Yvonne Woytovich, president and CEO of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, was born in a small farming community in northeast Pennsylvania and lived there until she graduated from high school. After high school she moved to Philadelphia and attended art school and then studied at Keystone College prior to transferring to California University of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh where she earned a B.A. in English.

She moved back to northeast Pennsylvania and got a job as a librarian at Keystone College before eventually moving to Fort Irwin. After spending 3 1/2 years at the Army post north of Barstow, Woytovich purchased a house in Apple Valley and shortly thereafter went to work for the San Bernardino County Library. She worked at Montclair, Barstow and Victorville libraries before leaving to pursue other endeavors.

In April of 2007, she was hired as the executive for the Hesperia Chamber where she currently serves as the president/CEO.

Woytovich recently moved to Hesperia with her two dogs, and now hase the luxury of living and working in the same city.

Q: Describe a special memory you have of Hesperia.

A: The best memory I have of Hesperia was celebrating my 40th birthday with friends and family at Hesperia Lake Park. We picnicked and camped, and it was a day filled with fun and love.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I am a geek. I have spent my free time in the past 20 years learning about technology. I have taken classes, worked through hundreds of tutorials, and read numerous books on everything from graphic design, Photoshop, web design, and programming. I have also participated in Photoshop battles online with other artists, which has helped improve my skills tremendously.

Q: Tell us one thing that most people don't know about you.

A: I marry people. I was deputized in 2000 to perform weddings in San Bernardino County as part of my job at the time. Now I am ordained and continue to perform those services, mostly for friends and family.

Q: What is your passion?

A: Learning and teaching. I love to learn. I am constantly exploring new places, taking classes or tutorials, and reading. More than that, I love to share with others. Nothing brings more joy to me than when I have had an opportunity to teach someone something that makes their life better in some way whether it's technological, business-related, spiritual, or emotional. Making a difference is incredibly fulfilling.

Q: Where do you get your values from?

A: The Platinum Rule (It is a step above the Golden Rule.) Do unto others more than you would ask them to do unto you. I find that you can often make someone else's day better by doing that, and the payback is invaluable.

Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?

A: My closest friends. In recent years I have faced a few challenges, and the love and support of my close friends gave me a level of comfort I have never experienced before in my life. The importance of good friends cannot be underestimated.

Q: What is your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?

A: I've always been an optimist. Even in my darkest hours, I knew that things could be better. I am grateful that I have the strength and courage to do what it takes to weather the storms and pursue a better life.

Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?

A: Experience the joy of giving to others. It is more powerful than you'll ever know.

Q: What is the best thing about your job?

A: The best thing about my job is when people thank me for helping them. When I first applied for the job and was hoping to get it, I thought it would be awesome to have a job where I could make a difference on a bigger scale than what I imagined I ever would. After being here for over four years, I am finally through the learning curve and able to do just that. Now, when people thank me for helping them in some way, it is truly rewarding. That desire to make a difference drives every day at work for me.

Q: Tell us about the charities that are close to your heart and why.

A: Susan G. Komen is my No. 1 charity because my mother is a survivor of breast cancer. I know how early detection and education can make a difference in a woman's life. I also support local organizations because I wish to make a difference in my community.

Q: What's your favorite movie and why?

A: I love comedies. Laughter is powerful. There are so many good ones, I can't narrow it down. But I can say my love of comedy started with the original "Airplane" movie with Leslie Nielsen. I still find myself quoting from it after all these years. There are also many more that I enjoy.

Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about Hesperia.

A: My favorite thing about Hesperia is the feeling of community in the city. People that live and work here are truly dedicated to the community and often work extra hard to support each other and make this a place they are proud to call home. My favorite place in Hesperia is Hesperia Lake Park. I love to take my dogs there.

Q: What book had a significant impact on you?

A: Recently, the book that really changed my life was "Boom! 7 Choices For Blowing the Doors Off Business-As-Usual" by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg. It really got through to me that I make the choices that impact my life and that I can control those choices. Although it is a business book, it applied to my personal life as well and has made a tremendous difference in how I act and react to just about everything.

Q: Tell us about a special vacation.

A: I am about to take it. In October I am traveling to China with a good friend and am really looking forward to learning about another culture.

Q: What makes you tick?

A: Solving problems, figuring things out, and making things work. I am very analytical and like to understand how things work. In some ways it is beneficial because I have good skills like attention to detail and seeing things from various perspectives. It can be a hindrance because I tend to be a perfectionist. My goal is to find the balance.

Q: What are five things you can't live without?

A: My doggies. My friends and family. My gadgets (iPad, smartphone, etc.). Alone time. And love.

Q: What's your favorite sports team and why?

A: I am a black and yellow girl all the way. After going to college near Pittsburgh and living amongst some of the most loyal sports fans ever, it's in my blood to cheer for the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates.

Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.

A: I'm kind of simple actually. I just want to be the best person I can be. I try to learn something every day and make improvements where I can.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?

A: Chateau Chang. I love the atmosphere and Jan, the owner. My favorite is the Louis Latour Grand Ardeche Chardonnay with lobster thermidor.

Q: What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

A: Cupcakes. Everyone knows that. I am a huge fan of the cupcake. Cupcakes are portable, sweet, and fun. They can also be quite cute.

Q: Tell us about a happy memory in your first car.

A: Cars were much simpler in those days, and I burned through radiator hoses regularly. The happy memory for me is being able to fix my car on the side of the road. A 1979 Chevy Chevette.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: Doing bigger and better things with my life than I am right now. Hopefully, I will learn how to master my time and have opportunities to explore more places and learn.

Q: How can readers get a hold of you?

A: I can be contacted through the Chamber Office at (760) 244-2135.

Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at Editor@HesperiaStar.com.