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Anika Horn

The parent trap

Published about 2 months ago • 5 min read

Welcome to the 79th issue of Impact Curator! I curate this fortnightly newsletter for all of you who believe in transforming their community by amplifying the impact of the change makers around them.
Was this newsletter forwarded to you? You deserve your own, sign up here!

Good morning Reader,

Last Saturday, I was driving through the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley along I-11 while heavy snow hit my windshield. My husband and daughter were at a basketball game on the other side of the mountain (Go Hoos!) and I was determined to make the most of my afternoon to myself. I stopped for coffee and a truffle chocolate the size of a golf ball at Valley Pike Farm Market and finally made my way to a little home goods boutique in Dayton, VA, a tiny town 30 minutes north of Staunton.

Not that I NEED another set of salt and pepper shakers and tasteful tea towels - but that wasn't the point of my trip.

The point was to enjoy something I wanted to do for the experience alone. Not to be productive (I considered writing this newsletter instead of taking myself on this little trip). Or to catch up on housework (what would it be, the pile of laundry that lives rent-free in my living room or the counters that won't stay free of crumbs for more than 10 minutes?). Or even to use my alone time to speak on the phone without interruption. I wanted to blast music in my car and hear myself think.

Over the last months, a friend of mine gave birth to her third child (peak exhaustion), another one is recovering from burnout and a third one just launched a go-fund-me to help pay her bills because she is the single parent to two children under six with no financial support.

I feel as though the challenge of parenting while keeping our lives, families, romantic relationships and careers on rails is pressing in on me and - especially - the mothers around me. To keep my ahead above water, I look for little ways to check in with myself and see where I can carve out time for the things that infuse some joy into my life.

For the first time in years, I took a class to learn a new skill on Sunday (let's just say I was born to macrame). I'm attending a book reading with some girlfriends next weekend and I bought myself a ticket to a one-woman show at the local theatre in two weeks.

I am well aware that these little treats are more self-soothing than selfcare but in the day-to-day life of work and family, they allow me to check in with myself and prioritize fun over responsibilities every now and then.

With all this being said, responsibilities and fun have been overlapping quite a bit over the last few weeks. I've been really enjoying my work projects and have lots of exciting updates and what's going on between my ears, on my desk and on my calendar:


Between my ears

Life, most recently: Things I'm excited about, pondering and trying out:

  • Leading up to said book reading next week, I've been devouring the Finlay Donovan series by Elle Cosimano. These are super light reads and perfect for a cold winter weekend or to throw into your beach bag come summer!
  • Remember I mentioned The 7 Moons of Maali Almeida in my last newsletter? This is the opposite of a light read so make sure you're in a good place when you start this story about the gruesome nature of humanity.
  • Shout-out to Debbie Irwin - the first-ever guest on my podcast and now former boss! Not only did she just take on a new role as managing director at Lighthouse Labs RVA but she and her husband just opened their first business together. After several nerve-wrecking months of raising capital, they opened the doors to the Manufactory Collective last Friday! Here's a little appreciation post in case you missed it.
  • Over the winter months, I've really gotten into three shows:
    • Ted Lasso (we got apple tv only to watch this)
    • The latest season of Fargo (feat. John Hamm and Keely from Ted Lasso)
    • The most recent season of True Detective (Jodi Foster y'all!)

On my desk

What I'm working on right now:

  • Two weeks ago, I travelled to Portland, Oregon, to kick off the Economic Recovery Corps program. 65 Fellows (from 1,400+ applications) will be placed with 65 economic development organizations around the US (including the territories of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands) to foster economic prosperity in these communities. For us, that means welcoming Gabrielle Cash to our Ecosystem Team and I'm so excited to grow our capacity!
  • We are less than three months from hosting the Startup Champions Network Summit here in the Valley. I've been scouting locations, recruiting speakers and developing content formats that focus on relationship building. If you're an ecosystem builder who wants to see how we do what we do locally, come join us for 2.5 days of live case studies, camaraderie and collaborative problem-solving!
  • CreativeMornings Shenandoah Valley is back! Last Friday, we hosted our first official event of 2024 and heard from Leah Kyaio at Blue Ridge Community College. We even made it onto the local evening news which you can watch here:

Featured Episode

On seasons in life

Enjoy this conversation with Candace-Dalmagne Rouge - startup enthusiast, Zebra and mother of twins.


On my radar

I come across a lot of resources that I want to share with fellow ecosystem builders and changemakers. If we're connected on LinkedIn or Instagram, they might already show up in your feed! In case you missed any, here's my curated list from the last two weeks:

My friends at EcoMap and Forward Cities are recruiting their first cohort of emerging ecosystem builders for the P.L.A.C.E. Builders Fellowship that supports changemakers dedicated to fostering a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem in the places that they call home.

They are actively searching for 8 fellows around the country who are passionate about building community through mutual love of place, being a prolific connector of people and resources, and breaking down barriers in the name of equity and accessibility. You can nominate a Fellow, apply yourself, or make yourself available as a mentor.

The wonderful and very knowledgeable Amy Beaird (who my listeners met in Logbook #2)writes a phenomenal newsletter for ecosystem builders called the Ecosystem Builder's Edge that I've been sending to people since I signed up. If you want to learn from one of the best in the field, sign up here!

Mark your calendars for 2024:


I will be back in your inbox in two weeks!

In camaraderie,

Anika

Anika Horn

I'm an ecosystem builder for social change. I love telling the stories of systemic changemakers around the world who make their communities a better place to live, work and play.

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