We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Veum and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chris, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
An appropriate question giving the current global pandemic! Before the pandemic, life transitioned along with my priorities. Like a lot of people that become parents, having kids impacts your routine. Before our daughter, my wife and I were full speed ahead, career focused and worked 50-60 hour weeks regularly. The reality of parenthood caused us to realign our priorities and of course schedule. With the pandemic and Work From Home as the norm, priorities and work in general changed. Life balance changes. Our daughter is about to graduate college and it is interesting to see how she is balancing school, part time work and a potential career – she is entering unknown territory which is far different from what my wife and I encountered. So my perspective is this; the old rule was: work-life balance is about two distinct, separate worlds. It seems the new rule is: for better or worse, the line between life and work is almost entirely disappearing. Honestly, I believe that if you are passionate about what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. When you are truly connected, feel proud of your contribution, then ‘work’ is as important as home; there is a complete melding between work and life. It feels like this is the ‘new’ work life balance rule.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve read some excerpts from Seth Godin (business author) and he said about business, “You’ve got to be a purple cow.” You can’t just blend in with the herd. You have to stand out and give people something to talk about — something positive and extraordinary. Don’t settle for simply being different. Strive to be outstanding. In a creative profession like architecture, you would think, well, that is easy. Not so much. It is a complex profession. One of the exciting aspects of our practice that sets us a part is that we are always thinking ahead; we always ask ourselves, “what’s next?”. With this mindset and our subject matter experts, we can extract those little pearls of “what’s next” and share them with our clients and their projects to elevate them. For instance, we were one of the first firms in the country to utilize Virtual Reality in the design of a hospital.  We are now working with Augmented Reality; integrating the digital world of design with actual sites or spaces. What we have learned along the ways is that everything changes! The world, the economy, technology, means of communication. They all add up and we are best known for (our brand, if you will) is our ability to be nimble, be proactive, be creative and be outstanding!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First, be outside! Obviously, we are famous for our climate but there is so much more to offer around San Diego, outside. The first request is usually to see the ocean and our famous beaches. We live in Point Loma so we are partial to Sunset Cliffs! Also being next to the bay, a little paddle boarding in the bay (La Playa is perfect!) is relaxing, see the skyline, get some exercise and be in or on the water. My wife and I enjoy the multitude of waterfront restaurants and places like Coasterra and Ketch are always a hit with visitors and clients. Another classic outdoor place is Balboa Park. Recently, we walked around the park and museums and brought a backpack of food and beverages. We found a spot on one of the park lawns (socially distanced) for a chill lunch. If there are younger kids in the group, Safari Park is a fantastic experience – you get to see the animals in a more natural setting. For adults, there are wineries nearby Safari Park too!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, a big shoutout to my wife Sandra! Not only is she truly authentic (especially in a world of social media spin), she is an incredible supporter and advocate of me and my career.  She is a tremendous sounding board and voice of reason for me. Obviously, I credit my parents who gave me a great foundation.  Also, my business partner, Doug Austin, has been like a big brother. I get the benefit of learning from someone who has ‘been there’ but also, a great thinker – his no boundaries and out of the box thinking inspires me.  Finally, in want to give recognition to my Young President’s Organization (YPO) forum.  They have become my best friends.  These guys are amazing people with great minds, are supportive and keep my mind sharp by constantly learning from them!

Website: www.avrpstudios.com
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