Women In Wellness: Julie McClure of HelloMe On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Get enough quality sleep. So many people are sleep-deprived and running off of caffeine and sugar. Getting 7–8 hours of sleep per night is key for optimal health and wellness — as this is when your body and nervous system rejuvenate. It decreases stress levels, helps balance mood and is the time for cellular repair (important for many things, including immunity). Staying off screens 2 hours before bed, wearing blue light glasses while on your computer/watching tv (especially at night), having a wind-down routine before bed with a relaxing ritual (gentle stretching, meditation, reading or an Epsom salt bath), reducing sugar consumption and limiting or avoiding caffeine after 2 pm (stimulants) — all helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep and feeling rested enough to take on the next day.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie McClure.
Julie McClure is an entrepreneur; advisor in the beauty, health & wellness space and is a clean living & hormonal balance expert. Currently, she is the Founder & CEO of Hello.Me, a brand focused on helping women take back control of their hormones so that they can get back to looking and feeling their best. Hello.Me’s innovative, science-backed supplement products solve for the root cause of wellness & beauty challenges — hormonal balance. Julie’s own personal experiences became the springboard for her mission to help others and she prides herself on championing women in the entrepreneurial and femtech spaces.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’m Canadian and have always had a passion for and interest in health & fitness. Although I grew up thinking that I wanted to be a medical doctor, I pivoted after finishing my science degree and went to business school. After almost a decade of working on Wall Street and living with chronic migraines (while on birth control), I left the industry to reconnect with my passion for wellness and to solve my own health problem.
Specifically, I had started taking The Pill in my early 20s when I was in business school and quickly developed chronic migraines. My migraines persisted for 10 years (4 to 6 per week), putting me in survival mode throughout my highly demanding career in corporate finance. I finally started to listen to my body screaming at me at age 33 — took matters into my own hands and quit my job on Wall Street to figure out my health.
I began my new journey by saying no to the endless pharmaceutical pain killers, which my neurologists were recommending as the only possible solution for my chronic pain (at least until menopause, despite being in my early 30s!). And, I took a full year off beyond that to solve the problem and to reconnect with the person I used to be.
One of the first people I met after stepping out of the finance industry (while doing a 21-day cleanse) was a natural practitioner who, upon hearing of my symptoms of migraines and then developing anxiety, asked if I was on birth control? With my quick ‘yes’ response, she began to tell me that hormonal birth control was causing me to have these chronic yet common birth control symptoms. Little did I know that my body was being stripped of key nutrients such as B complex vitamins, CoQ10, probiotics, magnesium, etc. and that these depletions were the key contributors to how horrible I had been feeling for 10 years!
The science was not as caught up at the time re: hormonal birth control’s effect on women’s nutrient status so I took her word (I was desperate for a possible solution) and went off of birth control. I then proceeded to spend months nourishing and rebuilding my body (and my nutrient levels) in order to reduce the systemic inflammation. After 10 months, I was a completely new person, having 1 to 2 migraines a month — down from 25 or more a month. This complete change in quality of life inspired me to want to continue on my journey in the wellness space. I leveraged my science degree to apply to postgraduate naturopathic medical school in Toronto — to learn about clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, physiology, etc. I met my great friend Elizabeth Goldspink on the first day of ND school (in downward dog… while I was teaching yoga to the incoming class!). Fast forward a few years, the stars aligned for us to collaborate on creating game changing products to empower women with the natural solutions they need to get back to living their best lives. Based on our personal experiences with hormonal birth control and the common complaints from all of the female clients in Elizabeth’s personal medical practice, we knew it was time for a brand (enter Hello.Me!) to start solving for the massive yet unmet pain points associated with hormonal imbalance — an untapped and huge area in need of innovation and focus.
As women, we have at least 42 years of fluctuating hormones. Hello.Me was born to eliminate the side effects associated with these hormonal fluctuations by getting women’s hormones back into formation so that they can be their most authentic, beautiful and badass selves and can gracefully transition from one life stage to the next.
Hello.Me launched its first product, Top Up Tonic, in the summer of 2020 to address the 74MM women (in the US alone) in their reproductive years who suffer from PMS and/or symptoms (and long-term health risks) associated with nutrient depletions from hormonal birth control. Top Up Tonic is a once-a-day capsule that contains the 18 key nutrients, probiotics and antioxidants women need to keep their hormones balanced and feeling on top of the world.
