisher, and easily the most stylish woman on property even in barn boots and a baseball cap please meet Oil Nut Bay’s boss behind the boss, Pamela Johnson.
Born and raised just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Pamela Johnson has been married to Oil Nut Bay visionary developer David Victor Johnson for 16 years. When not in the BVI, home is a spectacular farm in Clarkston, Michigan, that she shares with David, 18 horses and an assortment of four-legged friends. She and her team are responsible for all Oil Nut Bay resort interior finishes and furnishings. She has one daughter, one granddaughter and David’s daughter who she says is her special “gift child”. They all live in Michigan as well, which she loves.
Q: How did you come to be where you are now?
PJ: Early in our marriage, David and I purchased a Yacht and traveled all over the Caribbean. We fell in love with the North Sound and returned again and again. David has a more elaborate story of how we acquired Oil Nut Bay, but what I remember all these years ago is arriving at this enormous, beautiful, and very remote piece of property. We were picked up, put in the back of a pick-up truck and driven for miles over dirt and rock. David fell in love with the property and would spend hours describing his vision of a spectacular collection of homes in “harmony with the land”. All I saw was a lot of work! Now I look at this breathtaking place we call home and it blows me away. David clearly had the vision and it has clearly been a lot of work for both of us but I could not be more proud of what it has become and am very honored to be part of it.
Q: What is the thing you love most about ONB and the BVI?
Pamela Johnson: I love the people I have met in the BVI and Oil Nut Bay. The local residents are some of the nicest, hardest working and loyal people I have ever met and I have the utmost respect for them for so many reasons. They are also courageous and resilient. Watching how the various communities dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma humbled me deeply.
Our Oil Nut Bay home owners and guests are also a highlight for me. I have met so many extraordinary people from all over the world, many who have become lifelong friends. It’s exciting to see ONB owners from one season to the next and I always look forward to the fun we have within our family-style community.
Q: On a typical day at Oil Nut Bay, where can we find you?
PJ: When I am between decorating projects, it’s no mystery where I can be found… at the barn! Our small barn is home to some very special rescue animals and that’s where I want to be anytime I have a few minutes. It is my happy place for sure.
Q: How do you unwind after a long day of hauling furniture and hay bales?
PJ: I have several ways to unwind – one is to of course be with my animals. I also like to hit the spa, read a book, take a yoga class, drink tea, play word games, go for a walk or bike ride, sit in the pool, take a nap…. I truly have no problem relaxing when time permits.
Q: Share a work-related accomplishment you are most proud of?
PJ: I am incredibly proud of everything we have accomplished at Oil Nut Bay, but two things come to mind that I am most proud of. We built an elementary school that was destroyed by Hurricane Irma a few years ago and it was such a heartfelt accomplishment especially when the kids that attend the school toured me. They were so proud of their new classrooms, books, playground, etc. I was bursting with pride right along with them. The animal sanctuary we have is very special to me as well. We started with five rescue horses from Puerto Rico 12 years ago. These horses are incredibly grateful for the life we have provided them and I am grateful for what they have taught me and others. We have also rescued tortoises and even an emu, who we call Pat, as well as a lot of cats from both Virgin Gorda and Tortola.
One of my favorite things to do is host the local school children at the barn. I have found that most truly do not know what loving an animal can do for your soul. Animals can teach so much if you give them a chance. It’s rewarding to see how the kids go from at first being frightened around the horses, cats or dogs (if there is one at the barn) to being completely mesmerized by how the animal reacts to them. Watching the kids brush, pet, or feed them treats is very gratifying. My wish is that it will teach them what truly matters, and that is kindness.
Q: Tell us about the worst job you’ve ever had, and what you learned from it.
Pamela Johnson: I have had many, many jobs in my lifetime and never left a job without going to something bigger and better. The most memorable job I had at a very young age was as a Unit Clerk in a major hospital Emergency Room. I loved it, but talk about an education! I saw it all – good and bad.
The hardest, but also the most rewarding, job I have had was becoming and being a mom. There is nothing out there that can prepare you for it. You just do the best you can and hope they turn out perfectly. I got lucky.
Q: Tell us the last movie you watched?
PJ: I watched Mulan with my granddaughter, Stella. It is a great movie with a compelling plot. This latest version was a bit violent, in my opinion, but it’s a wonderful story about girls and how strong they can be.
Q: What book do you think everyone should read, and why?
PJ: To Kill a Mockingbird. I absolutely love this book. The first time I read it, it struck me that it’s okay not to be a girly girl. The second time I read it, it reminded me of prejudices and how they affect our society. This third time, I listened to it on Audible and loved what is an obvious classic. I believe it was a required read when I was in high school, and I hope it still is.
Q: Tell us one surprising thing about you – something no one knows.
PJ: I love sports! I grew up with a sports loving dad and three brothers. It was huge in our house – we watched sports, played sports and went to many sporting events. I learned everything about baseball, football and basketball. Professional or College it doesn’t matter, if there’s a game on, I’m there! Luckily, David loves sports as well.
Q: If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Pamela Johnson: This is a tough question for me because I would love many superpowers to accomplish so many things. I would love the power of protection – specifically to protect children from abuse. This is very dear to my heart and I have thought so much about children’s safety and wellbeing during this pandemic. For me, children and animals are gifts from God and should be loved, protected and never go hungry.
Here, in the BVI I donate and support the BVI Humane Society and PAW. There are some amazing people involved in these charities and they can really use all the help they can get. Talk about superpower, these two organizations definitely have workers with tremendous power, persistence and the biggest hearts!
Q: What’s something – big or small – you are really good at?
PJ: I love to iron! I know, very boring, huh? It’s a skill my grandmother passed on to me when I would visit her as a child and she taught me how to do it really well. It’s a mindless job but one that I take a lot of pride in.
Q: What’s something – big or small – you are really bad at?
Pamela Johnson: Cooking! I am terrible at it and I also hate trying.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pamela Johnson: Champagne and only the good stuff! Yummy!
Q: And finally, if you could give your teenage-self one piece of advice today, what would it be?
PJ: I remember as a teenager I always wanted to fit in with those I perceived as the “cool” kids. If I could give a piece of advice to my teenage-self and teenage girls today, especially those that are struggling to fit in, this is what I now know for sure: what makes you cool or pretty or sexy is not trying to be someone you aren’t or someone you see on social media. That’s neither real nor authentic. What makes you all these things is being REALLY smart and thoughtful and generous and humble and kind. Nothing else matters – I promise!
And that is why we love her.
Wishing a very happy being-in-charge day to all the bosses and the bosses behind the bosses out there!