Annalisa Walker

Poise under pressure can sound like a tall order — especially when a curveball project due yesterday means playing it by ear.

But it’s no challenge for CSG’s well-tuned account executive, Annalisa Walker (at least that we can see!). She took a brief break from work so we could chat about her interests, goals and inspirations.

Q: Where do you call home?

A. I’m from Haddonfield, NJ, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Sometimes I say I’m from Jersey, but I also say I’m from Philadelphia because it’s 15 minutes over the bridge, from Philly. I lived in NYC for 15 years, so I think I got to the point where I was thinking of New York as home.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A. My husband, Tom Cardarelli, is a chef, so definitely food and restaurants are a big part of my life overall. I like to make a meal that takes all day so that by the end of the evening you have a big feast. I love to go out to eat at new restaurants in DC. And I really like podcasts. One of my favorites is “How I Built This.” I think it’s interesting to hear the stories about how people get to where they are, and it’s always some totally random, unexpected way for the most the part. No one ever sets off on the path they end up on from the get-go, and they start a multimillion-dollar business along the way.

Q: Do you have any unexpected, hidden talents?

A. I play the piano. I started at the age of 3, like very, very young, and I played for the first 22 years of my life. It’s funny because I hadn’t considered it so much after college because I didn’t have a piano in my apartment living in New York City. That’s a goal of mine, I want to find a way to pick that up again. I think it’s been ingrained in my brain so I hope that with a little bit of practice, it would come back.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A. I’ve always found inspiration in cities — the art and culture, the people and being surrounded by all the activity of the city. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to gravitate more toward nature and getting out of the city to find some really breathtaking places that you can only get to by a hike or a car. I am looking for something more off the beaten path. It helps you think about things differently, gives you some perspective on life.

Q: So you’ve got to have a travel bucket list.

Annalisa loves to travel. She and her husband took a trip to Italy, last year.
Annalisa and Tom in Italy.

A. Definitely, I really do love to travel. My husband and I have tried to prioritize that over the last few years. We took a big road trip about two years ago, right before we moved to this area. We had about five weeks between jobs, so we drove the Pacific Coast Highway and through the Southwest to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. We got to see some really cool things and did some really cool hikes (we ate at some great restaurants along the way too!). The next big trip we want to take is to somewhere in Asia, because neither of us have ever been there. Probably Japan or Thailand, I think? It’s a bigger trip, so you have to plan for it. In the next few years, we hope to make that happen!

That may be one of the secrets to Annalisa’s work style — when you love to travel, you have to embrace the unexpected, keep an open mind and take changes in stride. We appreciate those qualities and any travel photos she shares!