Hello.Me has been changing the quality of lives of women across America ever since — and with so much more to come!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Wow — the most interesting story! I have many stories… and what is defined as ‘interesting’ is subjective to who is reading this but I’ll happily share some color on when I knew it was time to make a personal pivot in my career and how success has been redefined for me over the years.
I have experienced a lot in the business world but having to overcome my health challenges have been my greatest source of personal growth and inspiration for my entrepreneurial career. I began my career wanting what everyone else in my highly competitive business class of Type A students wanted — to obtain the top job on Wall Street, to be ranked in the top tier of my peers at the firm, to get the highest eligible cash bonus at year-end and be put up for early promotion (‘stay on the fast track’). I was extremely driven and sought perfection in my deliverables at work at all times — at the expense of my health. 9–11 happened and I had a big wake up call. After watching the Twin Towers fall to pieces from a screen at the Milan airport (where I was traveling at the time… I was very fortunate to not be in NYC — where I lived — that week), I realized for the first time that life is short. There was no turning back after this moment… the questions started flowing re: my purpose and path forward and whether what I was doing was fulfilling my soul. Although I tried to push these thoughts to the background in the daytime, they would show up in my dreams as nightmares. Eventually, forcing me to realize that a new path was needed. The pursuit of ‘perceived’ traditional material success was no longer enough to keep me getting up in the morning. I took a deep look at my values and asked — ‘if my life were to end tomorrow, would I be happy with how I had been living and spending my time’. The answer brought immediate tears to my eyes and I knew that it was time to make a major shift. My body was screaming at me (which was exhausting in itself) and my soul was tired. So, I hit the pause button — which allowed me to step outside of the box and my comfort zone (high paying job) to reconnect with my passion for health. This was the catalyst for the beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur — allowing me pursue what I believed was my purpose — inspire others to live their most authentic and best lives.
Fast forward a decade, if you were to ask me today how I define success, I would say it is living a purposeful and fulfilling life that brings you contentment and inner peace and leaves you sitting at the end of your life with no major regrets (e.g., of things you were too scared to try in case you failed/didn’t succeed).
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Many of my biggest learnings have been around people and talent. Early in my career (e.g., my first job on Wall Street), I worked at one of the most prestigious banks which, to this day, I have the utmost respect for. However, when asked to pick my group, I knowingly hand-picked one of the few groups renowned for being extremely hard on its analysts and associates. Having never worked 100 hours with anyone, I was lured in by the industry and thought the sexiness of the industry would be enough to fuel me, regardless of the reputation of the personalities in the group. From this experience, I learned the importance of choosing great leaders (from a people management perspective). Specifically, always looking for and choosing people who want to see you thrive, who nurture your & your colleagues’ talents and who take a personal interest in you. After a year in this difficult group, I made an unusual and very bold move for a first-year analyst to transfer out of the group (despite the severe backlash from one of the toughest members in the group). I did this because I felt like it was the right thing to do. I was then rewarded for this act of courage. I spent the next 2 years working for some of the firm’s most talented individuals and best leaders — two women who were instrumental in my professional development and the firm’s Co-CEOs — who exemplified exceptional leadership. I continue to be incredibly grateful for this learning and these experiences to this day.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Historically as women, we have always been led to believe that hormonal fluctuations and symptoms of hormonal imbalance are something we just have to ‘deal with’ — it comes with the territory of being a woman. Hello.Me is on a mission to change what it means to be ‘hormonal’. It’s time to remove the stigmas and to open up the dialogue about our hormones! By empowering women around the world with education, a safe space to talk with our hormone coaches, a budding but powerful community and natural solutions to resolve challenging symptoms, Hello.Me is helping women to shift from surviving to thriving. When we feel our best, we see the world through new lenses and make the most profound and beautiful impact on the world. So, in essence, Hello.Me is helping to make an impact on the world one bold and beautiful woman at a time.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Get enough quality sleep. So many people are sleep-deprived and running off of caffeine and sugar. Getting 7–8 hours of sleep per night is key for optimal health and wellness — as this is when your body and nervous system rejuvenate. It decreases stress levels, helps balance mood and is the time for cellular repair (important for many things, including immunity). Staying off screens 2 hours before bed, wearing blue light glasses while on your computer/watching tv (especially at night), having a wind-down routine before bed with a relaxing ritual (gentle stretching, meditation, reading or an Epsom salt bath), reducing sugar consumption and limiting or avoiding caffeine after 2 pm (stimulants) — all helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep and feeling rested enough to take on the next day.
