From the Tribune:

Dawn Dunlap has traveled to big cities around the globe. She's worked as a financial analyst in Manhattan. She's studied ancient Greek pottery as an archaeologist at museums in Athens, Rome, Boston and New York.

But to this Cambria native, there's no place like home.

Dunlap was raised on hard work in her beloved small town. She remembers serving tourists who came to the Central Coast back in the 1950s and '60s.

"Every able-bodied teenager in Cambria worked in a restaurant or motel," she said. "I worked as a cook at the Driftwood Café and The Brambles by the Bridge."

In the 1970s, however, the world outside Cambria beckoned. After graduation from Coast Joint Union High School, Dunlap pursued a degree in archaeology. She studied at UC Riverside, UCLA and UC Berkeley, then at the American School of Classical Studies and the British School of Archaeology in Athens.

She earned two master's degrees, but she still wanted to push her limits.

"I applied to any job that would challenge me," she said. "I was a part of the baby boom, and you really had to prove why you were special."

She went to New York and applied for a job at Gulf and Western Corp.

"I just came from studying pots in school," she said, laughing. "I never expected to get the job."

Longing for home, she returned to the Central Coast in 1981. Today, she's a real property researcher, historian and rancher, raising Charolais beef cattle with her mother, Barbara H. Walter, 10 miles west of Cambria.

"I felt that I had seen what the world had to offer, and I just knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Cambria," she said.

What was your first job, and how old were you?

My first professional job was with the Gulf and Western Corp. of New York. I was an information and financial analyst for Mr. Martin Davis. ... My job was to collect and synthesize information and financial data for all communications with stockholders. The most important part of my job was organizing the information and data for the quarterly meetings and the annual report.

I began working for Gulf and Western when I was 22 years old. I remained there for three years.

What did you like/not like about the work?

In the early 1970s, Gulf and Western Corp. was one of the early international conglomerates. It was headquartered in a 42-story skyscraper that was the sole building on Columbus Circle in Manhattan. ... The quantity and quality of global information that passed through its communication system in New York was phenomenal -- bear in mind, this was the early 1970s, long before computer systems, facsimile machines and cellular phones. ... It was an interesting and stimulating job. I was fascinated by the fact that at the time, a few dozen conglomerates controlled the world of international business.

How much did you earn? $45,000 per year.

What lessons did you learn from your first job that you can apply to your current position?

I am not sure that anything I learned at Gulf and Western is applicable to feeding cows or fixing fences. However, at every opportunity, I do encourage 20-year-olds reared in San Luis Obispo County to move to a major metropolitan area and truly try their mettle. Go after a job that seems out of reach for their age and experience. Challenge yourself while you're young. Learn your limits in the larger world and then, if you so desire, return to the slower and easier life in our area.

Is there anyone who influenced you?

There were 50 applicants when I applied to the position at Gulf and Western. I was very young, but eager, and full of energy. Mr. Martin Davis and Mr. Charles Bludhorn believed in my ability and talent and hired me. I shall be ever grateful to them for the fabulous opportunity and experience I enjoyed at Gulf and Western.