Dr. Alicia Gwynn, the Wife of San Diego’s Most Beloved Baseball Player, Is Leading Women to Ultimate Empowerment
WHAT DOES YOUR NEXT CHAPTER LOOK LIKE?
San Diego Women’s Week is celebrating eleven years of inspiring and empowering women. From various ages, backgrounds, and professions, women are connected through keynote presentations and panel discussions and encouraged to rediscover themselves as unique and powerful individuals.
This year’s panel, “What Does Your Next Chapter Look Like,” features Dr. Alicia Gwynn, who was married to Tony Gwynn, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Dr. Gwynn is a successful woman who has built empires, leading her life as a philanthropist, recording artist, entrepreneurial businesswoman, and family matriarch. As a leading example in personal development, she is a worthy inspiration to countless women.
Q: Tell us about San Diego Women’s Week — and can you give us a sneak preview of what you are going to talk about?
A: [San Diego Women’s Week] is such an empowering time for women, having women lifting each other up. Since Tony has passed, I’ve had to figure out how to go on with my life. I remember so many life lessons from Tony. He always wanted me to sing and I’ve always wanted to sing. I’ll talk about how you never want to regret not doing something. My only regret is that he isn’t here to see me sing.
I’ll be talking about taking the torch and going on without Tony. There are a lot of women that I know where it’s very difficult to do this. For me, it’s a reminder all the time: I see the freeway, I see the statue, I see the stadium. I’m really proud of it because it’s part of his legacy now; it’s part of the foundation that my son and my daughter run.
My main focus is empowering women, you know, I do a lot of one-on-one counseling sessions with women just to encourage them, to uplift them. My slogan is “I am that woman, and BE that woman. For the young girls, the young ladies, I say “become that woman”. That’s what I speak about a lot, it’s one of the things that has helped me transition after Tony was gone, transitioning into carrying on the work. One of the things Tony said before he passed was “Lish, you have to carry on, you gotta finish the work.” And so here I am. He also said, “Enjoy your life, have fun, do your
thing” and so I’m doing that! I have my wine, my Batter-Up, my barbecue sauce . . . I’m having fun with it, I’m enjoying it. I’m bringing on other women to get involved in it, and teaching them how to start their business one thing at a time, one step at a time.
Q: Many of us seem to be on a journey of transitioning or reinventing ourselves. What advice would you give to women who are on a journey like this?
A: I was telling my daughter, “Life is so short. We got to appreciate life and enjoy each other.” I never get off the phone without telling my grandkids that I love them . . . or my daughter, or my son, or my niece. I’ll text them at night, “I love you” and it’s so nice to get the response back from my grandchildren, “love you too, Gigi.” I think that with us coming together, this [San Diego] Women’s Week is perfect for this.
Most of us have a lot of things in common. Some are going through a divorce; some are going through “empty nest” [syndrome]. Those of us with experience can help and assist. I love it because we get to talk to each other and meet women, meet people that we’ve never met before and hear their stories.
I just think it’s a wonderful thing because it really uplifts me when I hear them. When I walk away from Women’s Week, I feel refueled, I feel regenerated, I feel fresh and anew! It’s just wonderful that we can empower each other, we can encourage each other, that we can lift each other up.
One of the things I say is, “Don’t give up. There are going to be peaks, there are going to be valleys, there are going to be mountains. But we can overcome and cross those mountains.”
I think patience is the key. We get frustrated, but never give up! One of the things that I always tell people is “stay the course. It doesn’t matter how difficult it looks, how difficult it sounds, stay that course because you are going to find that gem that is going to help you through all this along the way.” “Stay encouraged, don’t let anybody discourage you, just try to keep the negativity away from you and try to stay positive. Of course, we can get down but the main thing is to stay the course, keep it true to ourselves.”
“One of the things I held onto at the end of Tony’s life (and this was one of the worst things that I didn’t want to hear) was when he said, “Lish, you know,
I’m ready, I’m dying . . . what good is life if you can’t have a good quality of life? I need to know that you are going to carry on, that you are going to finish the work.” He said, “I just need to know that. ‘Cuz I’ll be your angel watching over you.”
And that’s what made me go on. He said “finish the work, carry on, keep the family together. I’ll be your angel watching over you.” And I feel it all the time,
I just feel it all the time. Whenever I get down, I can hear his voice: “You can do it, Lish. You can do it.”
Q: Who are your mentors?
A: One of my mentors is my mom, for sure. I
watched the little lady raise eight kids and catching the bus. She’s still going strong. She is 86 years old, walking six miles a day, staying healthy. Just watching her makes me feel really good.
Another one of my mentors is Dr. Shirley Weber, one of the state legislators here in San Diego. She was one of Tony’s professors at San Diego State. I look at Toni Atkins, one of our state senators as well. I look at those people, at the way they are always true to themselves.
