We had the good fortune of connecting with Annika Walden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annika, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I used to think that my energy would be boundless or inconsequential when I started out in my career. I would choose work over almost anything, including eating at times. I thought my work ethic was a reflection of my identity and my level of success would determine my sense of self worth. Little did I know, this leads to burnout, which happened twice by the time I was 25. So the day of reckoning came, after some serious introspection I realized that a brand or company existed before me and will after, so I needed to stop taking things so darn serious. Life and work should be challenging and FUN, if there is an imbalance it shows.
Over time I’ve become more comfortable at communicating what I need to be successful and have paid a good amount of attention to how my work flow functions. It’s been super helpful to understand what I need to do to stay creative and motivated. If it means scheduling in workouts or networking lunches, or turning off my phone on Sundays, every little bit matters. The word balance really means prioritization to me personally, if your health and longevity are priorities, you will make the time to for it. When in balance, I feel magnetic, when out of balance, I feel isolated. Regularly checking in with myself and evaluating my state of being has really helped me balance my personal yin and yang.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently working as Executive Director at the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association, a community based non-profit that protects the cultural legacy of Leucadia. What sets me apart are my relationships, I’ve been super blessed to be surrounded by a community of talented people who are in it for all the right reasons. I am excited about bringing people back together again and create events that remind us of the reasons we are ALL together in this. I’ve done my best to stay open to flow and career moves, I think must positions are what you make of them. Yes, challenges have been a huge part of my journey. A huge lesson I have learned is that if things are going to poop, and you look around and there is no life boat, it’s your job to build it.
I would like people to know that it’s the little guys that create a sense of place, it’s the mom and pops, the quirky individuals, and people who show up to your city council meetings. Don’t take a community for granted, it takes work to make places special and they need protecting.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am so biased since I am up on North County but I will do my best to be fair.
Monday- Beach day at Beacons Beach in Leucadia, bring a fish burrito down with you from Haggos, wonder up to the Modern Times for a nice sunset beer or flight tasting. For dinner stop by Casa De Quero for some Peruvian delicacies.
Tuesday- Do a morning yoga session at Gather Yoga Studio, grab a juice from Fully Loaded Juicers right next door or after session coffee at Lofty Coffee. After your libations walk over to Lou’s Records and make a quick stop at Bing Surfboards to check out their surfboard inventory. For lunch stop in at local bakery Prager Brothers and grab one of their pre-made sandwiches. Stop in at Solterra Winery for a glass of wine and paella at dinner
Wednesday- Take a nice long walk from Swamis to Cardiff on the Coastal Rail Trail, stop in at Waverly for their burger or kale salad and afternoon cocktail. Set up camp again at Cardiff State Beach and then meander on over to Los Olas for a sunset margarita and Mexican food.
Thursday- Take a slow morning and grab some breakfast at Good On Ya, do some local shopping in downtown Encinitas then head down south to Balboa Park for a late afternoon museum day. Once the sun is starting to set, check out Panama 66 for some live jazz in their sculpture garden.
Friday- Go for a nice hike at Torrey Pines, maybe even play some golf if you are lucky. Head over to Rancho Valencia for a nice spa treatment and pool side lounge. Grab a cocktail in the Pony Bar and enjoy the sunset.
Saturday- Spend the day in little Italy at the Farmers Market. Head down to Barrio Logan for some Italian food at Ciccia Osteria. Take the bridge over to Coronado for a nice beach hang and walk along the waterfront. For dinner head back to little Italy for some oysters and lobster rolls at Ironside Fish & Oyster.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a big shout out to my Board of Directors from the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association. Their constant trust in my abilities and words of encouragement has given me so much confidence and strength. I also want to extend a big thank you to Kevin Doyle who has held space for me as a young female leader, and has been such a great support system for my career. THANK YOU!
Colin Leibold – all event photography except my bio photo