This week we meet North Shore mama, Lake Forest resident and VP of North America for Codeverse, Lindsey Whalen! So just how does this busy mom of two wee ones handle the work/family balance? Lindsey gives insight into how her background and spunk helped land her current career at a rising start-up, as well as local places that are off the beaten path to visit with your family! Welcome Lindsey!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to your current town?
I am originally from Kalamazoo, MI. I moved to Chicago in 2007 for a promotion with the company I was working for then. My Husband and I moved to Lake Forest in May 2018, so we have been in the north shore for a little over a year.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two kids, a girl and a boy. Lakelyn, my daughter, is 2 (going to be 3 in November) and Ryder, my son, is 9 months.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
My Favorite thing about being a mom is the pure unexpected joy and love I feel everyday. Kids are so funny and spontaneous. I LOVE seeing the world and new experiences through their eyes and expressions.
Please share at least one mom “hack/tip” that makes your every day life a little easier…
One tip I have heard from a family friend when Ryder was a few weeks old is the mentality of knowing “Its only temporary”. This has helped me remain calm in the chaos, cherish the ordinary moments, and get through a work trip when I desperately want to be home hugging my babies.
Least favorite mom job?
My least favorite mom job has to be potty training (specifically #2). It’s such a battle and rightfully so. How do you force a toddler to sit and wait for something that their muscles have never been trained to do on command..?
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I played division one Volleyball at the University of Central Florida.
You’re from Lake Forest. What are some of your favorite local places to spend with the family?
There are so many! Our favorite places to spend time is:
- Our local parks in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, we are so spoiled to have such vast options.
- We also LOVE our Bannockburn Midtown Athletic Club. It’s so kid friendly, the pool is great for families and the staff is amazing!
- Our Kids LOVE Elawa Farm for the BeeBoopers on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as their animals they have on site.
- For a rainy or cold Sunday morning activity we take Lakelyn to SkyZone in Vernon Hills for their toddler only jump time at 9:30am. Kids her size helps ease the worry of her breaking her nose on some other kids head. #imaworrywart.
- You can always catch us at The Silo in Lake Bluff for Friday night pizza.
- The Lantern in Lake Forest is our kids favorite place because of the toy train that runs through the restaurant, the popcorn and the cake pops (free) after the meal. It’s easy and stress free for us as well after a long day at work.
- Date Night Local is usually the Deer Path Inn or Sushi at Shakou in Libertyville.
Tell us about your professional endeavor!
I work for an amazing company called Codeverse. Codeverse is a 100% complete interactive coding studio for kids ages 6-12. We call it a Studio because it is not a classroom. Our space is created to allow kids the freedom and opportunity to create and explore their own learning environment. They choose how they learn and how they feel when coding by cuddling into oversized bean bag, making a fort in a wall crater, sitting in our custom sound proof “Black Hole”, or lounging on our mission command couch. Kids learn to code through our proprietary KidsScript coding language where they can create their own video games and apps, control and create concert lighting systems, hack into TV’s and speakers, code objects to create their own 3D prints, code robots to move, and much much more. I am the VP of North America. My role consists of growing the Codverse studio concepts throughout the United States. I own recruiting, hiring, training, people happiness, team success, and studio performance. We are expanding heavily in 2020 so we are working really hard right now on site and vendor selection as well as recruiting.
What is your background and how did your background help with getting involved in your business?
Before coming on to Codeverse, I had multiple roles during a 10 year span with Lululemon and Athletica and four years before that at Abercrombie and Fitch. Multi-unit management, expansion and training were all roles I’ve held in my career. Specifically with Lululemon, I was in a New Store Training Role focused on leadership and ops training of new teams across the US and Canada. I learned a lot about what is required to execute a seamless and successful new market entry as a brand. My time as a regional manager at Lululemon and district manager at Abercrombie and Fitch taught me the leadership skills needed to lead strong teams and how to drive results at multiple locations remotely through communicating expectations and accountability clearly.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
I am grateful that there have been many and I don’t take that lightly! The first year with Lulelemon as a store manager, we tripled our business growth year over year. Our key to success? Strong ops, amazing leadership, great community relationships. Now at Codeverse I am taking the lead in the growth and expansion process. Selecting our next and future Codeverse cities is a very large responsibility. Our business is still very young. Everywhere we go need to be right. Finally, and certainly not least, motherhood – finding myself again after having two babies. I LOVE my kids so much. It is painful to be away from them when I have to be for work. However, motherhood and being a WORKING mom are my passions. I need to dedicate equal energy and presence to both to be successful and fulfilled in both.
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
Extremely. I need to dedicate equal energy and presence to both to be successful and fulfilled in both.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
“It’s only temporary” and “Don’t wish this away, they will be 18 and moving out before you know it”.
What is one or two nice things you do for yourself (to decompress from work and family life)?
That’s so important! Working out. It’s my time and it always gives me clarity and energy even on the most tiring of days. I bought a Peloton when I was on maternity leave with Ryder. It’s literally the best idea/company in the world! (Now, they just need to set up Peloton pop up stations on airports and I’d be set!)
But most importantly the best thing I can do for myself is to…. go “home.” Travel back to my roots, Kalamazoo, MI to see my family. I have the BEST parents. They make visits wonderful because my mom makes all my favorite meals, my parents take the kids off my hands so I can get some R&R in the mornings, and we just relax. No agenda, no expectations, just family.
What’s on the horizon for your business? Future aspirations, plans….
Codeverse is expanding! We have 3 Chicago locations now, and in 4 years, we hope to have 40 domestically.
What is the best way parents can get more information about Codeverse programs?
We always encourage parents to pop in and check out the facility, schedule their child(ren) for a free class trial or even try out one of our Kids Night Out events. Kids Night out is the best party in town just for kids. It’s a drop-off event for ages 5-13 from 6:30-8:30 every Friday & Saturday night evenings! Parents love that their kids are engaged, fed dinner and happy while they get a little date-night break for themselves. The feedback has been unbelievable. We hope you’ll visit us in Wilmette, Lincoln Park or Naperville. Call us anytime with questions (844) 644-CODE.