by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography

Life in Leucadia


family_mcdermott3It was a surprise to everyone they knew when Charlie McDermott abruptly relocated his family to Boston, leaving a secure job at a large company to, in the words of his wife Jessica, “help a nascent cash-strapped biotech realize its true potential.” In the course of this new adventure, they experienced the worst two winters in 100 years, coupled with a very challenging business climate to fund and grow a small business. “However,” she smiled, “we met all the challenges head on and brought the Leucadia style with us to the cold and reserved quaint town of Wayland in New England.” The family’s love of water was carried with them, and soon they were immersed in the community, trading beach bonfires with surfing for frozen lake fires with ice skating. But they’ve returned, now closer to family and friends, “and to get back to the best place on earth.”

Parents: Charlie and Jessica McDermott
Children: Charlie (16), Jamie (13), Lachlan (11), and Dane (7)
Community: Leucadia
Hometowns: Ventura and Claremont
Occupations: Charlie – President and chief business officer of a biotech company;
Jessica – Homemaker and creator of healthy living, cooking, and entertaining media
Pet: A big dog named Ajax
Favorite Spots in 92024: 101 Diner, Leucadia Donut, Pannikin, Pandora’s Pizza, Le Papa Guyo, Fish 101, Progression Surf, Surfy Surfy, Coffee Coffee, and coffee shops
Instagram: @mangojess


What was not a surprise were circumstances behind Charlie and Jessica’s first meeting – they met surfing in Ventura the summer before college! Charlie’s parents grew up going to beaches in Long Island while Charlie and his six siblings grew up surfing in Ventura. Jessica’s parents grew up in La Jolla when it was a tiny beach town, and Jessica and her two sisters spent time at the beaches between Solimar and Rincon. Now the entire McDermott family loves to surf, and children Charlie, 16, Jamie, 13, Lachlan, 11, and Dane, 7, also enjoy traveling, hiking, cooking, bike riding, photography, and creating short movies. Charlie is now president and CBO of that biotech company in Boston, and also serves on the board of a new biotech company in Del Mar. Jessica, formerly a high school biology teacher, has transitioned to biotech sales consulting. She’s recently focused on her artistic passions and is creating a local lifestyle-inspired cookbook.


The whole family’s favorite activities are surfing and hanging out with friends. “Our beach crew has become our second family and the ease of meeting new people is what we treasure most about living here in Leucadia,” Jessica said. “When the waves and weather are nice all of our friends end up at the beach without planning and we surf together, watch each other’s kids, and share fine food and drinks well past sunset.” For the McDermott family, life in Leucadia is the perfect small-town vibe – complete with amazing weather, beaches, and people.