I am a wellbody woman; Alexis Kanda-Olmstead
I serve as the Managing Director for Talent, Training & Support at Colorado State University. In this role, I lead diversity and inclusion efforts, manage career and professional development initiatives, and deliver learning programs for 150 staff in the division of University Advancement. Prior to talent management, I was involved with designing and delivering leadership development programs for undergraduate students.
Outside of CSU, I am the Founder of AKO Collective, a women’s leadership development initiative in Northern Colorado, and a regular blogger on the absurdities of modern womanhood. Outside of work and entrepreneurship, I am married with two kids and dress up like Wonder Woman on random occasions.
On Tribe: What are 2-5 things you have learned about finding your community?
Alexis: When I follow my heart and engage in the world authentically, I inevitably find my people. I’ve always been a “proximal friend” in that I enjoy pretty much everyone I meet and become fast friends with them. But as I’ve gotten more clear around my purpose (which is teaching women to be brave and lead change in the world for themselves and others), my community has expanded to include other women on this path. The power of this new community is exponential. I can mention an idea and then it grows and expands and reverberates out in the most magical way. There’s an amplification effect that happens when you find your people – your community – and it’s something I wish I’d known earlier in my life.
There’s an amplification effect that happens when you find your people
On Movement: What are your yin and yang styles of movement
Andrea: I actually took about 13 years off from any form of consistent physical activity, which led me to accidentally joining a CrossFit gym because I didn’t know what it was. (That’s a long story, but in short, I stayed for over a year and developed muscles in very interesting places.) Now, I do Spin and Pilates, which are complementary in many ways. I got into Spin because my friend teaches the class and, even though it looks crazy-hard, it’s not because you get to set the resistance and pace yourself (and no one else can tell!). Pilates is more about me getting back in touch with my body. I often find myself marveling at what my toes actually look like or what I can do with my leg. That re-orientation centers me.
On Food: What does clean eating mean to you?
Alexis: I have a couple of autoimmune diseases that made healthful eating a priority early on in my life. It’s very motivating to eat well when the alternative is pain and all-body yeast infections. So for me, that means no sugar (if you find it hard to give up sugar, please watch “That Sugar Film” and it will become VERY easy to do) and low to no carbs (again, “That Sugar Film” will help motivate you).
Other than that, I eat everything, including fast food (minus the bun), red meat, etc. My goal is to become vegetarian, but I just don’t have time for that in my life right now. Oh, and I’d like to give up Diet Coke, French fries, and wine. But whatevs.
I am a student in self-compassion, which is about giving myself the love that I so freely give to others.
On Love: What is the number one way you give love to yourself?
Alexis: Last year, I read Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. It was my attempt to deal with all of the election craziness, and my rage around it. Step 1 was to “be compassionate with yourself” and I almost laughed out loud, realizing I wouldn’t event get through the first step let alone all twelve. But I kept reading, and today, I am a student in self-compassion, which is about giving myself the love that I so freely give to others. The number one way I give love to myself is by carving out time to pursue my creative pursuits (writing, speaking, etc.). This required that I set boundaries with my family, which is also an act of self-compassion. I feel more free than ever, and all I’ve done is give myself a couple of hours.