Interview with Mia Kyricos, brand strategist
Mia Kyricos is the President and Chief Love Officer (CLO) at Kyricos & Associates LLC, a strategic advisory and referral firm dedicated to advancing the business of wellness on a global scale, with a speciality in brand strategy. Mia is a founding board member of the Global Wellness Institute, an Advisory Board Member at Cornell University SC Johnson School of Business and a Board Member at the The Open Center.
Here, Mia gives a fascinating insight into the business of wellness and what we can expect to see from the wellness industry in the future, as well as explaining what goes on behind the scenes at Kyricos & Associates.
RdE: Please tell us about Kyricos & Associates and what your role involves?
MK: Kyricos & Associates (K&A) is a boutique advisory and referral firm, committed to advancing the business of wellness on a global scale and with a specialty in brand strategy. Our speciality is helping senior leaders to identify and actualise what wellness means to them, both commercially and internally, in a way to help them meet their brand and business objectives. For me, this means partnering with the C-suites of companies and industries of all kinds; from wellness to hospitality, tourism to real estate, medical to food and beverage and many more. We have also developed a strong network of partners around the world that can support development and operations of wellness-driven establishments – like our good partner Raison d’Etre – so we are also able to refer work out and extend our reach.
RdE: When did you begin your journey into the world of wellness?
MK: Between my 1st and 2nd year of graduate school at Cornell University, I worked for the founders and senior leadership team of Canyon Ranch health resorts, and even lived at their property in Massachusetts. I was immersed in the world of integrative health and wellness, and really discovered my calling to help further define and legitimise the business of wellness around the world. At the time, the world was still very much focused on fixing problems when it came to health and wellness versus preventing health problems in the first place, or proactively living healthy lifestyles that merged traditional and alternative therapies.
RdE: We love your title, Chief Love Officer – please tell us more!
MK: At the start of the pandemic, I decided I needed to find a beacon of hope, and for me, that was the idea of ‘love’ as a business strategy. That is, how could we rationalise and institutionalise positivity management – of which love is its greatest form – in 21st century companies as a bold, new way of thinking and operating in a post-pandemic world. More importantly, I wondered if there was a way I could prove the potential of positivity to make a business impact in dollars and cents. So, as the world shut down, I went on a research quest and sought out companies that had attempted to do just that. Gratefully, I found a handful that inspired me. Sure, they may have called it something else, but I found enough evidence to not only speak to the power of love in my client engagements, but to also change my title from CEO to CLO. That’s the kind of leader I’ve always been, only now, I refuse to hide it.
RdE: Explain how you work with Raison d’Etre?
MK: I first met the founders of Raison d’Etre when I was leading the development of spa and wellness brands at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. I partnered with Anna Bjurstam on a project over 15 years ago now, and I was struck at how well Raison d’Etre could adapt a global brand to a local market, while supporting development and operations through a project’s full life cycle. Now, as I lead my own firm, I consider Raison d’Etre as an extension of our network around the globe, with whom I can either partner or refer work to with confidence.
RdE: How do you bring the idea of an ‘Ecosystem of Wellbeing’ to life?
MK: This is our proprietary model which enables us to both illustrate and actualise the power of wellness for our clients. While many businesses come to us with a specific project, program, property or product they’d like to create or optimise, we use the model to demonstrate how wellness can become part of any company’s fabric. In other words, instead of looking at wellness compartmentally from a specific commercial or even internal point of view, we help our clients to identify full ecosystems that can enable the wellbeing of leaders, employees, consumers, communities and even the planet. Our ultimate goal is to help them to make wellness part of their DNA, not just part of their P&L.
RdE: What was the most exciting project you worked on this year?
MK: I am working with a first-generation, family foundation that truly wants to revolutionise access to mental health and wellbeing in a much more consumer-friendly way. They inspire me with their definition of ROI which to them, means “return on impact”. They care more about how many people , they stand to reach and make healthier, versus how many dollars they will earn in return for every dollar spent. It is a rare position to be in and I am grateful for the privilege to help them shape and realise their mission.
RdE: What are going to be the key Wellbeing trends in 2023?
MK: I think the biggest trend we will see is the sheer rise in demand for all things wellness. Despite the strides our industry has made over the last two decades, our potential has only just begun to be realised. Stress, anxiety and growing disparities in wealth and health are being worsened by societal problems that we all share. From new, hybrid work models to post-pandemic challenges in inflation, labour and supply chains issues, to the war in the Ukraine and even climate change – these challenges will all continue to inspire consumers to seek refuge in daily health and wellness practices. It’s on us to help support them.
RdE: What do you see the future of the business of Wellness looking like?
MK: I believe the future of wellness needs to be democratised and made more approachable to the average consumer. We have done an exceptional job of bringing wellness to those with resources and financial means, but we still have our work cut out for us when it comes to providing access for most, if not all. I believe this is our greatest opportunity as an industry, and my hope is to help identify, scale and support the delivery of wellness solutions to people who need it most.
Find out more about Mia and her work with Kyricos & Associates LLC here