Editor’s Note: “Out To Lunch” is a periodic feature that allows readers a chance to learn about the people behind the titles in Gwinnett County through a lunchtime conversation with a member of the GDP staff. The subject picks the place, we pick up the tab and then share the conversations that occur during the meal.
Lisa Anders has a secret. Although she is the executive director for Explore Gwinnett, which is part of the Gwinnett County Convention and Vistors Bureau, she lives out of the county.
“I live in Marietta, but I like to keep that on the down low,” she said over lunch at Park Cafe in Duluth. “I work in Gwinnett and have worked in Gwinnett — I just had my 17-year anniversary with the bureau — so, in one way I’m like a true visitor every day.”
And she doesn’t mind because it has helped her with her job.
“It gives me a different perspective. It’s actually helpful,” Anders said. “When you live here and always lived here, you see things a certain way, instead of seeing it from an outsider’s perspective. That’s how we market — from the outsider’s perspective.”
It’s not that she wouldn’t live in Gwinnett, but she has started a new life with her second husband, Jim, her 15-year-old son Ben and 14-year-old stepdaughter Isabella.
Plus, two dogs and a cat.
WHAT WE ATE
1 Coffee $3
1 Ginger ale $2.50
1 Grilled chicken caesar salad with a side of honey mustard $15
1 Daily lunch special $10
“We looked at Peachtree Corners, but my husband needed to be near (Interstate) 75,” Anders said, who’s son goes to school in Roswell. “We literally took a map to find a house for all of us.”
The collection of family members — and animals — makes for adventure in the household.
“(Ben and I) went from our own little world to the Brady Bunch family,” Anders said. “(Ben and Isabella have) known each other for a long time, but it was always sort of awkward (because of their ages). Now that they’ve matured, they’re BFFs. They’re both only children ... now they have an extended family.”
Before anyone moved in together, Anders married her husband Oct. 27 at the Hudgens Center for the Arts on a 65 degree afternoon.
“It was beautiful,” she said. “When I did my first wedding, I did it the way my parents would've wanted it and that was fine. I wanted to make (this wedding) the way we wanted it. We had a cocktail hours in the garden before the wedding. People were able to chit-chat and have a few drinks before the wedding and they loved it.”
The two didn’t ask any friends to be in the ceremony. Just the children. Ben was the best man and Isabella was a the maid of honor.
“I didn’t have any of my friends in it,” Anders said. “I told them, ‘Y’all are too old and we didn’t want to pick out dresses.’ They were like ‘Thank God.’”
Beside gaining a daughter, Anders also gained a cook in the marriage.
“I love food, but I don’t cook at all,” she said. “I always makes simple things like spaghetti or a salad. My husband, thank the good Lord, is a great cook. He’s the one who can look at a random thing of ingredients and makes something delicious.”
Anders is learning to adjust to her new life. Balancing work and family is still a struggle for the Marietta resident, who is self-proclaimed phone addict. So, when she’s not in the office, the mother of two hits the tennis courts.
“Tennis is my thing. Throughout the year, I play on eight different teams. I started playing like three years ago,” she said. “But with a new life, I’m still trying to balance work and pleasure. I think I’m doing a good job so far.”