Be willing to fail and embrace failure as part of the journey. Take advantage of opportunities and make opportunities when you feel that they are not being offered to you. In sum, take action! But note, sometimes the best action can be patience.
The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Richard Moore.
Richard Moore joined The Good Feet Store in April 2020 and holds the position of President & Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Moore was Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for Planet Fitness, located in Hampton, New Hampshire. Moore attended Duke University for his undergraduate degree and Northeastern University School of Law.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?
I grew up in a small southern town where family, community and church were the cornerstones of my upbringing. My family stressed well-rounded education pursuits inclusive of excelling in the classroom, participation in music programs, student leadership and clubs, as well as community involvement, from fourth grade through high school, to scouting to many other community service organizations. That led me to be active in my church youth group, sports, school clubs (from Junior Rotarian to student council), and community organizations.
But I think what was most formative was working two jobs. First, I mowed yards in my community. It gave me the opportunity to learn responsibility, pride in work, and the need to care about and do a good job for my customers. Second, I worked for my dad. My father worked the first shift in the textile plant and then was a land surveyor in the afternoons and on Saturdays. My job was to be his left-hand man, holding the pole, clearing brush to find a property marker, and cleaning up. But it was the drives to and from the worksite that I remember most fondly as it was there that I was able to learn from my dad the keys to success — work hard, work smart and always take care of your customer. I also remember one thing he imprinted on me; he challenged me to study hard, excel and find a career (one job!) that would allow me to provide for my family, and not have to work too much.
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?
There have been two important events in my life that motivated me to pursue the journey of living a wellness-focused life. First, I joined an LGBTQ-friendly flag football league in Boston in which I felt safe and welcomed for the first time, especially in a team sport. This experience gave me the confidence to believe in myself and the opportunity to exercise in a comfortable environment with friends. Second, having kids created a significant healthy living perspective in the sense that I want to be around to watch them grow up and from a more practical thought of “picking up twins is hard when you’re out of shape” realization.
Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?
My “go-to” is spending five days a week exercising functional fitness with my trainer. He functions as a skilled trainer, an accountability partner and a listener and life coach. During the pandemic, we moved our daily sessions to FaceTime to ensure continuity, something we have continued when our family moved from New Hampshire to the San Diego area in 2020. This routine brings stability to my fitness and wellness lifestyle.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
While visiting family and preparing to play in a flag football tournament, a friend at York Capital, a private equity firm, called to ask me if I had heard of The Good Feet Store as he was exploring buying the company and wanted to see if I was interested. I visited a store and, once personally fitted, was immediately sold on the product. The in-store fitting was a truly transformative experience, fitting to my precise needs and discomfort. It changed my life — both with the reduction of pain (plantar fasciitis) and enhanced performance on the football field and working out.
Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
We bought the company on April 6, 2020. All stores were closed due to the pandemic. As we were introducing ourselves to our manufacturing center, our corporately owned store team as well as our franchisee partners, we were also figuring out if and how to reopen safely. First and foremost, we wanted to consider the health and safety of our employees and customers, while also meeting the needs of our customers and providing them with our product to alleviate their pain. Many of our customers are nurses, doctors and first responders who are on their feet for extremely long periods of time. Needless to say, it was quite a challenge. In working towards a solution, we first and foremost put people’s needs and concerns first, considering our customers who need our product and our employees who were rightfully worried about COVID. Safety measures were put in place and we were able to reopen successfully in May 2020. The main takeaway was that by working together, we can solve any issue as long as we put our people first!
Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
We all know the story of the kid at the beach picking up starfish and throwing them in the water. The kid realizes he may not save every starfish, but he can save the one in his hand. Our impact is improving the quality of people’s lives, two feet at a time. For many people, the results are immediate as they take the free fitting test walk, and it can be life-changing. Many people do not realize the pain that they are in is in relation to their feet and many learn to live with it. We recently conducted a survey of 1,000 respondents aged 25 and older in which we uncovered some striking statistics about those who experience pain. Of our respondents, 98% experience pain that interferes with their day-to-day life and activities. Furthermore, 40% of those surveyed stated they are always in pain. At The Good Feet Store, we are looking to provide relief to our customers in their daily lives. With that said, we hope to raise awareness around the importance of foot health. Two out of three people surveyed appreciate the role of foot health in their overall health. Alternatively, one in three people do not understand the role of foot health regarding overall health. Our job is to provide comfort and relief and our customers exemplify that. Visit the reviews page on our website to learn more about our customers’ experiences and be prepared, you may even tear up!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
We are really excited to be engaging and working with two medical advisors, Dr. Pamela Mehta is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and Dr. William Spielfogel is a board-certified podiatrist. We’re working with them to help enhance our arch supports and to develop specialized products for the active customer, whether that be a marathon runner, hiker or student athlete. We’ve worked closely with both physicians to raise awareness of the importance of foot health and brand awareness around our products and the solutions they provide. We continue to work to improve our arch supports to meet our customers’ needs.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Above all is my belief in and the practice of servant leadership. Understanding the difference (and living out that difference) between serving and being served, to me, is the definition of success. All else will fall into place. Rather than a profound or extraordinary example, I believe it is the daily asking “what can I do to help others be successful?” Sometimes that is making sure I do my part. Other times, it’s going the extra mile to help someone else. It’s the little things. Do right by others. Serve. Especially when no one is looking.
Second, for me, is empathy. To empathize, I must understand, and to understand I must listen. But at its core, I must care. In my personal life, this is grounded in my faith and the practice of this is the definition of living out my faith.
Third is my mindfulness. This is a loaded word personally, it’s first keeping track of myself, my strengths, my opportunities to grow, my blinders, my biases, my fears and my insecurities. Next, it’s how those are playing out in my relationships, from my relationship with my husband to my co-workers. It requires “checking in” with myself and others.
A good example of practicing empathy and mindfulness that comes to mind quickly is, early on in my marriage, my husband would encourage me to either (a) not take a work call on the drive home or (b) if you take a call, finish it in the garage and pause a few minutes before coming in. He said he likes “present and calm Richard” over the alternative. It took practice to see the significant differences in me and in my interaction with my family. But most of all, it took empathy and mindfulness to get there.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?
Wellness is, to me, the ability to live a healthy life that meets your needs and your dreams. It’s physical, mental, and spiritual.
First, and most importantly for me, is spiritual wellness. I was reared in a conservative Southern Baptist church that was both exceptionally loving and decidedly hateful. In many ways, deep love was shown to me and the love that was instilled in me guides me to this day. The hate, unfortunately, was also there; racism, sexism and homophobia. I, unfortunately, grew up believing that I was not well physically nor spiritually because I was gay. To be well spiritually I must do the work of unlearning, letting go and accepting love unconditionally. This, for me, is a journey, not a destination. It’s hard work, and I see how so many others have found that letting go of church is better for them than doing this type of work. Personally, I strive to follow the teachings of Christ and found my practice to live in the loving aspects of the church where I grew up and not in the hate I experienced. While I attend church regularly and find comfort and challenge there, I find many of my most spiritual moments in everyday life, practicing my faith in two ways: actively loving others unconditionally and allowing others to actively love me in an unearned, unconditional way.
Physically, being well for me means staying active, eating healthy and, most importantly, balancing the two with living a good, fun life. Pizza and a martini are ok from time to time! I have fluctuated with my weight for years until March of 2019. I was 49 with a 10-month-old and twin newborns. I knew we planned on having one more child if able. I wanted to be active with my kids and be around! So, I hired a trainer who was honest with me, saying this was going to be a life-long journey, not a fast fix. No fad diets. No fad workouts. Time and commitment. Over two years later, I’m in the best shape of my life, active with my kids and yes, pizza and martinis are still enjoyed! Even though I’ve moved across the country, my trainer and I still work out together (via facetime) five days a week!
Mental wellness, for me, is a two-part focus. First, it’s keeping my mind sharp and engaged. I love learning about new businesses or ventures and diving into the strategy, operations, manufacturing, marketing and really all facets of the business. I find that being sharp starts first thing in the morning with deliberate acts to get me thinking and to train my brain for success. Make the bed! Empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away, prepare breakfast for the kids, knock out a few emails and work out. For me, that’s all before 8 a.m.
The second part of mental wellness is emotional well-being. Understanding my emotional intelligence (which varies greatly depending on the situation) is, by itself, a life-long journey. Working on areas of “opportunity” is, to me, the greatest challenge of my life. It is also the most rewarding. This often is a full circle back to my spiritual walk and history. My practice of emotional wellness consists of honest conversations with my husband, vulnerable openness with my friends, and contemplative thought and reflection both solo and with a professional.
As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?
Some individuals would say one should make wellness a priority “so that you can achieve X or Y” but I focus on the journey, not the destination. Wellness is a lifestyle, not an outcome. Wellness is holistic (physical, mental and spiritual), not compartmentalized. When wellness is practiced in one’s life, they feel a significant improvement in all areas of their life, physical, mental and spiritual.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?
Most importantly, it is about making the decision and living it out to understand that our people are more important than profits. We closed our stores until we felt confident we could open and meet the needs of our customers while keeping both them and our employees safe. Second, as we think about a “new work-life” paradigm, it’s honestly refreshing that our employees have more “power” in deciding how and where they work. During the pandemic, many employees were able to spend more time and better-quality time with their families and with meeting their personal needs to “be well.” It’s like we opened our eyes to what’s most important. I know I did. Family first and taking care of myself to be well doesn’t mean that I don’t care about work, rather it means I’m able to bring my best self to work and have a healthy view of work. When one is taking care of themself and feeling well, they are best able to take care of others and positively contribute to their wellness.
I ask prospective employees in interviews what is important to them and what is a passion outside of work. I do this for two reasons, first, I want to see that they have something in their life that is more important than work. It balances them and helps them not to burn out. Second, I want to know that they are able to appreciate and respect that their co-workers will have something in their lives that is more important than work too.
Companies can also offer great programs like better health plans, benefits that include gym memberships and at-work wellness sessions. In the end, the best thing a company can do is to set the expectation that work should not come first in an employee’s life, their life and their wellness should. That is best set by example by leadership and by the expectation and understanding that employees should not be available for work 24/7.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
This is tough.
1. Perspective — don’t take yourself too seriously or think too much of yourself. I was at a conference once where the keynote (famous) speaker wore a T-shirt with three commas on it and talked the entire time about how he was the only one in the room who could wear this shirt (his net worth had three commas in it). I doubt anyone heard or took anything of value from his speech. The next morning the head of operations for the company came on stage with a T-shirt that had one comma on it. He got a standing ovation.
2. Perspective (take 2) is to believe in yourself and know you have something meaningful to offer. I struggled with this early on in my career and face it from time to time as I enter new and challenging opportunities. For me, it stems from growing up gay in a community where I was told I was less than. Be mindful of the parts of you that do not believe in you. Keep them in check. And know that no matter where you are, you have something to offer.
3. Team versus Me — be willing to be part of a team and not insist on being the star. Some will say you need to push hard to be seen and to be successful. Work hard, yes. Push, no. Understand the difference.
4. Define “Successful Career” for you, not what others say is successful. Find success in what is healthy for you. Find success in what makes you whole, what makes you “be well” every day. It is also important to let go of any expectations others have set for you. You be you and find success in that.
Note — wow, the top four may not seem directly related to the health and wellness industry but I promise you there is an overall point. Let me wrap this up for you.
5. If you can live out the four above, you’ll be in a healthy and wellness state of mind, body and spirit. From there, you’ll be able to offer leadership in this industry that is authentic and meaningful. Have the guts to lead and to take risks. Be willing to fail and embrace failure as part of the journey. Take advantage of opportunities and make opportunities when you feel that they are not being offered to you. In sum, take action! But note, sometimes the best action can be patience.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start a movement where we truly put work way down on the priority list and lived our lives where health and wellness for us and our families were the primary drivers. Think about it, we live where our jobs are, not where our friends or favorite lake or mountain is. Many of us work more than we spend time with those we love. Heck, we work more than we sleep! I promise I’m a capitalist, I just think we shouldn’t worship capitalism. We’d all be happier, more engaged and active and the byproduct would be a stronger economy!
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Oprah Winfrey, without a doubt. Her personal and professional story moves me, challenges me and inspires me. She’s a superstar while, as best I can tell, stays grounded and personable.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!