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

Hi Jen, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work/Life Balance has been a trending topic since I started working a couple of decades ago.

I love to work. I love creating and building. I love completing projects and accomplishing goals. I love the feeling of being tired at the end of a busy day, or when a project comes to an end after months of hard work, or when a successful year naturally winds down to a close each December (leading to the beginning of a blank slate and a new year).

And I’ve always expected that the people around me, or working for me, feel the same way and operate with the same motivations, convictions and work ethic. And where some have fallen short of my expectations, I can usually inspire with a pithy Chinese proverb like, ‘What is earned with hard work, is eaten with pleasure.” Or even a Christian proverb such as: “The soul of the lazy one craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made prosperous.”
I truly believe that hard work is good for the soul.

Now…don’t get me wrong, I like to play hard as well. I can easily fill every open moment with travel, adventure, music, or a simple sit around the table with friends. I find joy and fulfillment in a full lifestyle of work and play.

But to be honest, as I’ve grown older, the intensity of life and family and adult-sized bills has infringed on my ability to hold all of the pieces together, while also making room for fun and spontaneity. I’ve felt the limits of my physical abilities and mental cohesion. The idea of rest has gone from a nice byproduct of Sundays and vacations, to a prime and necessary commodity to be utilized on a regular basis.

Along with the rest of the world, the Covid shutdowns over this past year forced me to stop – which was, at times, very unsettling and foreign. But then there were other moments, of attempting to work alongside my husband, at home, while also hanging out with our two-year old daughter, who wants to party all the time. Our world became smaller and we learned to go to bed much earlier. These days were so simple and so rich and filled me with a peace and gratitude.

So now what? We’ve all had the opportunity to re-evaluate our lifestyles and have settled into new rhythms. And now that the world is opening back up, how do we re-engage? How do the wheels of progress and production begin to move again, while keeping a healthy life/work balance. It is obvious that there is a hesitancy from some to step back into productivity. The massive numbers of job openings and the uber sluggish supply chain are evidence on point.

For me, the keys are intentionality, presence and integration.
I must be intentional about how to live a balanced life – making specific and scheduled time for work, for learning, for play, for rest. In each moment, I practice the art of presence. Creating a space and time that I focus on work and projects, giving myself fully to it. Allowing myself to walk away and close the work door, while I step fully into playtime with my husband and daughter and friends. And prioritizing guilt-free quiet time each day and each week for rest and rejuvenation. The trick with intentionality and presence is to avoid compartmentalizing areas of life. But instead, pursue integration. For me, this means expanding on the Covid shutdown lifestyle. Working and living in a co-opted creative space. Working and living, creating and sharing, relaxing and playing. All together. Interwoven. Integrated. I’m not fully there yet, by any means, but I am moving and growing toward this balance.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I run the business side of CatBeach Music – a boutique and curated independent record label with a songwriting, publishing and licensing wing. We focus on indie artist development and licensing songs to TV and film. We have great relationships with video editors and music supervisors in Los Angeles and they know they will find indie rock, pop, Americana and singer-songwriter songs, recorded by the best musicians in the industry, and produced with creativity and thoughtfulness.

The driving motto for our company and our artists is to be highly skilled at what we do, to stay focused, to keep it easy, and Be Nice! We take pride in the relationships we have and the music we make together. In fact, we keep our business pretty tight knit…the people we work with are very important to us. We want to know our artists and songwriters personally and we want them to know us personally. That, in our opinion, is what builds trust and true collaboration. And from there, we can make honest and beautiful things together. That is the foundation and it really is what sets us apart.

We are very excited about the future. We have some tremendous music coming out, along with brilliant visuals and compelling stories. Paired with our great partners in sync and licensing, we are confident that we are bringing something new to the table. And can’t wait to share!!

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?
Oh such a great question…and one that I’ve had the pleasure of executing many times!

1. AOC for dinner + concert or standup at Largo. Bonus if it’s Watkins Family Hour.
2. Stroll down Abbott Kinney with lunch at Gjelina. Head up to Hollywood for a night out at Hotel Cafe.
3. Beach day in Manhattan Beach + dinner at Fishing With Dynamite.
4. Hike either Palos Verdes Peninsula or Runyon Canyon.
5. Highland Park day – popping into one of the many record stores, snacks and bowling at Highland Park Bowl.
6. Malibu day with a walk on the pier, stop at Malibu Farms, then onto some sushi and beautiful views at Nobu.
7. My last fave is getting lost in the Arts District in Downtown LA. The effect of the Covid shutdowns hit this area pretty hard…so we may have to wait a bit for this one – but we’re hoping for a resurgence soon!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so thankful to have so many creative people surrounding me – which brings me inspiration and motivation. There are three people who I would like to give a Shoutout to. Sam Rethmeier, a Sommelier in LA, who runs the wine programs at Republique and Bicyclette, is my good friend – and we are always dreaming up ideas about how we can bring wine, food, music and good people together. He comes from a family of creative entrepreneurs, and he is constantly learning and taking risks. This year he launched Wednesday Night Wine Club, which is a fun approach to learning about wine. I also want to give a Shoutout to Gyasi Ross, a hip-hop singer-songwriter in LA. Gyasi devotes his life to helping people through community organizing, and also by telling incredibly honest and compelling stories through his songs.
And lastly, I want to give a Shoutout to Daena Jay, a songwriter, and mama to two kiddos under two. She brings creativity and song and beauty into each day, and is dominating the working mom dance with grace and joy. I want to be like Daena when I grow up.

Website: www.catbeachmusic.com

Instagram: instagram.com/catbeachmusic

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/jenhartry

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