MEET KELLY LAM, FOUNDER OF THE WHOLE PURPOSE
Kelly Lam is a wellness expert and founder of The Whole Purpose, a company that offers individuals and corporations an innovative approach to physical and emotional wellbeing through Mindful Wellness and Purposeful Communication. The Whole Purpose creates customised wellness programs for corporations and host community wellness events all driven by Kelly’s passion for helping others live healthy lives.
After many years of working in corporate America, Kelly realised the vital need for healthy and balanced wellness solutions. Through her first-hand experience, she has brought ‘whole’ solutions to various global corporations, skillfully exercising her talents by producing corporate and specialty events that are customised to promote individual health on a broad scale. Kelly’s contagious passion and expertise combine to create a unique connection with her clients that stems from her journey towards wellness, coupled with the desire to empower others. With many years in the wellness and nutrition sector, Kelly is a seasoned consultant and teacher of yoga, nutrition and health programs designed to achieve optimal wellbeing. Kelly is also an active philanthropist and serves as a board member for several non-profits and organisations including Golden Rule Charity, Southern California Hospice Foundation, University of La Verne’s President’s Advisory Council and is the president of The Uncorked for Hope Foundation. Her passion for helping the community is evident through her hard work and desire to help others live happy and healthy lives.
Meeting Kelly is like walking into a room full of sunshine, such is her gorgeous energy. I am both honoured and thrilled to be able to bring Kelly’s unique and wonderful journey to our audience…
SO, KELLY, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
I was working in commercial real estate for ten years and was burnt out, unhealthy and overall just not happy. Once I realised that the amount of money I was making and the title I had gained didn’t bring me the happiness I imagined it would, I started to turn inwards and ask myself the hard-hitting question: what makes me happy?
At this point in my life, the only answer I could come up with was yoga. I was practising yoga each day, and with every class, I found a sense of peace I could not find in any other sector of my life. With the support of my husband, I decided to try something that was out of my comfort zone and start a yoga teacher training course. This course was really to help find myself, a soul-searching journey of sorts that helped me find the direction I needed. I continued to work full time and loved it so much that I took another, finishing both my 200 hour and 300-hour RYT then decided to go back to school to finish my degree. While throwing myself into education, I began to write a business plan that would soon start my journey as the founder of The Whole Purpose. Creating a marriage of my love for corporate American with my new found passion for health and wellness was my new purpose. I left my job, launched The Whole Purpose and have since been dedicated to helping others in corporate America find healthy ways to balance work life, home life, stay healthy and be happy while doing it all!
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY, ESPECIALLY CORPORATE WELLNESS? THE TWO DON’T ALWAYS APPEAR TO GO HAND IN HAND!
Taking a step out of my shoes and looking at myself I realised that if the owners of the company I worked for had invested in my health by having some type of wellness onsite, I would have been more prone to stay at my job. Working full time, balancing a personal life/family and trying to find time for your health is not easy. If a company can add exercise and wellness classes at the office, then that is one less thing an employee has to worry about. Taking a yoga or Bootcamp class at lunch not only saves you money, but time, and no more running to the gym after work to get in a quick work out or wearing yourself thin to get everything done in one day. As I started to pitch the idea of corporate wellness eight years ago let’s just say I got more than weird looks, I was for sure the pink elephant in the room. Thankfully the founder of Vizio, William Wang, did not look at me crossed eyed; instead, he welcomed my idea of corporate wellness for his offices with open arms. Vizio was our first account, and we have been going strong ever since!
YOU RUN A FANTASTICALLY BUSY BUSINESS WITH A SMALL CORE TEAM. HOW DO YOU MANAGE?
Small and mighty is how I like to work. We have a small core team, but we work hard and are very efficient. Our team is truly a family, and we work well on dividing and conquering. And we are never scared to ask for help! Thankfully we have some fantastic recourses, and we utilise them often.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM?
Criticism is not easy to handle, but I have worked hard to take criticism as something to help me and my business grow. I listen to the criticism and look at what was given to me as information that can help me do better. There is no ego in this for me; it’s truly about building a business that is successful and to learn from any pitfalls that may occur.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT AN UNUSUAL REQUEST OR EVENT YOU’VE BEEN ASKED TO ORGANISE? I WOULD IMAGINE EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, HOW DO YOU PIVOT TO HANDLE INDIVIDUAL CLIENT NEEDS?
The best part about my job is getting to be creative; wellness truly has so many faucets the classes we teach can be endless.
A client recently asked me if I could teach a stress reduction class based on building succulent arrangements. I have seen many workshops with succulent building and the act of working on something creative it naturally reduces stress in the body. I understood where the client was coming from, but I wanted to add more flare to the experience.
Our classes truly are experiences that employees leave and will remember because we believe in creating wellness programs that are fun and out of the ordinary. With that said, I was able to find a local florist who created a mobile flower shop out of a VW bus, and it is the cutest little van one has ever seen! We combined the mobile flower shop with a conversation on breathing exercises that help relieve stress. During the workshop, employees were able to choose flowers that best fit their style from the van and sit with their peers as the florist taught a class on floral arranging. I spoke on stress relief through breathing exercises all while they enjoyed a healthy lunch created by our TWP chef.
