Athletech News spoke to Regina Wallace-Jones about Mindbody’s impressive growth and future, what it’s like to partner with so many different businesses, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the fitness and wellness space.
Regina Wallace-Jones had spent 22 years working in engineering, security, and data-driven expansion for colossal tech companies, like Motorola, Yahoo, and Facebook, before joining Mindbody in 2019. With no prior experience in the fitness and wellness sector, she leveraged her tech background and leadership skills to become the software service’s Vice President of Product & Engineering and quickly rose to Senior Vice President nine months later. Wallace-Jones has helped Mindbody expand its business domestically and abroad and is responsible for growing its product revenue across the US, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Athletech News spoke to Wallace-Jones about Mindbody’s impressive growth and future, what it’s like to partner with so many different businesses, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the fitness and wellness space.
Athletech News (ATN): What attracted you to Mindbody as a company and to the role of (S)VP of Products & Engineering?
Regina Wallace-Jones (RWJ): Mindbody is the perfect combination of mission, opportunity and culture. Few would argue that it isn’t amazing to execute on a mission to “connect the world with wellness.” The allure of making the wellness tent wider and more accessible for more people brings a charge like none other. Mindbody also has endless business opportunity to grow in the US and abroad. We’ve proven to be experts at winning small to large customers and have emerging Marketplace, Platform API and SOLO (individual wellness practitioners) market opportunities to grow and expand. And finally, Mindbody has one of the healthiest cultures that I’ve ever experienced. I’m particularly drawn to the company’s “Consciously Evolving” value, but who wouldn’t love a community that is “Humble and Helpful?” We get a lot of cool things done and have tons of fun along the way.
ATN: What does your job with Mindbody entail? What aspects of the business do you oversee?
RWJ: I have a wide and exciting mission at Mindbody. On the product side, I own the Platform API Product mission which is the way that we integrate with partners and large customers to scale and expand their business. I also have the Data as Product mission, which is an evolving offering of reporting, insights and data solutions for partners and customers. And finally, I have an emerging SOLO mission aimed at supporting the growth of our Wellness Solopreneurs, such as personal trainers. I also have responsibility for our Product Services teams which include Product Marketing & Insights, User Research, Design & User Experience, Pricing and Technical Program Management. I never see a boring day at Mindbody. It’s an incredible team!
ATN: What were your thoughts on the virtual fitness space upon joining Mindbody in 2019?
RWJ: Virtual fitness was definitely a critical part of the broad experiences that consumers expected in 2019 as a way to extend accessibility. Mindbody’s virtual wellness product was emerging at that time and we had plans to extend our portfolio into this space in 2020.
ATN: How has your perspective shifted since, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
RWJ: Our perspective hasn’t shifted as much as it has been accelerated and perfected in COVID-19. We were going to beta a virtual wellness product in August of 2020. COVID-19 meant that our customers and consumers needed solutions faster because for a period of time, virtual became the dominant way to engage in fitness activities as gyms and other facilities closed. In our effort to support our customers and consumers, we accelerated our plans, launching Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform in April. This allowed our customers to seamlessly integrate in-person and virtual experiences. It also eliminates the need for them to depend on third-party video and streaming solutions since it integrates directly into Mindbody’s software, allowing consumers to easily access their favorite businesses’ virtual offerings.
ATN: How did Mindbody initially respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? What was your involvement in this response?
RWJ: The first thing that Mindbody did was study the global impacts of COVID-19. Because we are globally deployed, we had the benefit of looking at markets that had been impacted earlier in the wave. This allowed us to establish some hypotheses about how our markets and customers would be affected. We pivoted our product plans by applying a “is this still valuable in COVID-19” filter that didn’t previously exist. This allowed us to defer some concepts while we accelerated and/or surfaced new COVID-19 enabling concepts. As a result, we established a way to narrate the journey with our customers and consumers by using blogs, playbooks, email and social media to help first establish a sense of calmness across our base of customers, but also help educate them on ways to maintain the business. We are in this together, which means that every part of the symphony has to play their part. At Mindbody, we embrace this idea completely.
ATN: Obviously, as the pandemic has continued, the fitness and wellness space has been filled with uncertainty. How has Mindbody approached working with so many different studios in various parts of the country, where different rules/circumstances exist during this time?
RWJ: The enduring impacts of COVID-19 on wellness will be profoundly felt worldwide, but Mindbody’s values have positioned us well to support our community. In particular, our sustained commitment to wellness that drives us to a purpose greater than ourselves stands out as a core enabler. We embrace that we will be intentional about our commitment to consciously evolve. We needed this to pivot our plans and will continue to leverage this core value going forward. Our orientation toward being empathetic, striving to understand and support the journeys of our customers and consumers makes us great listeners, and personally, if I can listen and support uneasy residents as a public servant in COVID-19, I can certainly hear the voices of our global customers and respond with supportive solutions that convey that we can make it through this season with incredible grace and strength.
ATN: What impact do you think the pandemic will have on the fitness and wellness industry in years to come? How is Mindbody preparing for this?
RWJ: The pandemic will forever change the way that we think about and amplify the presence of wellness in our lives. We’re already ideating on ways that we can expand our offerings across what we call the seven dimensions of wellness (Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social, Environmental, Occupational and Spiritual). We’re experimenting internally with an eye toward making our offerings more and more robust to meet the needs of the world around us.
ATN: What do you foresee as the future of fitness?
RWJ: I see fitness being necessary, ubiquitous, accessible and personalized. I frequently say that we are all experiencing COVID-19 at the same time, but in incredibly different ways. Under these circumstances, the demand increases to deliver “my wellness, my way.” It’s an awesome and daunting challenge, but one that we feel equipped to enthusiastically rise to the occasion.