LET'S BE REAL: A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH KALLY VANDERBILT OF SWEETGREEN

We met Kally through the small and integrated DC food community, and we feel so blessed to partner with her and the sweetgreen team on some of our favorite events. Kally is a superstar, and carries herself with such grace and poise. We always have a blast hanging with her at events, and we’re so excited to see what her and her team pull off next!

If you haven’t yet, go check out the sweetgreen Tavern in Georgetown! They’re selling your favorite switchel ;)


Introduce yourself! What do you want people to know about you and what you do?!

I’m Kally! I’ve been in DC for 8 years-- first as a student-athlete at GW and now as a member of the Regional Brand Marketing team for sweetgreen in the DC area. I am so grateful for the opportunity to use my passion of wellness + people to fuel sweetgreen’s purpose: to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food. When I am not at work you can catch me trying new workout class, going to concerts with friends, and exploring this beautiful city I call home.

What does living a balanced lifestyle mean to you?

A balanced lifestyle is easier said than done. To me it means checking in with my heart to see if I am happy with how I am dividing my time. Life will never be a perfect balance, but I’ve found asking the question “is this making me happy?” to be my guide if I need to reevaluate and focus my energy elsewhere. I’ve also discovered that prioritizing self-care is so important. When you are the best version of yourself you can give more energy to your work, your relationships, your health, etc.

What's your fitness routine?

I used to be a swimmer so I am all about the cardio! Right now I am taking advantage of the nice weather and running outside. I balance out the cardio with weight training and yoga.

What does eating mindfully mean to you?

Eating mindfully means being present while you are actually eating. Not just thinking through what foods make you feel great and what foods make you feel bad. Too many times we are caught on our phones or writing our to do lists for the week instead of focusing on what we are putting in our body. A huge part of sweetgreen is building community through food. Since I became a member of the sg fam, I started to think about how food brings people together and builds relationships. I now use my meals as a way to connect with the people around me.

What do you drink in a normal day? (coffee, tea, water, juice, energy drinks etc) 

I start my day with a glass of water + coffee. Throughout the day I try to drink as much water as I can. My hydroflask is one of my most prized positions. And obviously--Sip City, my go to flavor is the Boston :)
How do you cope with stress? 

My favorite way to destress is moving meditation. I love going on long walks in the city alone or with one of my best friends. I find it to be the easiest environment to talk through what I am going through with a friend, take time for myself to breathe, and of course get outside!

What are your favorite cities? Why?

My favorite city is Tokyo! I went with some of my friends for spring break a couple years ago and fell in love with the people, the culture, and the fashion. I also grew up in Pittsburgh and have been living in DC for 8 years. Both places will always hold a special place in my heart.

What do you wish people were more open or real about when it comes to fitness, living a balanced lifestyle or the drinking culture?

I wish people were more honest that living a balanced lifestyle is not always an even distribution between everything in your life. Some points in your life cause you to focus more on one facet of your life. That’s ok as long as it’s making you happy! If not, it’s not worth it.

How do you seek out community? 

I seek out community by finding people with similar passions and putting myself out there to meet new people. Luckily my job is rooted in community so I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people in the DC community.

What's the hardest part of maintaining a work life balance?

For me it’s saying no. I love helping people and can tend to be a people pleaser. Learning to say no when needed is a game changer and keeps you from burning out.

What’s the hardest part of adulthood? 

The hardest part of adulthood for me is finding balance. DC is a work hard, play hard city. Finding time for your career, your personal health, your relationships can be a lot to manage.

What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? 

Change is a good thing!

Do you live by any mottos or mantras?

Stand tall is my favorite mantra. First, because I am 6’2” and growing to have confidence in my height was a journey for me. Over the years I’ve also learned the importance of being brave and standing up for what and who you believe in.

How do you stay motivated, both at work and in your active life? 

I stay motivated by making sure I am practicing self-care. Whether that’s allowing time for a vacation or allowing time in my day to work out. Once I focus my energy on being my best self I am able to be more creative, more present, and more motivated.

What advice do you have for people who want to make changes in their diets or fitness plans? Or for people who aren't happy with their status quo? 

Start with making small changes, be consistent, don’t be too hard on yourself, and follow your passion-- it will always lead you to the right place. 

How do you turn around a bad day? Any tips/tricks? 

When I am having an off day, I take a break and listen to a motivating podcast (shout out to Super Soul by Oprah!) or my favorite music at the time. I am a huge fan of rap so that always puts me in a better mood and makes me feel like a badass.

I make time daily for_______

Reading. Whether it is poetry or a novel- I try to read when I wake up or before bed each day.