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An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Always being there for your child, no matter what, and loving them unconditionally regardless of the circumstances is my best definition. Making a point to listen closely to their emotional and physical needs, and ensure that they feel heard and supported. Being dedicated to maintaining a connection with them, in spite of any extenuating circumstances. Supporting them in developing their interests, hobbies, and friendships — even those that you don’t always understand.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Annie Davis.

Annie Davis is VP of Marketing for Flow Cannabis Co., overseeing a house of brands including its flagship Flow Kana brand. Prior to joining Flow Cannabis Co., Annie served as VP Marketing & Sales for Care By Design (a CannaCraft brand), a pioneer in cannabinoid wellness, and managed CPG brands at the Clorox Company, among others. Annie holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she co-founded the HBS Green Business Alumni Association.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up in Newton, Mass., a suburb of Boston. My parents were both born and raised in the same community; we are all descendants from Eastern European Jews who emigrated to America in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Both of my parents worked full-time, though my mother scaled back to part-time in the years when my brother and I were young. We grew up surrounded by extended family and friends who felt like family — all of us part of the vibrant Jewish community of the Boston area.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

When I graduated from Harvard Business School in 2007, I decided to spread my wings and adventure across the country to San Francisco, seeking warmer climates and the sense of freedom that is often associated with the West Coast. I gave birth to my first child in 2015 and, without any nearby extended family, found that I needed flexibility in my career in order to give my children the best care and attention I could. For the next five years, I worked as a consultant in the natural products and cannabis industries, until I took my current full-time role for Flow Cannabis Co. The conditions of the pandemic — especially the global shift to remote, flexible work — enabled me to take this comprehensive role.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I’m exhausted just thinking about it! My “alarm clock” is always my son Jackson, age 6, who has clear instructions that he is allowed to wake me up when the clock says 7am. From 7–8 am, it’s a mad dash to get Jackson and his sister Miley (who just turned age 3), dressed, fed, and off to their respective schools. Jackson just finished kindergarten, and Miley is in preschool. Their schools are on opposite sides of town. I’m done with drop-off at 8:30am, and then I usually jump on my first call of the day while I’m driving home. From 8:30am — 4pm, I am in back-to-back meetings, mostly on Zoom, and then I quickly prep some dinner before jumping in the car to pick them both up by 4:30pm. We eat dinner at home between 5–5:30, play for an hour or so, and then begin bedtime routines, which start with a bath at 6:30 and then both kids are in bed by 8pm. I hop back on my computer for an hour or so, catch up on the email that I missed from 4:30 onwards, and then maybe get an hour or so to rest and rejuvenate before I wake up and do it all over again!

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

While I don’t have any academic background in this area, I can comment from my personal experience. Through our interactions with other people, we learn how to behave in the world. Spending time with one’s children gives them the opportunity to learn by example from someone that they know, love, and trust. Non-parental caregivers can absolutely play this role, but in a childcare setting such as daycare or preschool, there are simply too many children to give each one the personalized attention of 1:1 parenting.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

By spending them with their parents, children gain confidence and believe in themselves in a way that is difficult to replicate from someone outside their family. Children are able to develop language and conversation skills, as well as their problem-solving abilities, as they watch and learn from their parents.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Although my husband and I are happily married and share our home and most of our parenting, we do make an effort to take each child on 1:1 outings with each of us, usually about once per month. For instance, in June I took my son to the California Academy of Sciences to satiate his curiosity about sharks, while my husband took our daughter to a petting zoo. The following week, we swapped and I took Miley to the Children’s Museum while my husband took Jackson to play miniature golf.

We also give each child our undivided attention for their respective bedtime routine each night, so we alternate which parent puts each child to sleep each evening. That means that one night I practice reading with our 6-year-old, and the next time I’m reading stories to our 3-year-old.

As parents, we fiercely protect our evenings and our weekends. We put our computers and cell phones down from 5–8pm, the hours when we are all home as a family before our children go to sleep. On weekends, we are usually all together doing various activities like going to the park, the beach, or on a hike.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

  1. Put your phone down when you’re having quality time with your children.
  2. Engage in what THEY want to do. If they are drawing, ask if you can draw alongside them. If they are building something with Legos, sit down and start building your own.
  3. Use a morning or evening ritual to get them talking. We do a game called “Rose and Thorn” where we go around the dinner table and each of us shares something good (a rose) and something not-so-good (a thorn) that happened to us that day.
  4. Schedule 1:1 outings with your children once per month, so that they get your undivided attention, even from your co-parent.
  5. Schedule special occasions, like having a “Movie Night” or “Beach Day” that they can look forward to because it means spending quality time together.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

Always being there for your child, no matter what, and loving them unconditionally regardless of the circumstances is my best definition. Making a point to listen closely to their emotional and physical needs, and ensure that they feel heard and supported. Being dedicated to maintaining a connection with them, in spite of any extenuating circumstances. Supporting them in developing their interests, hobbies, and friendships — even those that you don’t always understand.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

We use small, daily lessons constantly. One example is how we’ve taught our 6 year-old son about investing. This started when he was younger. He had a small bag of M&Ms, and we told him that if he ate them all now, they’d all be gone soon. But if he put some away, they would begin to grow, because that’s what happens with investments. A few weeks later, he was pleasantly surprised to find that he now had several more M&Ms!

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I have always defined success as leaving the world a better place than it was when I found it, and inspiring others to do the same.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I have to admit that the vast majority of my parenting strategies have come from friends and family, especially my ‘mom tribe’ in my hometown of Petaluma, CA. When I was pregnant with my first child, I joined The Petaluma Mothers’ Club, which has been an incredible source of parenting support and friendships. The one book that I swear by is called “Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood” by Jay and Charles Fay. I have found this book to be invaluable in its strategies for framing up choices and consequences for children.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can change is how you react to it.” For many, many years, I worried about what others thought of me, and when I realized that it didn’t matter, and that I had the power to change my OWN thoughts, I became a much happier person. I find myself constantly reminded of this lesson, both in my personal and professional life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I hope to continue to inspire the movement that shows how business can truly be a force for good.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Annie Davis of Flow Cannabis Co: How Extremely Busy Leaders Make Time To Be Great Parents was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.