louise balma

How Giving Back Make You Happier

Louise Balma helped me wrap up Women’s History Month with a fresh episode of The State of Happiness podcast. I’m bringing you into my world and sharing how Louise influences my life and career since I was a final nominee for the Women to Watch award.

Louise’s Role In The History of Skateboarding

“During the height of the Hard Rock contests, these guys were the players at the Hard Rock Cafe and our title sponsor. I was in a man’s world during most of my life, with my profession as an Architect, and with my husband. In skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding it was full of men in the positions of power.” Louise

Louise Balma and Larry Balma are a power couple in action sports. Larry is co-founder of Tracker Trucks and Transworld Magazine. If you love surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and anything to do with action sports, then you’re probably separated six degrees to Louise Balma.

Along with her husband, Louise has positively influenced the careers of famous figures in action sports. Some notable and well-loved names are TV presenter Sal Masekela, Olympic Gold Medalist and Snowboarder Shaun White, and Skateboarder Tony Hawk.

What Makes Louise Balma My Woman of Influence?

Louise, while formally retired, has many jobs. She’s a city planning commissioner for the city of Oceanside, an architect, she volunteers to save South Morro Hills agricultural lands, and she also helps the California Surf Museum in Oceanside. This is just one of the many, what she calls “give back” efforts she takes on.

Louise Balma is magnetic. Her positive attitude, friendliness, and humility make her a mesmerizing person. When I am with Louise, I can’t help but feel that something important and magical is happening. She energizes me and motivates me to continue pursuing my goals and live my ideals.

“Early days at Tracker, still working in Architecture in Laguna Beach. My life was going to skateboarding contests with my then boyfriend Larry.”

BONUS STORY: Louise’s Story On How She Helped Start Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White Start His Snowboarding Career In Her Own Words:

Back in the 90’s Transworld produced an event called Board AID which was the original board sports charity event. Since its inception in 1994 Board AID and in the five years it was produced, Board AID raised 696,000 dollars, which was granted through LIFEbeat to organizations that provide prevention, education, and/or direct services to adolescents affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS.
Board AID combined, skateboarding, snowboarding, and big-name musical guests in a carnival-like atmosphere. Tony Hawk, Andy Macdonald, Bob Burnquist, and Brian Patch are among the many professional skateboarders who have been on hand for the vert demos at each event. Snowboarders Peter Line, Daniel Franck, Bjorn Leines, Nicola Thost, and Travis Parker have participated in the big-air and halfpipe demos. The Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, Bad Religion, Sublime, Tribe Called Quest, and Wyclef Jean and The Refugee Allstars have graced Board AID’s stages. 
I think it was the Board AID 2 that Shaun Whites mother Cathy, who was and still is a very powerful force behind Shaun success, approached me. She asked me if Shaun could skate on the ramp with the Pros. My first answer was no, but she continued on telling be of all of Shaun’s contest winnings in the local amateur Big Bear contests and was very passionate about her request. With our insurance and the time allowed for the skateboarding demo there just wasn’t a lot of time to allow a total unknown amateur to skate on the ramp with Tony Hawk, Andy McDonald and Bob Burnquist, these guys were the top of their game and our attendees wanted to see them. But I took a chance and I went to the pros and asked to let Shaun skate with them for a while during practice and give me their option if they wanted to skate with him, they came back with a YES! The kid was good, so the rest is history.

Why You Should Listen To This Episode of The State of Happiness

In this episode, Louise tells us how she:

  • Influenced the careers of Tony Hawk, Sal Masekela, Chad Dinenna, and more.
  • Became an architect and agriculturalist with an avocado farm.
  • Works as an influential philanthropist.

She gives tips to:

There is so much more to this fantastic episode, that you just can’t miss it. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Leslie Juvin-Acker

Leslie Juvin-Acker is Chief Happiness Officer of Leslie Inc. Since 2008, she has been coaching executives and business leaders all over the world. She is an expert in emotional intelligence and helps professionals tap into their own imagination to find solutions for personal and professional happiness.

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