ENCINITAS — A Leucadia community organization has welcomed a new executive director this week to replace outgoing Annika Walden, who is stepping down from her role after four years with the organization.
Leucadia native Brittany Corrales was recently named executive director of Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, a nonprofit group that partners with local governments and businesses to promote events and advocate for the interests of neighborhood residents.
Walden, who is relocating to Kauai on May 2, told The Coast News she enjoyed her time at Leucadia 101 since first joining the organization in 2018.
“[Leucadia 101 Main Street] was a great fit,” Walden said. “It’s been a really fun ride.”
Walden previously worked for two of the city’s sister Main Street organizations, starting out as an intern at Encinitas 101 before stepping into Cardiff 101’s assistant director role.
During her time at Leucadia 101, Walden said she advocated for music and art programs, hosting three art gallery shows prior to the pandemic.
“I thought [the art shows] were really unique,” Walden said. “We had artists from around the world come and partner with local artists, so we were kind of able to bridge two different communities, which was really cool.”
Walden also launched the Encinitas Support Fund in March 2020, helping raise nearly $200,000 and issuing 90 grants to small businesses in Encinitas in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s a depth to Leucadia that other communities maybe don’t necessarily have,” Walden said. “It’s an artistic place and a creative space for people.”
In Kauai, Walden plans to continue her volunteering work.
“I have to first earn my salt, being new to the area,” Walden said. “I’m gonna take some time off [from volunteering] to start and then … figure out how I can better serve Kauai.”
Since 2011, Corrales, owner of Mariposa Events Company, has served as a volunteer at Leucadia 101. Corrales was previously named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Leucadia association.
Growing up in Leucadia, Corrales attended the local San Dieguito Academy. Corrales’ family has lived in Leucadia for generations and her grandfather was part of the floral industry that helped earn Encinitas the title, “flower capital of the world.”
As executive director, Corrales said she plans to continue the organization’s mission to advocate for locally-owned businesses.
“We want our downtown and main street in Leucadia to feel vibrant and to … be active and have our merchants make money locally,” Corrales told The Coast News. “But, at the same time, we don’t want big box businesses coming in. We have to have fun, interesting businesses here, and also not cross the line of too much growth, too fast, with too big of businesses.”
Corrales also plans to continue the organization’s work in supporting businesses negatively impacted by construction projects, some of which have blocked parking and access to storefronts along Coast Highway 101, according to Corrales.
“…My goal is to continue on the same trajectory that [past executive directors] have championed for us and continue to put on great community events that spotlight our local merchants and get locals out to appreciate our downtown,” Corrales said.