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Women In Wellness: Naya Powell of Utopia Spa and Global Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Practicing mindfulness — take a few minutes each day to a few cleansing breaths and allow yourself to be fully present with your body and surroundings.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Naya Powell.

Naya Powell is a third-generation entrepreneur in the health and wellness space. As the founder of Utopia Spa and Global Wellness, she continues her family’s legacy of wellness and self-care. Utopia is a multi-cultural, international workplace wellness brand.

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?

My passion for wellness is deeply influenced by my health-conscious marathon running father and the influences of my mother, the first Black national Mary Kay director in Virginia. I saw both of my parents working hard to empower their communities with employment opportunities. Their entrepreneurial, wellness, and beauty influences shaped me into the wellness pioneer I am today.

As a third-generation entrepreneur, I was motivated to start Spa Utopia, Inc. based on experiences with the impacts of stress and burnout personally and within my family. In addition, I have worn the hats of founder and corporate leader. Therefore, I understand first-hand the immense burnout, time poverty, and lack of work-life integration endured by numerous professionals.

The Utopia brand has evolved to stay relevant and meet self-care needs worldwide during our global pandemic. Spa Utopia (SU) was formalized in September 2018. SU provided luxury spa and wellness services on-demand for events, corporations, and high-end hotels, delivering convenient and customized self-care for The Ritz Carlton, The NFL Superbowl, WeWork, Martha Stewart, P. Diddy, and others.

As a result of COVID 19, we had to pivot, expand, and rebrand quickly. Due to the mental health and wellness crisis the world was thrust into, we decided to leverage technology in new and innovative ways. While the pandemic pushed many into social isolation and depression, we decided to answer the call to create a safe, convenient, fun, and global community to elevate our self-care. So, in December of 2020, we renamed the company and became a D.B.A. Utopia Spa and Global Wellness (UGSW).

  • Workplace: The American Institute of Stress reports that more than 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress.
  • 1 in 5 adults in the US report living with mental health challenges.
  • The American Institute of Stress reports that 120,000 people die every year due to work-related stress.
  • A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $ 1 trillion USD each year in lost productivity.

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?

There have been a few “interesting” milestones and achievements along my entrepreneurial journey. I am proud to say I receiving the Google for Startups: Black Founder Fund. I was one of only 50 recipients to receive $100k of non-diluted capital. Receiving this funding during a pandemic afforded Utopia SGW the resources to pivot, rebrand, and press forward into a global wellness platform.

I applied for this funding the year prior, and we were not selected. I was devastated. However, the lesson learned is that even when you get a “no,” try and try again. A dream delayed is not a dream denied. Had we received the funding the year before, we would have invested the funding in our luxury spa on-demand business model, which would not have survived the initial phase of COVID.

Perseverance and resilience pays off!

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?

I felt like I could do it all at the beginning of my founder journey. This caused balls to get dropped. The lesson learned is the importance of having a solid quality team of support. I have since hired a team that supports Operations, Digital Marketing & Sales, UX/Technical Development, Client Support, and others.

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?

Utopia Spa & Global Wellness (USGW) is a digital platform that offers live and on-demand virtual wellness classes — that can be enjoyed anytime — anywhere, such as mindfulness, yoga, pilates, movement, wellness coaching/workshops, and retreats. Our global wellness community has members and instructors that span seven countries and five continents.

We help employees bring their best selves to work, which helps employers achieve their talent, retention, recruitment, and productivity goals. We take a multicultural *wholistic approach to wellness experiences that celebrate mindful diversity, inclusion, and belonging!

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.

  1. Gratitude journaling — start or end your day by writing three things you are grateful for.
  2. Practicing mindfulness — take a few minutes each day to a few cleansing breaths and allow yourself to be fully present with your body and surroundings.
  3. Going for a walk outside or getting your body moving with a virtual yoga class
  4. Create an environment of peace and harmony in your home with music to energize or relax you as needed, candles, and pictures
  5. Create a vision for your day by writing down goals daily

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

That is what Utopia SGW is doing — our global platform is revolutionizing self-care so that the world can show up as their best selves!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • Don’t quit your job prematurely.
  • Cultivate your network — it is net worth!
  • Build your business infrastructure to include your business plan, website, marketing materials, business license, insurance, marketing strategy, and client list before you take the plunge to b
  • Develop relationships with advisors, mentors, and fellow founders

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is a cause that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I recognize that the world is suffering on so many levels. The pandemic has certainly exasperated all of us. We live during a time when depression and anxiety are at an all-time high.

The BIPOC, founder, and youth communities feel the impact of mental health even more than others.

  • Black women are the most undertreated for depression
  • Entrepreneurs: According to USC Berkeley Study, 72 percent of entrepreneurs reported mental health concerns
  • Nearly 37 percent of U.S. college students have depression
  • According to a 2018 study, out of 67,000 surveyed students, 9 percent had attempted suicide.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online? Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Utopia SGW:

Naya F. Powell

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Women In Wellness: Naya Powell of Utopia Spa and Global Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.