- Daily movement & exercise. Moving every single day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes is key to a healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of misconception that exercise needs to be high intensity for it to be effective. Research has shown that moderate-intensity is best for overall health, especially for immune health and to decrease inflammation. Mixing your exercise routine up in regards to the types of exercise is also important (e.g., yoga, outdoor hikes/walking in nature (very grounding!), weight training, HITT classes, cardio, etc.). That being said, whatever gets you excited to move your body and leaves you feeling empowered post workout is my top suggestion as it’s what will make this healthy lifestyle habit one that you look forward to and will prioritize.
- Balance your hormones with the nutrients they need to thrive. If you are feeling not quite like yourself showing up as mood swings/irritability/anxiety/depression, bloating, continuous fatigue, acne, PMS symptoms, low sex drive, brittle and dry hair and skin… you likely have a hormonal imbalance. These key messengers for the body are critical to you looking and feeling your best. And, despite your best effort to do all that you think will help get you back on track such as drinking your green juices, exercising, reducing salt intake (bloating), etc. — if you don’t get to the root cause — balancing your hormones, you will have great difficulty getting back to feeling energized and radiant. If you’re suffering from PMS and/or on hormonal birth control, you are likely in need of key nutrients to get your hormones humming again. Our Top Up Tonic gives you the 18 key nutrients that women in their reproductive years need. And, if you are concerned, you can always go see a naturopathic doctor who specializes in women’s health to get your hormones tested and to and to investigate further (e.g., Dutch test).
- Eating more alkaline-based foods (e.g., anti-inflammatory foods). Inflammation, which is often caused by acidic internal environments, is the root cause of so many diseases, chronic pain and premature aging. For this reason, I put a lot of weight on this lifestyle habit (which is easily controlled). You can start by beginning your day with lemon water upon waking (juice from ½ of a lemon + ½ L of filtered water); adding a green smoothie to your daily diet; and/or adding a big leafy (organic) green salad to your diet. For smoothies, something as simple as filtered water, organic kale, pineapple, green apple and ginger thrown into a high-speed blender can be refreshing, alkalizing and delicious! You can also supercharge with a daily dose of chlorophyll (I add chlorophyll drops to my water) and incorporate a few anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric (I take liposomal turmeric by Apex Energetics) and Moringa Leaf (I take Prairie Natural’s Moringa Leaf capsules) on a daily basis.
- Human connection. Get off our phones/screens (which are also stimulants for the brain) and schedule time for fun, hobbies and time with friends & family. This nurtures your soul, decreases stress levels AND in turn, boosts your immune system. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s the importance of human connection and feeling a part of a community.
- Limiting daily intake of caffeine and sugar (stimulants). Decreasing caffeine and sugar is one the quickest ways to feel more grounded, yet energized. Anxiety is on the rise and limiting caffeine is a helpful way to reduce it. If people don’t want to decrease caffeine, ensuring it’s not consumed on an empty stomach is helpful to buffer the impact/decrease the jitters. If you can switch to a nice matcha mylk (non-dairy) latte or organic green/white teas — you will not only get a little pep in your step from the caffeine but also get a nice dose of antioxidants.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I believe that a lot of disease begins with emotional distress so I would start a self-help movement to get people to operate and make all of their decisions from a place of love (for themselves and each other) versus fear. By developing a global environment where people are celebrated and valued for being their most authentic selves, we would liberate individuals to utilize their unique gifts and to live a life filled with purpose — creating a sense of individual contentment and gratitude while also helping to heal the world at large.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I gave a bonus one! Here are six:
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be sure to carve out part of your day as sacred time to exercise and stay healthy. The entrepreneurial journey is intense (as well as very rewarding!) and you need your health to make it to the finish line. Like a professional athlete, you will not perform at your best (or keep your passion for your vision) if you don’t take care of your body. Having learned first-hand by burning myself out with my first business, with my second company (Hello.Me), I am better at protecting my health. I block 2 hours out of morning to ensure that I have the opportunity to exercise and to get ready for my day, on my terms. And when I need a personal day to reset and rest, I take it (and don’t feel guilty). In the end, this is better for everyone. Others are investing in you, you need to invest in your long-term health to succeed.
