Traci Shepheard is the Founder of MeditationWorks, Canada’s first mobile meditation studio: a 1972 vintage Airstream called the MINDSTREAM.. After working in her corporate career for over 20 years, Traci was accustomed to all that came with a fast-paced work life. To manage her stress and keep herself grounded, Traci often relied on her own mindful practice. In doing so, Traci had the idea of creating her own mobile meditation studio with a mission to share the benefits of meditation and mindfulness with as many people as possible. With this mobile studio, MeditationWorks creates an experience that is meant to disrupt people’s workdays — in the most positive way possible, they come to you for wellness at work.
My first job ever was… Working at Perino’s Pizza Parlor at age 14.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit with a plethora of ideas inside my head. For over 20 years, I have been percolating on how I could positively impact people while building human connection.
In 2015, I bought a mini art piece that said, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take” and placed it where I could see it every day, along with an excerpt from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford graduation speech: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Everything else is secondary. I knew I had a unique idea; I decided to make a dramatic change and take the leap.
I founded MeditationWorks because… I wanted to create a wellness experience that was aspirational, turnkey, and easy to connect people in a world that is so connected, yet disconnected. In 2018, I attended a “Passion to Purpose” workshop and a key ‘aha’ takeaway was that often, your purpose is something that upsets or angers you. I realized how true this was — the disconnection that social media causes infuriated me and I wanted to do something about it. Providing wellness at work fosters culture and team building while cross functionally bringing people together for the betterment of their health, happiness & wellbeing, which in turn prioritizes a healthy versus burnt out workforce; disconnecting to reconnect!
I’m passionate about mental health and wellness because… your health is your wealth.
My proudest accomplishment is… to echo similar sentiments as Gabby Bernstein, I am proud of my courage to go to the places that scared me the most so that I could heal, be, and feel.
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Everything else is secondary.”
My biggest setback was… I was about to launch MeditationWorks, Canada’s first mobile meditation studio “The Mindstream” in April 2020 when the pandemic hit. My first corporate client was going to be Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) during the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors playoffs for all of their employees; obviously this never happened, and my whole concept had to be completely altered while keeping the same mission and purpose intact.
I overcame it by… Turning the concept inside out and having the mobile experience outdoors —drive-in style— and taking it to the frontline healthcare workers at Ontario hospitals. We then tested a virtual model with employees working remotely, and have now brought to life over 600 workplace wellness experiences around the world, virtually and in person, since our launch on May 6, 2020.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… Persistence and a positive mindset are your superpowers. When you get tired, learn to rest and not to quit.
The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… Making rest and resetting a priority.
The thing I love most about what I do is… Connecting with and helping our clients and participants around the world. I am continually humbled and exhilarated by the feedback we receive from our wellness experiences.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… My persistence.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I was my high school mascot “Skippy,” the saber-toothed tiger, which originally was kept a mystery to students.
I stay inspired by… LIFE! If you can dream it, you can do it.
The future excites me because… I believe a silver lining from the pandemic is that it elevated the importance of mental health and self-care; there is Power in the Pause!
My next step is… Continuing to evolve and optimize the MeditationWorks workplace wellness offerings, while staying true to our core values and mission. We finally welcomed people INSIDE our mobile studio exactly 2 years from the day of our launch on May 6, 2022, and we look forward to welcoming many more people inside the Pause Lounge on board the Mindstream for wellness at work, the “constantly moving happiness mobile.”