SPEAKING OF EVENTS, YOU ORGANISE AND HANDLE SOME PRETTY BIG IN-PERSON CONVENTIONS. WHAT EFFECT HAS THE CURRENT GLOBAL CRISIS HAD ON YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR WORKING PRACTICES TO ADAPT? DO YOU THINK ANY GOOD WILL COME FROM COVID-19 FOR BUSINESSES?
Covid-19 has brought on a large number of challenges for us. On the corporate wellness side, most businesses have employees working remotely from home, which has put a halt to our in-office programming.
On the community events side, it's been quite rough because no large in-person gatherings are allowed to be held in our state. With that said, we had to get creative with our programming and have been able to teach our employee wellness programs virtually. Allowing employees to log on and still keep their wellness practices going from their homes.
As for community events, we decided to go in the direction of partnering with local charities and other wellness brands where I am utilised as a keynote speaker or interviewed on hot wellness topics that are relevant to what is happening in our world. This has allowed us to not only to provide content and engage with our database but has broadened our reach through connecting with the other brands' followers.
The good that Covid-19 has brought to the business world is that it has made brands come together, work creatively and take a look at their business as a whole. There are always changes to be made when running a company, and Covid-19 has made business owners take an in-depth look at their business models to change according to the current market.
It truly is terrible to see the destruction that Covid-19 has brought to the business world and the economy but watching brands come together and support one another has been a beautiful thing.
IN WHAT WAY DOES INCREASED WELLNESS HELP CORPORATIONS AND THEIR WORKFORCE? CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU EXAMINE THE BUSINESS TO IDENTIFY THEIR NEEDS?
Wellness in the workplace not only keeps employees healthy it increases productivity. An employer that focuses on keeping employees healthy, whether it's through diet, nutrition, onsite exercise classes or mindfulness courses are employers investing in their employees' overall health. This not only keeps insurance costs down but brings positive morale to the workplace.
When going into a potential client's office, I work with their HR team to understand the employees' needs while taking a look at the facility. Not all offices are built the same, so we have to get creative with how we utilise their space. And it's essential to learn about the office hours, shifts, is there a warehouse that works different hours than the personal office work? All these factors add up to how we customise our programming to fit their needs and schedules. Once we get a good overall picture of how the office works, we then survey the employees to understand their interests and what wellness options speak to them as a whole. Using the feedback we receive is how we build their programming.
NOT ONLY ARE YOU RUNNING THIS INCREDIBLE COMPANY, BUT YOU’RE ALSO A MOTHER AND A WIFE. HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO HOLD IT ALL TOGETHER HAVING EVERYONE AT HOME?
It has been interesting! I have a 4-year-old son that has been home from school, and I found out fast that I was not made up to be a Pre-K teacher!
Fortunately, my husband was still able to go to his office, but his hours went all over the place and was working late nights several days a week. With that said, I was able to get some excellent quality time with my son, which was a real blessing. And we got quite creative with at-home projects and lots of culinary arts. Some days my anxiety was through the roof trying to keep it all together, but I kept reminding myself that this too shall pass and to find the silver linings.
My silver lining was all the extra time I got with my son and creating those memories during a challenging time.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT ON YOUR JOURNEY?
I have never been a fan of change; I know it is inevitable, but change and I have never been good friends. Through the journey of starting The Whole Purpose, I have found that evolution is a good thing. By accepting that I have been able to broaden my horizons and put my A-type personality traits to the sidelines when needed.
WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR OUR AWESOME FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS READING THIS ARTICLE?
Always be open. You never know what will come your way and if you stay open to new ideas your creativity will flow in so many ways.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
My husband truly inspires me. He founded a popular restaurant chain over thirty years ago and is always coming up with new ways to market the brand and keep them up to date. Through Covid-19, I watched his stress levels heighten. Still, even with all the stress, he endured his creative ways of keeping the brand alive was genuinely inspirational. Although Covid-19 is not over, our county has opened back up and I continue to watch his creativity flow on ways to get people back into the restaurants and making partnerships to drive brand awareness.
WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE PLAYED SONG ON YOUR IPOD?
State of Love and Trust by Pearl Jam
WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
That believing in yourself is key to all aspects in your life.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OR FAVOURITE PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR OUR FEMALE CEO MEMBERS?
Screw Business as Usual by Sir Richard Branson is the best book! He truly is an amazing businessman and this book shows you how to think out of the box, care for your employees and follow your heart.
IF YOU WERE TO GIVE YOURSELF ADVICE AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR, KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT 2020. WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Stay strong and don’t give up!
2020 has been a rough year, staying strong has been key in keeping the business and our spirits up.
WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY AND HOW DO YOU HANDLE DOWNTIME?
Spending time with my family makes me happy; my son is such a joy and truly my number one blessing in life. When the three of us are together, my heart is content. And our downtime is usually making dinner together and watching a movie as a family; we enjoy going to the beach and making s’mores on our back patio. All things family make me happy!