Annie Tasker - my full name is Annelise, which no one except my parents and Kim, one of my favorite bartenders at F Street Station, call me.
Store Manager at lululemon Anchorage 5th Ave Mall
What are some of your key responsibilities as Lululemon Store Manager:
I’m responsible for growing our business in Alaska, making key relationships within the community, and supporting our local ambassadors in their endeavors. My biggest responsibility is supporting my team in their goals, personal and career-related.
What drew you to become apart of the Lululemon community and when did you get started?:
I was hired to work in the lululemon showroom by local superstar and badass mom, Julia Von Imhof. We had been friends for a few years and ran into each other after a yoga class. We grabbed a coffee, caught up and discussed what I had been up to (business classes at UAA to complement my bachelor's degree and leadership concentration) Julia wasted no time and coffee quickly turned into a job interview to work in the showroom! It was amazing timing, I had been waitressing for a few years and needed something that was aligned with my personal values and somewhere I could grow into a leadership position. I started as a part-time Educator and moved into a Key Leader position when we opened the first lululemon store in Alaska in 2015. I was promoted to Assistant Store Manager in March 2016 and then Store Manager in this past January.
Has fitness always been apart of your life?
My family is very athletic, so the majority of my childhood fitness was sports. My dad played professional football and my mom is a lifelong runner. I grew up watching my mom prioritize her health through fitness, so that’s always been a priority for me as well. I definitely love to mix it up, I’ll go on a yoga kick for a few months, I love Vanessa’s class at Orange Theory! Since living in Alaska the past 8 years, trail running has become a huge part of my summers. My current obsession is Anchorage Cycle. I LOVE the vibe there, and how every instructor really brings the entire class together. Fav instructors: David Westlake, Courtney, Jen Evanson and Penny!
Describe a typical day in the work life of Annie:
Most days, I’m usually one of the first people at the store. I almost always start my day looking over our numbers, reading my leadership team’s notes and just getting an overall picture of where we’re at for the week, month, and quarter. I was never a number’s person before this job but now I rely heavily on using my tools to assess how my biz is doing! I often have a conference call or meeting in my morning. Being in a remote market makes conference calls interesting, we utilize Zoom meetings at lululemon which has really helped me get to know my leaders, and peers in a more personal way than just over the phone. After meetings, I spend quite a bit of time writing my team’s schedule. I don’t take scheduling lightly, I try to make sure my employees work a schedule that supports their life outside of work. This really allows them to show up powerfully, increases my team’s engagement and just overall allows them to be happy with their work/life balance. I always schedule myself at least a few hours every day, working on the floor at the store and checking in with my people. I absolutely love my team and this is usually the highlight of my working day.
How do you stay inspired/choose the flow of your store?
I get most of my inspiration from the people around me, especially at work. Right now, my team at the store is a pretty diverse group of women. I rely heavily on my work family to keep me present, objective, and to keep me living in possibility. I work with quite a few women who are younger than me, and it’s been an amazing experience watching their drive and ambition create the lives and careers they dream of. Watching the mom’s on my team balance their schedules, support their families and make sure they take time for themselves…is a daily source of inspiration. Whenever I get bogged down with my to-do list, and get stressed about finding time to exercise, walk my dog, spend time with my boyfriend, grocery shop, cook, manage our store’s hours and budget, schedule performance evaluations, and a million other tasks, I look to the mothers in my life who manage to do all those things while taking care of 2 kids and a spouse. What I’ve learned from them is that perfection is not the goal. If I worked an 80 hour work week, there would still be tasks to accomplish so I prioritize what is urgent and important and make sure to leave time to invest in my people. That’s where I see the biggest return on investment.
What is essential in your workspace? Ie: mood, music, tea- how do you get into your workflow routine?
I won't lie, coffee is essential. Like…essssssential. I either make my coffee at home (almond milk creamer is crucial) or pick it up from Starbs on my way to the store. I always take time to get clear before starting any task or meeting. Actually, this is something my entire team does before every single shift. Taking a moment to acknowledge what is happening in your life that is keeping you from being present is a game-changer in our ability to perform at work.
One fun thing that is new to my workspace is a Japanese Maneki Neko cat. My Asst. Store Manager brought it back from Tokyo and it now lives above our office computer. Maneki Neko cats are supposed to bring good fortune to businesses, it’s a quirky little addition but I’ll never turn down a little help towards success!
How have your surroundings helped develop you as a leader?
