Marshall Kupka-Moore is the CEO and co-founder of Source Wellness. With nearly a decade of contemplative practice experience, he prides himself on truly living what he teaches. By combining his passion for mindfulness and wellness, his dedication to promoting the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and his genuine care for the happiness and wellbeing of others, he guides Source Wellness towards revolutionizing the way DEI departments across the country are run. Marshall also loves art and co-founded the Bed-Stuy Art Residency.
Marshall has received training in Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, is a 200-hour certified Vinyasa yoga teacher and has studied with top religion, philosophy and African American Studies teachers at Emory University. He has taken multiple trips to India, met the Dalai Lama, lived with and learned from monks, and advised Emory University students while they explored the intersection of Buddhism and mind-body sciences.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Marshall Kupka-Moore: Source Wellness works at the intersection of DEI, Mindfulness, and Wellness, as we believe these concepts are inseparable. Each supports the others, and the lack of one diminishes the effectiveness of the others.
- DEI without mindfulness & wellness does not give practitioners the tools & skills to confront implicit bias or combat burnout.
- Mindfulness without DEI and wellness can be used to make people more efficient at the expense of wellbeing and inclusivity.
- Wellness without mindfulness and DEI neglects a crucial component of mind- training and can be very white-centric.
Source Wellness is my latest venture and I feel this is the one most closely aligns with my passions. I am a young entrepreneur in love with art, travel, sports, meditation, mindfulness, reading, and connecting with others. Source Wellness will eventually embed a lot of my interests here, but we start with a mission that sounds very simple, but has proved difficult to achieve.
Our mission is to support large corporations in their development of a culture grounded in the principles of DEI, mindfulness and wellness (DEIMW). We will do this through supporting overworked and understaffed DEI departments within Fortune 1000 companies. By providing webinars, workshops, and training programs on DEIMW on an enterprise-wide scale, we allow DEI professionals to focus on their most critical imperatives and spend more time on achieving larger and systematic changes within their companies.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: My general advice to everyone trying to succeed in business would be to learn about the intersection of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Mindfulness, and Wellness (DEIMW). But of course, as a business, you need to always consider the bottom line. So how can practicing DEIMW help the bottom line?
The engine of any workplace is the employees. If employees do not have a work life balance, if they do not feel comfortable, if they are not at peace, or if they don’t feel appreciated, this will lead to decreased investment, motivation, and efficiency. Research shows that devoting more effort towards improving DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and practicing Mindfulness and Wellness improve employee productivity.
One study by Minoo Ashuri, specifically based on Aetna, has shown employee stress levels decrease by 28% and an average of 62 minutes more productivity per week. That saves about $3,000 per employee per year.
My advice to any company would be to both teach and work at the intersection of these 3 areas of focus – DEI, Mindfulness, and Wellness.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: We actually started our company in the Summer of 2020 amongst all of the civil unrest of that time period. My business partner Jacob Aqua and I had the idea of Source Wellness for years, and the immense suffering that was apparent everywhere you looked during the epidemic was a clear call to action.
The world needs this now more than it ever did. Employees need to be trained on and practice mindfulness in order to grow on a personal level, relieve stress, develop a work-life balance, which will ultimately lead to better physical and mental health. Companies need our type of programming because their employees need it. Corporate training on DEI and Mindfulness was only recently established and has been growing since. This is the perfect time for us to join that wave and keep the industry moving forward.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: Specifically for Source Wellness, I don’t expect much to change – virtual is working well. We are still going to hit our growth target rate. Our Subject Matter Experts are comfortable presenting virtually and it actually saves costs for our clients. But of course, our preference is in person as it proves to be more effective and gather more engagement.
For smaller groups especially, having in person sessions is definitely more effective. For example, one of our clients, a top 20 in the Fortune 500 (I cannot disclose details as negotiations are still ongoing), requested a completely custom program with a cohort mode, which will runl in groups of 20 and will last 3 months per iteration. As long as the client and our SMEs feel comfortable hosting the sessions in person, that is our preference. Realistically however, most Source Wellness sessions will remain virtual for the remainder of 2022.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: I spend about 12 hours a day in front of a screen, 10-11 for work and 1-2 for entertainment. But at least half of my day usually goes towards meetings with clients, lawyers, and subject matter experts on things like DEI, mindfulness, mediation, exercise, social sciences, psychology, and neurology. If we were not in a pandemic, many of these meetings would likely be in person and that would drop my screen time down to 6-7. However, the pandemic has shifted the dynamic of regular business. A lot of these meetings may remain virtual from now on, for better or worse.
