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

Hi barbara, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is necessary, it can be the difference between overall failure and success. The paradigms are changing so rapidly in the digital age and the pandemic has accelerated e-commerce. Risk is taking chances, exploring something new, stretching the boundaries all the while not knowing the ultimate outcome or having any kind of guarantee. I do, however, believe in ‘calculated risk’. What I mean by that is when I am considering a ‘risky’ venture or new direction, I pause to consider the worst case outcome. Can I afford to fail? Is the upside more rewarding than the downside is negative? That calculation makes all the difference in moving forward. I firmly believe that if individuals and companies do not retain flexibility and fluidity in this moment of time, we will decline. Things are moving and changing too quickly now and change is uncomfortable, risky and so rewarding.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Balance! I love my job and I love my company, Athena Designs. It was important to learn to schedule personal events, time off and daily work-outs with the same gusto as I would a business project. As I worked to build my company, I started realizing – with the help of friends and family- that I was out of whack. Personal time feeds my creativity, gives me perspective and greater clarity. It was hard at first to step back and trust that time and space away would make the business even stronger. And it has and life has become so much richer.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start with a walk from my house along the beach to the Riviera Village of Redondo Beach, sampling the restaurants and visiting the boutiques. Then in the afternoon, a drive up to Terranea Resort with sweeping views to be had along the way. A walk along the grounds with the site of the ocean makes you feel like you are far away from a city. To end that day, drinks and dinner at Nelson’s. Then off for days’ get away up the coast towards Malibu and turning inland with Ojai as the first stop. I love to stay at the Blue Iguana in Ojai where the accommodations are like little cabins that are comfortable and spacious. Lots of hiking trails in Ojai, restaurants and galleries. Don’t miss out on a visit to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. Next stop, a drive to Santa Barbara through the back roads along State route 150. Lots to see and do in Santa Barbara. Onward to the wine country via State Route 154 to Los Olivos crossing the San Marcos Pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Were it not for the pandemic, this trip would include trips to the Getty Center, the Arts District in DTLA and a stop at Grand Central Market for something to eat.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It would not be possible to accomplish success in my business without my staff. We are part of a team and who that team is, is far greater than any one of us. If each of us is doing the best we can , we accomplish more as a team than as individuals. It is so important to respect, listen to and acknowledge my staff. I understand that no matter what ideas or projects I come up with, none of it can happen fully or successfully without each of us working together. The other shoutout is to my spiritual compass; making sure that whatever I do, the process is always more important than the outcome. Am I respecting myself and others, am I acting with integrity, is what I am doing a win/win situation and am I striving for excellence? If those guideposts are met, then I can really feel successful and satisfied.

Website: https://www.athenadesigns.com/
Instagram: @athenadesigns
Facebook: @athenadesigns
Other: customerservice@athenadesigns.com

Image Credits
Model; Thalia Carlini Me at a winery in the Santa Ynez Valley

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.