Miss Billye Aaron, she’s been a mentor to me. She’s the wife of the greatest baseball Hall of Famer, Hank Aaron. I always watched her and Jackie Robinson’s wife. They were in the same profession. I always watched them and how they handled themselves with grace, so much class. I watched them as I was coming up through the ranks. I got a chance to talk to them a lot and it was really encouraging for me, just to watch how they carried themselves as wives. Billye owned her own business, and Rachel carrying on Jackie Robinson’s legacy was a wonderful thing to watch. She’s ninety-plus, and she’s still doing it.
Q: As a counselor and a successful woman who has dealt with loss and grief, what advice do you have that would help other women get through the process?
A: Everybody always says, “Time heals all wounds.” I really disagree with that. I have realized that I will have this pain for the rest of my life. But it’s how I
deal with the pain and how I get through the pain. You have to learn how to find different things to help deal with it, to get you through it. I only speak for myself. I know the pain; I learned to deal with it; I learned to find different ways to learn how to deal with it.
I think about the good times and great times I’ve spent with a wonderful man. But it’s making the adjustment and learning how to deal with grief. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s never going to go away. It’s how you learn to make the adjustment and how you would carry on and thinking about what they would have wanted you to do.
You have to make sure that you know yourself. Sometimes we can get so caught up with our spouses and everything. That was the one thing that Tony would do. He would let me be me. We were “co-interdependent”. We were like a team. We would discuss things together.
We worked together as a team. You’ve got to know who you are and believe who you are, and trust who you are. That is important for all women. And then you have to be confident in who you are. You can’t be confident in something you’re doing and fail to be confident in yourself ‘cause it doesn’t work that way.
Q: What forms of self-care do you today for yourself amid your music career and managing other businesses?
A: I get up every morning at 5:30am. and I power walk. I power walk about 4 miles. I always do them five days a week. I go two miles up, and two miles back. Just a little hilly challenge, you know it helps me clear my mind. I have grandchildren, and they want you to do things with them. You gotta keep your body right, stay a little bit in shape to keep up with these kids. What I do is I take some time for myself. If I want to go to a spa day and just relax, sometimes I just stay at home. Everyday I try to release the things that I have no control over. I only take care of the things I can control. I release everything that I can’t take care of. I like to free my mind every day. People ask me why I am so laid-back. But what am I supposed to be? I don’t want to be stressed, I don’t want to be uptight, I don’t want to be tense. I like to release every day. Meditation and prayer is absolutely a vital part of my life. When I read the Word, I meditate on the Word. You better know that, without God, I would fail.
Q: How is Alicia Gwynn today different from the Alicia Gwynn ten years ago?
A: I was very happily dedicated to my husband. I used to cook for him every day, I don’t think there was a time I didn’t cook. I always made sure everything was right with him. The Alicia Gwynn today is more entrepreneurial than she’s ever been. One thing I’m starting to do with my grandkids is really teaching them the Bible. I’m more active with my grandkids than ever; you don’t have a lot of time now! My mom and dad were both elders in the church, and then we became non-denominational. I remember once a month we used to do “shut-ins”. You go to church Friday night and you stay there ‘til Sunday morning. Every hour on the hour you would get up and pray. And then Sundays we would go home to get dressed and come back for day service. And people would say “really?” And I would say yup, that was a part of my life.
Q: You’re really hitting it on the career side now! It sounds like this is really your time to blossom. You have a new album release coming out; when does that hit and where can we find it?
A: That will hit next month, between the end of February or beginning of March. It’s called “Free.” My website is alishagwynnfans.com, and they’ll be able to download it from there. It’s probably going to be on Spotify and other music platforms.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I will continue to sing, I see myself traveling, just doing a lot of concerts and doing a lot of speaking, too. I want to continue the empowerment of women.
Q: If you had a magic wand, and you could create absolutely anything that you wanted, anything that matters to you, what would it be?
A: I don’t know, I would make the world a better place for sure. I would actually put all women in power, just to see all women excel and be the the leaders. I would want to make a woman the president.
Q: What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
A: Knowing that I have to complete the work. Knowing that there’s someone out there that needs me to talk to them, that someone out there needs help in some type of way. And you know what? It’s not always necessary just to talk to them. I might just pass somebody and just say, “Hi, how are you?” That makes people feel good. I get out of bed knowing that the goodness in me is going to impact someone that day.
Q: If you had one thing that you would leave behind as your legacy, what would it be?
A: I want my legacy to be: she did things the right way.
Q: How does one connect with you for counseling, advice or insight for women would like to reach you?
A: I’m getting ready to start a wine and a book club. It’s going to be different. We’re going to have books, but it’s really going to be there for women to chat and express themselves. That will start in April or May. The 411 on the rest of it will be on my website www.lishmusic.com
Q: What’s next for you after your album release?
A: I’m going to be doing a cooking show. You know, I’m a chef, right? Food is art.
You can purchase my food products such as Batter-Up, at Iowa Meats and Siesel’s here in San Diego.
We are currently working on a feature film documentary called, “Tony Gwynn- The Man” -an insiders look inside his heart and his life. It’s going to be fascinating. I will keep you posted.