- You will never please everyone in business (or in life!). As a leader and/or visionary who is trying to forge a new path, you are certain to be met with challenging situations and personalities that you have to deal with. And, not all of the individuals will end up liking you. That is ok. You’re the one who has to go to bed at night at peace with yourself — knowing that you have acted in good faith and with the best intentions for your employees, customers and investors. As my brother said to me a few years ago (when I was dreading a very difficult but necessary business conversation): “there are over 7 billion people in the world. If one or two don’t like you, you’ll be just fine”. I often remind myself of this when I have to manage a conflict in business.
- Pay attention to the early red flags & always follow your intuition. When it comes to raising capital and/or negotiating big agreements, people tend to show their colors quite fast (e.g., in the way that they deal with you). Take note of any major red flags in the early days — as if they are showing up at this stage, there is a high probability that they become a long-term problem. And this can change the entrepreneurial journey for you. I no longer let anyone with capital invest in my company — it has to be a strong fit. When I’m raising capital, I pay a lot of attention to people’s energy and their belief in my vision; the investor’s reputation with prior founders; and I follow my intuition. If my ‘gut’ check says no, I don’t bring them into the business.
- Find & surround yourself with people who inspire you & who you can learn from. For example, people who have been or are doing what you’d love to be doing. Seek these people out (if not obvious) and establish relationships so that they can evolve into mentors. Having seasoned mentors in your field/industry who can provide different perspectives and learnings from their successes and failures is invaluable. I’ve had a few mentors in my career but this was not something that I was taught early on. I think I could have avoided some pitfalls in my early days as an entrepreneur (my first business) if I had a seasoned mentor who was able to help me navigate through the more challenging situations.
- Have compassion. No human is perfect and no start-up is perfect (when it’s close, it’s no longer a start-up!). Show yourself (and others) compassion when mistakes are made. Acknowledge your contribution/mistakes, do what you can to fix the situation and spend the bulk of your energy focusing on the learnings and the path forward (to improve & to avoid the same mistakes in the future). We’re all on a path of evolution and growth in both our careers and personal life. My younger self didn’t show any compassion for my missteps. Over the last many years, I’ve been working to unwind this perfectionist attitude — which has made me more kind to myself (always more work to be done!) and more understanding of other people’s mistakes.
- Don’t invest all of your money into your business & think carefully about whether you should ask/let friends & family invest in your venture. Invest what you can afford to lose (or an amount that doesn’t keep you up at night). I learned this the hard way with my first business 7 years ago. I had never had something that I worked on not be successful; so, I never imagined that forces beyond my control could influence the success of my business. Although I was the pioneer in the space, the company didn’t monetize due to a go-public deal going sideways at the eleventh hour. Second, think very carefully before having family & friends invest. Most will want to support you if they have the financial means (and it’s a wonderful sign of support!). However, I personally found it to be the most stressful element of my first business not working out. Although I lost the most amount of money (and countless hours of blood, sweat and tears!) I felt an enormous amount of responsibility and guilt when the business didn’t sell. To this day, it remains one of the most memorable low periods (mentally) of my life. Thankfully, it didn’t keep me down as Hello.Me would never have been born!
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
I am very passionate about mental health & the mental health epidemic that we are seeing in the world. First, like hormonal health, we need to continue to de-stigmatize anxiety, depression and other mental health illnesses. Second, we need to talk more about mental health so that people don’t feel alone and isolated and are encouraged to openly seek help. Anxiety and depression are so widespread in our society today (especially after 2 years in a pandemic with limited human connection) AND people of all ages are unnecessarily suffering in silence (and from a much younger age than in the past). It’s time for us all to step up to facilitate wide-scale, massive change.
And, if people were in a better mental state, they would have the capacity to do more to heal the environment.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Personal Instagram: juliekmcclure
Personal Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliekmcclure
Hello.Me Instagram: hellome.co
Hello.Me TikTok: hellome_co
Thank you for these fantastic insights!
Women In Wellness: Julie McClure of HelloMe On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.