Welcome back to The MOD Interview Series.
We have the pleasure of getting to know Gemma Rigby from Omya Spot, enjoy the interview below:
1. What attracted you to open your business, Omya Spot?
I am a Primary School Teacher and a Mum to two young children. During my maternity leave I wanted to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness practice for young children in particular. I like the idea of creating time and space in my day to nurture my kid’s mental wellbeing, and mindfulness philosophy seemed to be the right place to start.
2. What services and products do you offer through Omya Spot?
Omya Spot is an online community that provides mindfulness resources for kids, their parents and educators. We have recently designed and developed the world’s first Omya Spot, a child’s size meditation mat that encourages daily mindfulness practice in the family home or classroom.
3. What are the different environments that you work and offer your services?
I currently work from home. As a full time carer to my one-year-old daughter, I take advantage of her nap times to dive into a few tasks at a time. I use email and social media to connect with my customers and to share teaching ideas. I also meet with educators and mindfulness teachers in their learning environments to help them get to know the concept of creating a meditation space for kids.
4. How has your business evolved?
Omya Spot is a very new business that launched in August 2019. Since beginning the start-up process, the business has continued to evolve to reflect the needs of Mums and Dads who are trying to understand how mindfulness techniques can help their children. I have come to learn that my business needs to educate parents of the benefits of living in the present moment just as much as it needs to educate and support kids. This is why our community on social media is so important, because we can get real time feedback from our customers.
5. What interests you most in your area of practice?
I’m constantly amazed at just how competent kids are at connecting with yoga and mindfulness. When adults decide they would like to try meditation, they find it really difficult. But young children (0-10 year olds) are learning at such a rapid rate, they are much more accomplished at training their attention and focusing on being in the present moment. They also noticeably feel so good when being mindful and I find it so interesting to watch the benefits of their practice transcend into the rest of their day. It’s the emotional intelligence of the current generation that we really need to nurture in this time of instant information and fast paced living. Emotional Intelligence will be their super power.
6. What disruptors do you see having a major effect within the industry/s in which you work?
My industry is to prepare kids to be successful for the future. The problem is that we don’t really know what being successful will look like in the future. The workforce is rapidly changing and human intelligence will need to adapt to that.
7. What would you like to see change on a national or international level?
An increasing number of youth are experiencing mental health issues at alarming rates. I’d like to see mindfulness education as a compulsory part of the curriculum so that kids can learn to better understand emotion, stress and mental health as they grow to know themselves. The Federal Government recently pledged $2.5 million in the 2019 budget towards the use of the school-based mindfulness program Smiling Mind so that is a bonus.
8. What do you bring to your client’s that is unique and you know makes a difference?
I write micro meditations for all ages. As a mum and a teacher, finding time to include mindfulness meditations in my day is really difficult so I share quick and easy pause prompts that are designed to gently integrate mindfulness in your day to day routines.
9. What book/s are you reading at present?
Well apart from reading Noni the Pony three times every night I am enjoying the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. He is Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master with experience transforming education using his mindfulness methods. I’m reading his book, ‘Happy Teachers Change the World.’
10. What do you do to take care of yourself so that you can turn up for all the roles that you are involved in in your life ?
This is my favourite question! I would say that although I seem to maintain my roles as Mum, Small Business Owner, Wife, Sister and Friend, I always feel that I’m spread thin. I get really frustrated when I can’t find the time to physically take care of myself so I try to focus on my mental wellbeing each day because I can nurture that anywhere and at anytime. I have to make a conscious effort each day to slow down. To really slow down! I find it brings a deeper happiness to all the roles. I used to think that my strength as a worker was my ability to work fast and multitask but that ensured that I became quickly stressed and burnt out and this wasn’t going to work if I was going to show up and be ‘Mum’ every day too. So my daily mantra is one thing at a time!
11.What is one thing on your bucket list that you intend to do soon? And Why?
I would love to do an ocean swim. I used to love swimming in the ocean but since having kids, I haven’t been able to overcome my anxiety of sharks! When I swim now my mind plays too many tricks on me. Maybe one day I’ll feel brave and get back out there!
If you would like to read more on what Gemma does and the services that she offers her website is www.omyaspot.com.au
This interview series is about professionals and why they do what they do. As you know I am a coach and an occupational therapist, I spend my days learning about what other people do, what motivates them, what doesn’t, what their interests are, how they got to where they are and how all of this impacts on their health and wellbeing both positive and negatively. People fascinate me, I love to work with people and facilitate them towards individual, team, health and professional goals.
This series provides you with a little bit of insight into different individuals and what they do, what is important to them, what frustrates them. If you have any questions for the professionals that you read about do not hesitate to contact them via their provided details or websites.