Wellness Made Simple
What is a signature experience? Tamara Erickson, known for her books on generations in the workforce, tells us that a signature experience is a visible, distinctive element of an overall employee experience.
When you tell a new hire, what it’s like to work here, you share the values and attributes that make it unique. Companies that care about their people have among other tangible experiences, built wellness and well-being into their culture.
Our interview this month is with CEO, Mika Leah, entrepreneur, mother and young heart disease survivor and known by her clients to “make wellness simple” in a personalized experience for your employees. She has a thriving company, Goomi Group, and is a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association and a member of their Board of Directors.
Sherry (SB): Fitness is your thing – tell me about how that became your mission.
Mika Leah (ML): For me I had always been an athlete, a soccer player and dancer. My dad had a heart attack at age 32 and I was a young third grader at that time. The shift my mom took to more active living, eating healthier and taking care of ourselves had a significant impact on me.
I became an advocate for health. After my own diagnosis and multiple heart surgeries, I was told that my life might be shorter. It prompted me to think about the legacy I wanted to create and what to leave on this earth. It became clear to me that I wanted to help others get healthy and happy.
SB: What does “making wellness simple” mean to you?
ML: Having spent years in the advertising business, I learned a lot about the challenge of achieving health and happiness in a high intensity driving business. To make it simple, I thought I could bring exercise to the workplace, making a difference in the health and wellbeing of others.
This concept grew and in 2015 it became the foundation for our company, Goomi Group, based in LA and serving 90+ companies in over 40 states. The idea was to make wellness simple by bringing on-site fitness & wellness directly to the office.
Offering a full range of courses in yoga, meditation, and exercise reinforces the company’s commitment to caring for their workers, whether they are centralized or remote, large or small. People want to feel valued and our classes send that message. The growing millennial workforce understands this and places high value on wellness.
SB: Tell me more about the Goomi Group?
ML: We have an amazing team of partners, clients, instructors and employees who offer customized wellness courses all over the US. We are a woman owned business and run by women. Our clients can pick and choose what is best for them. There is no budget too small.
Our goal is to have as many participants as possible and make wellness accessible for everyone. That means offering a flat rate for classes with clear menu driven options that add value. Our inside team is comprised of a marketing manager, business development leader, managing director, brand partnership lead, CFO and administrative support. The outside team is comprised of 415 instructors. Most everyone works from home and there is flexibility in how we all work. I am committed to our culture of family comes first.
SB: From your experiences with other companies and workers, why is putting ourselves first such a challenge?
ML: I believe as women, we are the caretakers, and HR people are too….spending all of our energy taking care of others, while not finding time to take care of ourselves. The truth is, that if we don’t take care of ourselves first then we will not be here to take care of our family, friends and loved ones. We must put our oxygen mask on first, before we help others.
The younger generation is doing a much better job of taking care of themselves. We are just now learning how to do this better.
SB: Do you see something different in this new generation of leaders – the 20 and 30 somethings?
ML: I think our society is moving in the direction of wholistic wellness. The shift I see is that we experience friends taking on illness, cancer, and so on at an earlier age. It forces us to take a second look at ourselves. Companies see the need to care for their people outside of a paycheck. More companies are taking the time to offer wellness programs to their employees. This is a shift and not a trend.
SB: You have an impressive list of clients - how did you build those relationships?
ML: I understand advertising and marketing for I was in that corporate culture for 17 years. I typically worked from 8am to 8pm and thereby worked myself to the brink. I understand the language and reality of business. Today, I have consciously chosen to work with companies that have the same core values we share at Goomi of helping others be healthy and happy. And, I am not afraid of walking away from a client opportunity if our values are not in alignment. I am so grateful to work with clients who are on the same page with commitment to their humans and themselves. Our smallest client is 14 people and largest has thousands in nationwide firms.
SB: What is the advice you would like to share with those new to wellness?
ML: Support for any successful wellness class or experience comes from senior management. Get your senior leaders to model this value of health by attending a course. Walk the talk. Your people will see the leaders of the company authentically embracing the importance of health and happiness.
Try this out; meditation at 2 or 3 pm – as a break; evening classes, start the morning with meditation or offer lunch and learns, cooking demonstrations or massages. Get creative and we will too – we have the breadth and depth to address each culture and recognize that each office has unique needs.
SB: What is your favorite fitness thing?
ML: I think yoga is my favorite…and country dancing with my Texan husband!
There are two dimensions to “employee experience.” One allows us to work on the inner game and the other, the outer game. It reminds me of the advice my colleague Tammy Sicard gave me on the power of AND.
What I mean is that we have an “inner” part of who we are and what gifts we bring to our work and how we allow our best most vulnerable self to show up. We also have an outer part which is the development of skills based learning. It is time to move our thinking and actions on employee experience from either/or to AND or both.
Mika is helping companies see the power of allowing our inner self to flourish through health, personal wellness and in return, ultimately greater fulfillment and stronger results.
Check out her site and start a conversation with your organizational leaders about their own health and wellbeing. Then, the opportunity to create something for the whole seems natural.
To learn more about Mika’s organization, check this out: