“Surrender: you can’t control everything.”
Ellie Burrows Gluck
Co-founder & CEO
Ellie is a vision of balance, growth, and inspiration. She has built a team of diverse individuals and values their perspectives, creating a not only a collaborative environment but a community.
It’s important to have disciplines. They allow you to show up fully for the demands of running a business.
Ellie is the Co-founder and CEO of MNDFL as well as a Vedic Meditation teacher, certified personal development coach, and writer. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University, Ellie served as an executive in the film business for a number of years, focusing on the business side of film: producing, selling, financing and finding new talent. When her meetings began to evolve into coaching sessions around effective communication and interpersonal relationships, she chose to pursue mindfulness in a more meaningful way.
Ellie decided to travel the world as a spiritual tourist ultimately returning to New York where she received her Certificate in Coaching from NYU. Shortly thereafter, in 2014, she cofounded MNDFL, New York City’s premier meditation company which includes studios, corporate programming, teacher training, an on-demand meditation channel, and a non-profit arm, MNDFL Ed.
Along the way, Ellie was exposed to Vedic Meditation. What started as a daily practice turned into a full-blown love affair, and beginning in 2017 Ellie completed her 2000-hour teacher training program under master teacher Théo Burkhardt.
What’s key to running a successful business?
EBG: Surrender: you can’t control everything. There will inevitably be high highs and low lows and it’s all a part of the journey. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit you don’t know something. It’s helpful to ask your team for their perspective. Diversity in perspective not only helps you avoid personal blindspots but it also reinforces that team members’ points of view are relevant, welcome and important. It builds internal goodwill and morale.
Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being?
EBG: The first thing I do when I get up is meditate and then I meditate once again in the afternoon. My discipline around my practice allows me to show up more fully for my day and the demands of running a business. If my schedule allows I try to exercise or move my body in some capacity every morning – it just feels so so good.
How many people are on your team, and do you have any tips on hiring and growing a team of employees or contractors?
EBG: We have a core operations/management full-time team of about 8-10 people. We also have 45 expert teachers on staff as well as an incredible front desk staff of 12. I still like to meet with every single person during the hiring process so I can connect with them personally, directly manage their expectations and get a sense for who they are and the skills they bring to the table. I like multiple employees to meet potential hires because MNDFL is a collaborative environment and I want to make sure our team confidently makes hires together.
When it comes to our teachers we have rigorous requirements for training. We often set up a time for a practice class with potential teachers to see if their teaching style is the right fit for our community. Similarly, we might ask potential contractors to do some homework or offer feedback to see if they can use their expertise to make a meaningful impact.
What tips do you have for other women who would like to start their own businesses?
EBG: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Although I get the credit for being the co-founder of MNDFL, there were so many people along the way who helped me build this business and the business is better because of it. Also, don’t be afraid to be generous. We can often slip into a scarcity mentality when it comes to business and if we act from a place of abundance it can really shift the team morale.
Tell us about your first entrepreneurial venture: How did you come up with the idea, and how did you start your business?
EBG: It’s MNDFL! Honestly, I was struggling with my practice and I was finding it incredibly hard to meditate in my own home. The studio arose from a deep personal need. I wanted to meditate in a space that wasn’t religious and didn’t involve a weekend-long commitment. I loved the feeling of group meditations and I personally liked the format of boutique fitness studios—reserving a spot online or dropping in and joining class.
I think we can all agree that New York City is in desperate need of quiet and relaxing spaces. If I was struggling with the practice in this city, I felt others were probably struggling too. So we put together a business model, called a few family and friends to raise an angel round, brought the best teachers in the city together and opened our doors. That’s the short version!