We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Up until recently I always looked at my work and life as very separate but once I started pursuing more advocacy work in the outdoors, the line between the two became blurred. I realize now that it’s almost impossible to keep work and my personal life separate but creating stronger boundaries for myself to differentiate specific time for each area has been really helpful for me. As a designer and advocate, I can do my work anytime, anywhere — which is a blessing and a curse. I have found that penciling in time in my calendar to go ride, hangout with friends, have some “me time”, etc. has been super helpful to make sure I make time for myself in my week. I also have started putting my computer out of eyesight when I’m done with my workday and on the weekend so I can focus on things outside of work and being present. The balance is super important and different for everyone, but I try to check in with myself often to see what I’m feeling and if the amount of work I’m doing feels right for me.
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.
I have a background in design but have shifted my work into the outdoors space advocating for women of color and marginalized communities in cycling and skiing. I feel like my UX background gives me a unique perspective with the work I do, to really focus on the human needs, pain points and issues that are affecting the communities of people I work with. I am extremely proud of the traction I’ve had with my work and the support from brands and organizations that are backing me. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree at the age of 22 and have been working endlessly to get to the place I am now. It hasn’t been easy and I’m still working to make my advocacy work a full time gig that can support me financially. Along the way, I’ve learned that I can’t wait around for people to make change or create space, if I want something I should just do it myself and pave the way for others. When people learn about me and my story, I want them to pause and reflect on their own lives and experiences to understand that all of our stories are different and to have more compassion and empathy for folks coming from different identities, backgrounds and lives.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them on a bike tour around Boulder — stopping in Nederland and Switzerland Trail. We’d stop by Boxcar coffee to fuel up before we go and bring our own food to eat on the trail and just have a time biking around the Front Range of CO and enjoying the mountains.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a big shoutout to Radical Adventure Riders. When I got into cycling, I didn’t see myself represented in the space. When I found RAR, I saw a rhetoric and representation of the cycling community I always dreamed of and they continue to inspire me today.