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

Hi Ejay, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I got my first job at thirteen years old and I haven’t stopped working since. New York City raised me with a hustle that I could not get rid of. Having five jobs made me feel useful and capable, as if the world acknowledged me as a human being. I was needed. I measured my value by my ability to provide results.

A few years ago, I noticed my relationships with my friends, family and partner was on the decline. I realized I wasn’t even happy even though I was doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do with my career. I made the decision to prioritize “play” and “joy” in my life again. So every week my dog Roxi and I go on an adventure together; hiking, beach runs, playing in the park, and extremely long walks. One weekend a month, I spend quality time with my big brother, sometimes we surf or play video games and sometimes we just sit at home watching movies.

Every six months or so, I’ve also added a solo adventure (well almost solo, Roxi comes with me everywhere I go). I plan a few weeks of travel and backpacking. When I get home and start working again, I can’t help but feel a buzz in the air, as if the colors of life are brighter, or the sound of work being done is a musical. I still have some things I need to work on, but I’ve been getting better and better at managing my work life balance.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create games and activities that reveal people’s strengths. Working with children taught me that it doesn’t matter how old we are, we can learn at any age using the same techniques. The dialogue changes a bit, but there’s always a common theme that becomes visible after a bit of play.

School was a very difficult place for me as a child, I had a hard time learning in the public school system. My older brother and sister put in extra time to help teach me things that I couldn’t learn on my own, but eventually, I found myself in Special Education. I didn’t want that to keep happening to kids just because they’re having a hard time adjusting to the curriculum, so I decided to create a way to give students some extra tools for learning. Metaphors, stories, myths, these are all things that everyone can’t help but be interested in. It’s used in video games, movies, television, comic books, literature, etc.

Philip Folsom and his wife Tanya started a Youth Development program within Wolftribe and asked me to be a partner. We work with a Wolf Sanctuary called Apex Protection Program and teach kids how to be more resilient. Like a Wolf. We even introduce them to some of the rescues at Apex. I love the work I do, I get to see the hope in our future generation.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d start in Little Tokyo, very easy walk and if you know the area, plenty of parking. I love the ramen at Rakkan Ramen and Mr. Ramen. Depending on how I’m feeling I bounce between the two. We’d walk through the Japanese Village Plaza and get dessert at one of the Bakeries there, like Yamazaki Bakery, or get ice cream at Mikawaya. The food in the entire area is great and I just enjoy the experience. Then we’d walk to Angel City Brewery and play some games while trying the different brews they have.

For a beach day I’d take them to Point Dume, I love the water there, and I’d surprise them with a rock-climbing adventure because it’s rare to be able to climb on a big volcanic rock next to the ocean. Then we can relax in the secluded area, Pirate’s Cove, that’s my favorite place to relax. On the way home I usually stop by Malibu Seafood, I know it’s a little pricey, but I love their lobster rolls. I have bikes and skates so exploring the bike path from Temescal to Marina Del Rey is a ton of fun too, especially if you’re not from here.

I’d also sprinkle some casual hikes in there, Runyon, Malibu Creek State Park, Kenneth Hahn, but if they’re ready, I’d also like to take them to Mount Baldy. There’s nothing like reaching the 10,000 ft. summit and then being back in LA like there’s a big mountain in our back yard.

I miss dancing and when things open up again, The Federal Bar in North Hollywood has these events on Tuesday nights with a live band. On Thursdays they play throwback hip hop and a lot of dancers used to hang out there. Break Room 86 in Korea town was another one of my favorites, they also had a fun Thursday night with performers and a great DJ.

One place I always take my friends to is The Last Bookstore, I used to live across the street and I’d spend at least 3 hours there every day. The maze never gets old and the staff always find ways to make things exciting. There’s new art installations from time to time and the little shops upstairs really express a fun character that LA keeps a little hidden.

I have plenty more, but I think I’ll stop here for now.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe a lot of my success to my big brother Edmond, he’s made an effort to be there for me even when I didn’t want him to. I also want to recognize my mentor and friend Philip Folsom. He and I have been partnering on project after project, experiencing both glory and defeat. I’m learning so much from him and I can’t be more thankful. Philip runs a Corporate Culture and Development training company called Wolftribe. He also runs a men’s group with our friend Joshua Wenner, they call it King of the Four Houses. I get to play a role in both of these endeavors and every step I’ve taken with Philip has lead me to bigger and better opportunities that I could ever imagine.

Website: https://www.mywolftribe.com/

Instagram: @wolftribeofficial

Image Credits
Philip Folsom Jenna Leigh Boss

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.