Meet Jacqueline Alexander, a biracial woman of Thai and Anglo-Irish heritage living on the land of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne, Australia) and a mother of two. She has 20 years of experience leading high-performing teams in the health and wellness industry and is deeply passionate about creating spaces where people can be seen and heard.
Her journey to truly understand who she was, began with yoga, the teachings of which are one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. So much so, that they led her to co-found Humming Puppy yoga studios; A business idea that grew from one yoga studio to an international community now operating in New York, Sydney, and Melbourne AUS alongside a global on-demand yoga platform.
While she doesn’t teach yoga ‘on the mat’ as much anymore, Jacqueline has thoughtfully combined her practice with years of professional development and business-building experience and founded her coaching agency Space to be Heard in 2021.
In everything she does, Jacqueline is dedicated to fiercely maintaining authenticity, integrity, and leading by her values. She believes in aligning ourselves with actions that create positive change, and for her Humming Puppy and Space to be Heard are brave containers for people to see themselves fully in an ever-changing world.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Jacqueline Alexander: I’m Jacqueline, Co-Founder of Humming Puppy yoga studios and Founder of Space to Be Heard coaching agency.
I truly believe that when we listen deeply to ourselves and others, we can live and work with integrity, meaning, and creativity. That’s why I’m passionate about creating and holding space for people to be seen and heard.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve been blessed to lead incredible teams in the health and wellness industry. Including co-founding Humming Puppy, which grew from one yoga studio to an international community now operating in New York, Sydney and Melbourne AUS alongside a global on-demand yoga platform. A natural extension of my role within Humming Puppy led me to founding my coaching agency Space to be Heard in 2021 where I now coach and mentor others in their roles and business.
I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others to help them see their potential. To experience holistic work practices that consider our whole selves through connecting the mind, body, and spirit.
What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you at your company since you started working there?
Jacqueline Alexander: Humming Puppy: The pandemic by far was one of the most significant moments for our business. It gave us an opportunity to pause and look internally at how we were operating, what was and wasn’t working and what we needed to change to create a thriving environment for our teams that was sustainable for the long term.
Space to be Heard: an idea that I conceived in late 2018 became clearer and refined. I viewed the potential of this offering in a different light based on our learnings within Humming Puppy.
No one can achieve success without some help. Who helped you become successful? Can you share a story about that person?
Jacqueline Alexander: I have been fortunate to be surrounded by many people who have supported, guided, advised and challenged me in my career.
The one person who stands out the most and who has had a significant impact on my growth in the last two years was my mentor Janessa Mondestin. I began working with Janessa In the height of the pandemic, a time when the world, my life, and our business felt like it was imploding in on itself! Life was dynamic and things were changing all the time. Our weekly one on ones were a highlight of my week and provided me with a supportive, safe, and relatable space to be me without judgment.
Can you tell our readers how your company is different in your industry? Give us examples to illustrate those differences.
Jacqueline Alexander: Humming Puppy: We have incorporated a sound therapy element into our classes that is unlike any other yoga studio. We created ‘the hum’ which is a soundscape that combines both digital and organic sound frequencies; specifically 7.83hz and 40hz. By immersing yourself in these sound waves during practice the brain naturally produces the same frequencies through the process of entrainment.
7.83hz is known as the Schumann Resonance and mimics the frequency of the earth itself, assisting in restoring the mind to a state of equilibrium. 40hz is specifically associated with ‘Gamma’ brainwave activity and integral for achieving states of peak performance. Therefore the two combined frequencies offer grounding and focus during classes.
Whilst this has an ornate complexity to it; I believe ‘the Hum’ provides a singular and joyful experience alongside all of our offerings.
Adapt or die is a necessity when navigating challenging times. Tell us how your industry is changing since the pandemic started.
Jacqueline Alexander: The health and wellness industry is a complex one that cultivates unhealthy work practices leaving those that work in the industry feeling unwell and burnt out!
From an internal perspective: We recognised and made significant changes to the way we work by incorporating work from home opportunities and adapting to online meetings which have improved productivity and time efficiency.
From an external perspective: We recognised that not everyone wants to or feels comfortable practicing in a studio. Therefore the opportunity to reach more people through our online platform gave more people the chance to ‘be well’ and practice in a way that suited their lifestyle.
Many readers wonder what are the biggest challenges you had to overcome in 2021 to remain successful?
Jacqueline Alexander: The biggest challenges we had to overcome were the ongoing lockdowns and mental health of our teams.
How did you overcome these obstacles? What helped you the most during these difficult times?
Jacqueline Alexander: We prioritised regular connection with our teams to ensure they felt supported along the way. We let go of the way things used to be, got comfortable with constant change, and adapted as needed.
We allowed ourselves to find a new way of working and being in our roles, recognising that worked in the past was no longer sustainable.
Share some lessons you learned while adapting your business practices during the past couple of years.
Jacqueline Alexander: I think one of the biggest lessons I learned as a founder and COO was that I didn’t have to do it all on my own. My team was willing and able to co-create, collaborate and share the load of the responsibility across the business with me.
Being vulnerable and transparent with our teams about the reality of the business’s financial status and pressures brought on by the pandemic was invaluable. While they were difficult conversations to have our teams respected and appreciated knowing where things stood and stood by us.
I also recognised that if you genuinely invest time and energy into your team (like we have always done) they will be there for you in times of crisis. I fully appreciated and saw the benefits of working from home and creating space for ‘deep work time’ and encouraged these practices in our leadership teams.
There is no such thing as ‘perfect’ or ‘perfection’ let go of how things were/how you ideally want them to be and allow space for change.
What advice did you wish you had received before the pandemic that you’d like to share now with aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jacqueline Alexander: Don’t dismiss the ‘other’ ideas you have for your business because you don’t have the time or the money.
At Humming Puppy we thought of creating an online offering for some time but were forced (somewhat) into creating our online studio when the pandemic hit. It became our only source of income for many months and has allowed us to share and connect with a global audience.
Think outside of the walls of your main service or offerings, think big, and dream a little about other ways to share your passion and connect to audiences that are not in your direct vision.
All great companies are spearheaded by great leaders, but tell us how your team supported your decisions? Is there a particular example that stands out the most?
Jacqueline Alexander: My team at Humming Puppy were /are eager and keen to have their ideas heard and implemented within the business.
The majority are self-led individuals and are pro-active in their own growth and development.
They supported me by collaborating with each other, sharing, brainstorming, offering feedback, and taking control of projects and tasks in an autonomous manner.
What do you plan on tackling during 2022? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Jacqueline Alexander: Our goal is to rebuild our business from the inside out in a way that is sustainable for all while providing on-going growth and direction desired by our teams and community. One of our key focuses is to grow in the online community and explore the many opportunities the online space has to offer.
We anticipate having to battle a heavily impacted society that will take some time to recover from the last two years and are realistic about the potentially bumpy road out of the pandemic. However, with the knowledge we have gained over the last two years we believe we will be able to weather the storm.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, I do have one more question for you. When was the last time you did something for the first time and what was it?
Jacqueline Alexander: The last time I did something for the first time was taking a solo road trip!’Road trips were part of my life growing up but I’ve never taken one on my own until a week ago.
It was an incredibly freeing experience to be a solo explorer, while many moments felt familiar it also felt like a curious adventure and one that I’ll cherish for years to come.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jacqueline Alexander for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jacqueline Alexander or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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