I feel very fortunate to have grown and worked in a progressive corporation that is mostly lead by women. Our culture is really empowering, we’ve created an environment where speaking up and being an entrepreneur is not only encouraged, it’s required. Previous to working at lululemon, I had never been in a work environment where giving (and receiving) feedback was such an integral part of the everyday. I’ve learned over the last 3 years that by sharing with a teammate when you see a way they could improve, isn’t being mean or cruel, it’s giving them the opportunity to improve and ultimately perform to their potential. It took me a long time to learn that as long as the constructive criticism comes from a place of love, you’re being a stand for greatness. One of my managers once told me “Annie, if you don’t share that feedback, you are holding your peer back and not allowing the chance to get better and to have the knowledge of where they can improve.”
We train our entire team, from the moment they get hired, to share what they’re noticing, to communicate in a powerful way and to stand for greatness. I take a lot of pride in our store in AK, I really think we do a great job at being genuine, inclusive, and brightening our guests day.
What do you look forward to most when leading a team?
I love being witness to people who are in the work of bettering themselves as human beings. Watching my team go through our vision and goals workshop and get clarity around their personal core values, set goals to get them to where they want to be and ultimately become more empathic people is my favorite part of being a leader at lululemon.
lululemon is so community and lifestyle driven - what are some events + partnerships you have coming up that you are looking forward to:
Well, first of, we’re really excited about hosting Tess and Beautycounter in-store for the 2nd time this summer. I’ve been testing out a few of Beautycounter’s products over the last week, and I’m super impressed. I’ve always said, when I find a chemical free, more natural product that works BETTER than what I’ve been using, I’ll make the switch. I’m REALLY in love with the tinted moisturizer and their face mask!
We’re also highlighting local athletes every week on our facebook page, lululemon Anchorage. This has been a fun new way to bring attention to some member of our community who is up to some really cool things.
I have to share a bit about our store’s ambassadors, they really are the embodiment of what we stand for at lululemon.
Megan Piersma is the owner of Deha Yoga, in south Anchorage. Megan is probably one of the coolest human beings on the planet, she is my favorite yoga instructor and I leave her studio feeling my best. Megan has created a warm, welcoming environment at Deha.
David Westlake is a yoga instructor and Motivator at Anchorage Cycle. He recently started Turiya Alaska, which is a non-profit that brings yoga to the downtown Anchorage Jail. He recently took my team through a meditation workshop, designed to help my employees battle the holiday stress. He really met my team where they were at and gave us some simple useful techniques to help us chill out.
Ryder Spadafore is the owner of Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s just an overall bad-ass. His honestly and genuine attitude inspires the loyalty of his students. My team has been frequenting this gym and hitting up the kickboxing classes at ABJJ….these are not your mom's kickboxing classes. You feel super empowered and strong (also sweaty and tired!) after these classes. Stay tuned for a ABJJ and lululemon Women’s Self Defense Workshop in the near future!
David Norris is our ski racing ambassador. He’s currently somewhere in Europe on the ski racing circuit. He’s from Fairbanks and has the most humble, down to earth personality. He frequents the mountains and trails outside of Anchorage and loves working with young, aspiring skiers.
What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Your instincts are usually correct, so trust them. Have facts that support you and, humbly, stand your ground. Being the loudest isn’t the best way to win people over.
What are your favorite lululemon essential items you think everyone should check out?
Where to start????
-Wunder Under High Rise Tights in Luxtreme – AMAZING for cycle, everyday wear and doesn’t attract dog hair.
-Fast and Free 7/8 Tight – These are a must for anyone who works out no matter what you’re doing. #nakedsensation for the win!
-On The Fly Pants – my travel pants! These have an athletic, jogger look that makes me feel comfortable but polished on the plane.
-Energy Bra – perfect for high-intensity workouts but still has the strappy cute look I want!
-Free to Be Zen Bra – my every day/yoga bra, I haven’t worn a real bra in years. Seriously.
-All Tied Up Tank in Pima Cotton – my go-to summer top, perfect for jeans, yoga pants, shorts
In my opinion, lululemon crushes jackets and bags. I’m loving all of this seasons backpacks and our bomber jackets in springy colors like porcelain pink and teal shadow.
How can people sign up for fit session at your location?
Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org. My entire team thrives off getting our guests in their best fit, so I can connect you to an expert educator who with HOOK IT UP!
What is your mantra?!
Hmmm I’m not sure I have a mantra but 2 quotes I’m bringing to 2018 are:
People won’t remember what you said/did, they remember how you made them feel.
“I am expanding in love, success, and abundance and encouraging others to do the same.”
-Elena Brower (super cool NYC yogi, check out her IG)