[Pep-Partner Spotlight] Wellbeing programs are powered by great people & content

As the Operations Overlord at PepTalk, I am privileged to work with a group of experts that align with the values and philosophies of PepTalk and are also really sound! These experts, also known as our Pep Partners are a vital part of our online and on-site programs.

In the first of a new series, I will be chatting to these partners to share a bit more about them, their insights when it comes to their area of expertise and the industry in general.

Delighted to announce that first up in the series is Julie Millen, also known as Julie B Yoga!

Julie is a yoga guru and entrepreneur, with a degree in International Business specialising in Marketing. Julie has worked with professional athletes in Rugby, Olympic Weightlifting and Boxing and specialised in sports yoga. She is the founder of Hotpod Yoga Dublin and opened her first Yoga Studio in Dublin in October 2017.

So Julie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a yoga teacher and wellness consultant based in Dublin. I wasn’t always in the Wellness space - I worked as an events manager in Dublin for a number of years, before moving to London in 2010. Whilst in London I worked as a Marketing manager, then moved into a Sales Director role but even though I loved the buzz of my job, I felt something was missing.

I made the leap into working full time as a yoga teacher and started 'Julie B Yoga'. I was lucky enough to work with some incredible athletes on their training and recovery programmes and began working in the corporate wellness space. I’ve worked with many companies including Harrods, Sky, Linked In, Facebook, Zendesk, Autodesk to name but a few.

I moved back to Dublin in 2016 bringing 'Julie B yoga' with me and decided to follow another dream of mine - opening my own yoga studio. With the help of my husband, we run classes 7 days a week in the heart of the city, I absolutely love the community we are building and being a part of this exciting and ever-changing industry.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge in your career?

Turning what you love and are really passionate about, into what you rely on to make money from. It sounds lovely when you are in a secure role in the corporate world and feeling stressed up to your eyeballs, that you are going to follow your dream and become a full-time yoga teacher but the reality is difficult. I found it challenging in the early days to keep up my own practice and love for yoga, but as with anything, you learn by your mistakes and sometimes you just need to dive right in to work out how to handle things best.

It’s also hard taking time off, it’s hard to say no and turn work down. I am very lucky to work with some amazing brands and companies doing all kinds of events and public speaking and I hate letting people down, but I’ve learnt the hard way that if I don’t factor in down time for me I burn out- again all part of the learning curve. So it’s just about keeping a balance and keeping myself focused on that.

Coming from the corporate world and working with many organisations, where do you see the role of wellbeing in the workplace heading?

I think it’s an essential, rather than a nice to have benefit in a company.

I am delighted to see a huge shift in this area the last number of years. More and more companies are recognising the importance of providing an environment for employees which encourages self-care, wellness, mindfulness - a real culture of Wellbeing.

Companies who don’t see the importance of this as a key part of every day will very soon be left behind and risk losing employees. The shift isn’t just in the workplace, people are more interested in their health and wellbeing in every area of their life. They are becoming more curious in understanding and realising the benefits of looking after themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Companies who embody this as part of their culture have a huge competitive advantage.

I have seen a huge rise in demand from companies looking to offer so much more than yoga and fruit to tick the Wellbeing box. They are seeing first hand that employees are more motivated, engaged and perform better when their Wellbeing is supported in the office environment- through movement classes, mindfulness, stress management and motivational talks to help with everyday challenges etc.

I have also noticed a huge increase in companies looking to offer 1-1 sessions with executives on everything from mindfulness to yoga to help them de-stress and relax whilst also helping them to take time out and find time for self-care which again results in an increase in productivity but also a better connection to their teams.

At PepTalk HQ, we love a good recommendation, is there anything that you are reading or listening to at the moment that you would recommend?

I’ve recently got into podcasts - I find them a great way to switch off. My favourites are:

Julie B at WellFest

What would you say are the most common misconceptions about yoga?

I always say that I’m not your typical yoga person. Before I started yoga, just over 10 years ago, I thought it was something for old or lazy people. I thought it was very slow moving, simple stretches with lots of breathing and chanting - definitely not for me. In fact, I was dragged along to my first yoga class by a colleague of mine at the time on the promise of a glass of wine after.

I was absolutely shocked to find the class really physically challenging. Very quickly I realised my perception was totally wrong. There are so many different types of yoga and yes, there are the very slow classes but as I’ve learned over the years these can be great at times too. It all depends what you are looking for - forget the fancy names or the different styles. I can tell you that if I can do yoga and enjoy it, anyone can. Honestly there is something in it for everyone - it’s about finding the right teacher and class. Different days you will want different things - it’s ok to want to have a really strong workout one day and another day to want a slower class to ease out those tight muscles. There are so many options out there but don’t let that put you off, don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher or studio and tell them what you are looking for so they can point you in the right direction.

What’s your one wellbeing tip for busy professionals?

Make ‘time for you’ an item in your calendar. Just like you put meetings in your diary. When you are planning your week find time in your week for you. It can be a walk, a contactless coffee/ lunch (no phones or laptops), a run, a swim, yoga… whatever helps you unwind and relax.

Want to see & hear more from Julie B?

Julie’s bespoke yoga video series is part of PepTalk on-line programs.

She also runs a suite of on-site movement classes exclusively for PepTalk clients.

If you're interested for your company, reach out to us at hello@peptalk.ie

We recommend you follow her on social media on @juliebyoga and @hotpodyogadublin

Aishling jennings

operations overlord @ PepTalk

Let's make work better …

At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes.

To find out more about this area and our wider PepTalk offering book a demonstration at www.peptalk.ie or email james@peptalk.ie

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