However, I would also like to note that I take many brief breaks to get away from the screen and I usually spend that time meditating to “re-calibrate” and get ready for the next round of screens
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: I am not like most executives. I am not always trying to persuade others that my way is the right way. I am always open to hearing from any member at Source Wellness. Rather than stories, I like to emphasize and promote open conversation in our business. Running a startup is intense, tensions can rise within the business and between employees, and we all know that.
With a “transparency is key” approach, at Source Wellness, we have established bi-weekly meetings to simply converse as a team. We have an all inclusive “No Judgment” meeting where any employee can talk about concerns that they have about the business, upcoming events, sales, and even about other employees in front of them. We get to hear what are often conceived as negative comments without judgment and it helps to hold each other accountable. With a meeting like this, no one needs to hold any thoughts or feelings inside, but they do have to speak in a way that promotes growth and conveys respect for others.
Beyond our no judgment zones, we have monthly “vision” meetings where we revisit the company’s mission and long term vision. This way, all team members feel invested in the long term growth of the company and we avoid conflicts that arise from diverging visions.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: All Source Wellness clients so far have come back or have met with us again. Once companies see the value that we provide, it is difficult to not come back for more. We make everything extremely easy for companies – we handle the logistics of putting together a program, we collect and provide feedback data, we create the content, we provide the SME facilitators (i.e. presenters), and most importantly, because we are able to provide all of this, our clients are able to ask for custom programming. They get to tell us exactly what the issue is, what they are trying to solve, and throw the ball to us. We come back with a tailored program just for them, and the next time they recognize “our employees are having trouble with X,” they come back to us for another tailored solution.
All of that implies the immense return on investment that Source Wellness provides. Customers come back. Employees request more. So naturally, the largest obstacle for us is getting our foot in the door. It is acquiring that first session with a new client. And the hardest part of that is simply getting an introductory meeting. 90% of the companies who we have had an initial “discovery call” with has booked at least one program.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Marshall Kupka-Moore: I am very glad you asked! I am incredibly interested in the Metaverse, crypto, web 3, and NFTs. Whenever I try to explain this to people, I tend to say that this is, first and foremost, about human psychology and the evolution of the concepts of ownership and value. In this evolution, each person who buys an NFT, crypto currencies, or anything else stored on a blockchain, will own it, not just rent it.
For example, creatives who create content for online consumption will own the content, not facebook or google. The royalties they make from the second hand market will be tracked and distributed automatically. People will more and more be able to break free from the current economic model and support themselves by pursuing their passions. The second thing I say is that there are very few people who understand the mechanisms behind NFTs and cryptocurrencies that do not believe this is the future of humanity. My recommendation is to learn as much as you can while we are still in its early stages!
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: A lot of executives do think that way, or else the turnover rates would not be increasing so heavily. It does not matter whether this stems from the boss, the c-suite, the employees around them, or the company culture. Something obviously needs to change, and even though it is easier said than done,
Let me summarize it all in a single sentence: Workplaces need to integrate compassion as a core value and actively strive to see each employee’s intrinsic value as a human over their extrinsic value as a producer/consumer.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Marshall Kupka-Moore: It would be the superpower to see into the inherent potential of situations. With the ability to see into the potential energy of situations, you can see what is in approaching and how to engage with it in the most effective way possible. This is a concept I learned about in the Art of War, a classic Chinese text on strategy that prioritizes solving conflicts before they arise, and work on developing every day.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Marshall Kupka-Moore: On a personal level, I hope to continue practicing mindfulness, gratitude and compassion daily and that is success within itself.
On a personal level related to business, I can’t say I’d consider anything a failure, because even if we do have a negative experience or things don’t work out as planned, I have learned something that will serve me for the rest of my life. There is always a lesson to be learned.
On a business level, I like to think quantitatively. Success for me in 2022 would mean 5x our 2021 revenue, which is completely feasible. Although most startups do not make a profit in their first year, Source Wellness has made enough profit to spark expansion. At the start of 2022, we hired three additional contractors just for sales, one contractor for our website, one employee to focus on social media, and another employee for graphic design. Even with this scaling (i.e. doubling our size), we are projected to have 4x our 2021 revenue. I would like to push for 5 and would label that a success.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Marshall Kupka-Moore for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Marshall Kupka-Moore or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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