Whether it’s leaving home for college or moving to a new city on a whim, stepping outside one’s comfort zone can be a nerve-racking experience.
Anjali Lapierre prefers to call it by another name.
“To me, that’s life,” says LaPierre, who recently celebrated three years as a content coordinator with Trueline. “I’ve never been afraid to try new things, new places, new jobs. New beers!”
It’s a perspective that LaPierre learned to embrace early on—even if it sometimes meant enduring Hell on Earth.
Well, sort of.
Handling the heat
As a high-school student in Hampstead, New Hampshire, a small town near the Massachusetts border, LaPierre spent her summers working at the nearby Canobie Lake Park (picture a small-scale Six Flags).
“I’ve never been afraid to try new things, new places, new jobs. New beers!”
Her first job? Mingling with visitors while donning massive animal costumes—often in the scorching summer heat.
“It was hot, not gonna lie,” LaPierre says with a laugh. “The giant bear costume was probably the worst. I learned pretty quick that I didn’t want to make that a career. Though I actually really enjoyed the job. Molly the Mouse was my favorite costume, I practically lived in it.”
After graduating from Pinkerton Academy, one of the largest high schools in the state, LaPierre attended the tiny Lyndon State College in Northern Vermont (now Northern Vermont University). Enrollment: 1,200.
“We had to drive 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart,” recalls LaPierre, a music business industry major who moonlighted as a sound mixer and lighting designer for the school’s on-campus theater. “It was very different from where I grew up, going to a school that was basically the size of my high-school class. But it was a fun experience. I still dream about how beautiful it is up there. The green mountains are breathtaking. It’s like a second home.”
On the road
Degree in hand, she moved back home. By day, she supervised ticket sales at the Southern New Hampshire University Arena. By night, she worked the box office at the legendary House of Blues in Boston.
Eventually, the daily commute took its toll. Eager for another change, LaPierre and her longtime boyfriend (and now-fiancé), Corbet, moved to Maine in the spring of 2017. Settling in Portland, LaPierre landed a job as a content coordinator with Trueline, working on the then-new Toggle magazine.
Within months, Corbet was offered a job at one of Connecticut’s biggest craft breweries. It was an opportunity too good to pass up. Not wanting to abandon her own post, LaPierre approached CEO Haj Carr with the idea of working remotely—a privilege typically reserved for Trueline veterans.
“Haj and Sean [O’Reilly] put a lot of trust in me to allow me to do that, not even knowing if I’d be successful,” she says. “It’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.”
Raising a glass
From the couple’s Westbrook, Connecticut farmhouse—which they share with their two best friends from college (and a Great Pyrenees named Nova)—LaPierre continues to be a Toggle stalwart, with a focus on CIOs and CTOs in the nation’s universities and public-school systems.
She’s also something of a trendsetter: When COVID-19 forced Trueline to virtualize its entire operations, management asked LaPierre to share some tips on how to maximize productivity while working remotely.
As for Corbet: He’s still plying his trade as a brewer at Stony Creek Brewery, the business having been deemed essential by Connecticut’s governor. The arrangement makes LaPierre a little nervous, because of the potential exposure to the virus—though the perks certainly help.
“I love beer, so at least we have that,” she quips. “Stouts are my favorite, but I tend to be pretty seasonal with what I drink: lagers and pilsners in the summer, darker beers in the winter.”
Always on the lookout
Once life returns to normal, the couple hopes to resume a favorite weekend pastime: touring the region’s endless array of breweries.
Truth be told, there’s one drive LaPierre looks forward to more than any other: the one that leads to her favorite New England city.
“Every time I come up to Portland for a few days, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I love it, and I ask myself, ‘Why haven’t we moved back here yet?’ she says. “I love Novare Res. I love the food. There’s a great speakeasy we love to visit.”
Where is it, you ask?
“That I can’t tell you,” she says. “All I’ll say is it has a hidden entrance, it’s somewhere on Exchange Street, and everything in there is five bucks.”
In other words: the kind of place that only those with an adventurous soul can find.
Favorite Stout: Stay Puft from Barreled Souls.
Best House of Blues Show She’s Seen: Mighty Mighty BossTones (I go to their annual “HomeTown ThrowDown” event every year). Honorable Mentions: Logic, Dropkick Murphys, Streetlight Manifesto.
Zoom or HouseParty?: What on earth is HouseParty?
Favorite Pastime at Lyndon State College: Skiing at Burke Mountain. Swimming at Lake Willoughby. Eating all the free Cabot Cheese samples.
Is Connecticut Pizza Worth the Hype?: I don’t know if I would say it’s worth the hype, but it will hold a special place in your heart.