Johanna is the type of woman you inspires you after even the shortest, flyby conversation. She is kind, open and unapologetically well-read. These types of women are natural connectors so it's no surprise that despite not living in Long Beach for too long, she has made incredible relationships within the community. Here we chat about her exciting new adventure into Motherhood, her passion to help other women + how she attempts to balance life's demands.
What is your definition of a day well spent here in Long Beach?
There are so many different ways to have good days here! My perfect day starts with a walk or bike ride to Lord Windsor for a cup of coffee (decaf right now). Then I work from home which is such a dream. I love our home office. My husband Brian built all the furniture and it’s super inspiring place for me to be. Around lunch, I take a break to walk Rufio, my Maltese, down by the ocean. At 4:00 I bike over to Gym Number 4 (one of my favorite places to be) for a good hard workout. Then if it’s date night we might walk and catch a movie at the Art House Theater and grab some delish grub at Lola’s or The Social List.
How has the anticipation of becoming a Mother altered your daily routine?
Well, I've been really sick this entire pregnancy. I was put on bed rest in my first trimester and back on bed rest again, so it changed everything! I'm very independent and love connecting with close friends, and already I have had to rely on people so much more. Not to mention, my social life has pretty much disappeared. Ha! Which has actually been okay for this stage in life.
Tell us about your journey to co-founding The MEND Project. Can you walk us through the decision making process to blaze your own non-profit path?
I started The MEND Project with Annette Oltmans, our Principle Founder, in 2016, so it was well before Lila was even a thought. But helping launch a new non profit was just the perfect next step in my own career and personal journey. I have always been very passionate about fighting for human rights, I spent five years working in anti-trafficking with the largest anti-trafficking org in the world. And that was an amazing experience. But personally, I was a victim of child sexual assault and also domestic violence. What I’ve learned over the course of my life, is that it is very easy for us to see injustice taking place in other countries, but it is much more difficult to see and acknowledge abuse and injustice here in our own backyard, in our communities, families, churches, etc. So we started The MEND Project to begin addressing issues of abuse that take place here, and also to teach people how to respond to victims of abuse with compassion rather than judgement. The MEND Project is everything I wish I had as a victim of abuse desperately searching for clarity and answers. So, for me it was a no-brainer to jump in and help Annette start it and hopefully help other women and children who have gone through similar circumstances find healing and redemption. I’m so excited already by the incredible response we have received!
Your life is very full! What are your favorite ways to take time for yourself?
I read a lot. Like devour novels. I pray every day, and I gotta get my nails done every two weeks. Hannah at Rex Nails is the best.
*Currently on Johanna's nightstand are two interesting books - Lianne Moriarty's The Husband's Secret and Richard Rohr's The Enneagram.
Looking forward to sharing more about this multi-faceted trailblazer and soon-to-be-Mommy on the blog next week (and Rufio, too, naturally)!