10 Qs with Annika Walden of Cardiff 101

10 Questions is an Encinitas Advocate feature spotlighting interesting people in the community.

Annika Walden became executive director of Cardiff 101 Main Street in August 2015 after assisting with program development, graphic design, and social media over the past few years as assistant director.

A native of Encinitas, she graduated from the University of Lund in Sweden with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology. Her experience includes Main Street Associations, public relations firms and marketing agencies in San Diego, where she collaborated in creative and engagement efforts such as Encinitas Street Fair, Farmers Markets, and Encinitas Bike to Work Day.

Walden seeks to grow and expand Cardiff 101 while sustaining social wellness, economic development and environmental programs that leave an impact in North San Diego County.

What brought you to Encinitas?

I was born and raised in Encinitas. My first house was on Normandy Hill Lane behind Weidner’s Gardens. They used to have chickens and a rooster on their property. I have fond memories chasing those poor hens around … I hope they have forgiven me by now.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

Nothing … Encinitas is perfect. In all seriousness, I would like to see safer bike lanes, more walkable streets, and better usage of open space. The few things I truly miss about my stint in Europe was the accessibility to public transportation, outdoor dining, and the cheese.

Who or what inspires you?

Oh dear … I feel like this is a make-or-break question. I try not to idolize people too much, but “what” inspires me does come from the human soul and its laughter. There is nothing really better then having a deep-bellied laugh with good people, good wine, and delicious food. Pretty much any Julia Roberts film gets me going. She is just magical, and that laugh!

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

Bill Murray, Jose Mujica, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. The deceased would include: Otis Redding, Pablo Neruda, Richard Harris and Eleanor Lambert.

What are your favorite movies?

“The Life Aquatic” and “Darjeeling Limited,” directed by Wes Anderson.

What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do, and what’s the most rewarding?

The most challenging aspect of my job has been learning that is it impossible to please everyone. When you serve a large community, it can be hard to adhere to the needs of every individual, but that is what makes the job interesting. I have definitely learned to be diplomatic and patient.

The most rewarding aspect of the job is the sense of community I experience every day. During my last event (The Cardiff Surf Classic), it was amazing to see all the Cardiff families down at the beach watching their children surf and mingle with one another. It really was a beautiful weekend.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy surfing, reading, lots of yoga and drinking fine wines.

What is it that you most dislike?

That is an easy question: Cruelty to others.

What do you hope to accomplish next?

I would like to come up with a creative way to highlight our wonderful parks in Cardiff. I am so proud the city of Encinitas chose Glen Park to be the first organically managed park!

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Soft on nature, soft on you.

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