Freshly CEO Anna Fabrega On Establishing Balance When Focused On Your Career
Written by Jess Cording
Meal delivery services have become a convenient way to fuel your workday or make it easier to have a nourishing dinner that’s ready when you are. In the last few years we have seen a variety of new companies hit the market that feature healthier options to make it as convenient as possible to stay on track with eating habits that support optimal health and wellbeing even when life feels hectic or overwhelming. The leaders behind such companies understand firsthand the struggle!
I spoke with Anna Fabrega, who is the CEO at Freshly, a direct to consumer fresh prepared food subscription service that was acquired in 2020 by Nestle. In her role, she leads the company in its mission to break down barriers to healthy eating by offering flexible meal delivery plans to serve a variety of nutrition and lifestyle needs.
Anna is a growth-oriented leader with over 22 years of business, operations and organizational leadership experience at high growth early-stage businesses as well as large, scaled organizations, including Microsoft and Amazon, where she ran the Sports and Outdoors business before transitioning to Amazon Go and later to Amazon Kitchen. Her experience spans across brand/marketing, distribution and supply chain, ecommerce, physical retail, technology and CPG.
Also an athlete and a mom, walking the walk has been important to Fabrega throughout her career. Here, she answers my questions about making your wellbeing a priority along your career path.
Jess Cording: Why is self-care important when you are focused on your career?
Anna Fabrega: Women who are highly focused on their career tend to pack so much into their lives. And in addition to being always on and always going, it’s easy to become our own worst critics. This can be taxing and break us down over time. Self-care is a way to give ourselves some space and establish a bit of balance. And most importantly, it serves to strengthen our baseline state, so when things get increasingly busy or don’t go according to plan, we have the power to navigate the situation without being pushed beyond our limits.
Cording: In your opinion, what are some of the self-care essentials every ambitious woman would benefit from?
Fabrega: I think the most powerful form of self-care is giving yourself a break, and letting yourself be human. All the exercise, massages, meditation and superfoods in the world won’t alleviate the stress that comes with chasing perfection at all times. In terms of essential practices, I’m a proponent of anything that makes you feel good – whether that’s putting on some makeup for a day of Zoom meetings, workouts that uptick your endorphins or binging the newest Netflix show because you simply need a break.
Cording: Is there any advice you would give to somebody who’s early in their career journey?
Fabrega: For one, don’t be afraid of messing up—because you will, but you’ll survive and it’s gonna be fine—and you’ll probably learn something. Beating yourself up over every little thing, especially if you’re very ambitious, it’s just taxing and it’s not going to do you any good. So try to let things go. Secondly, find your outlet—and that outlet may change over time. My outlet for a while was running and competing in races. Then my outlet became a different form of exercise and I’ve also gotten deep into cooking. Then at other times I’ve pulled back from cooking and gotten into art. Whatever it is, you need something to help you de-stress.
Cording: For someone who feels like she has limited time for self-care, do you have any advice as to where she could start?
Fabrega: With limited time, I think the most important place to start is with listening to what your body, mind and soul need at that moment. Maybe that means skipping a workout, finishing your workday early or meeting up with friends. Recognize your greatest need for the day, and then give yourself the opportunity to prioritize that over everything else going on. I’ve always wanted to be the best mom, employee, manager and athlete; it’s impossible to do it all at the same time. I’ve learned to commit to the one that’s most important or causing the most distress, and trust that the rest will come over time.