endota spa founder talks to #BreakTheBias, the focus of International Women's Day 2022

A modern look to classic femininity

A Q&A with endota founder and CEO, Mel Gleeson.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March, we asked our Founder Mel Gleeson her take on this globally recognised celebration for women and life as a woman in the 21st century. Touching on feminine energy, gender equality and how women are at the core of the endota brand.

What does being a woman in the 21st century mean to you?

Being a woman in the 21st century is invigorating. To me, what stands out most is that I have choice and freedom over the way I live my life, I can participate fully in society how I choose and can strive for my goals in the face of adversity. When I founded endota over 20 years ago, what was most important to me was helping others and making a difference, leaving the world in a better place than how I found it. The rise of women in the workplace has transformed society in the 21st century and I am proud to have contributed alongside all women in our own unique way.

What’s special about International Women’s Day and how does this align to endota?

International Women’s Day at its core, is about celebrating the achievements of women and to raise awareness against bias. To imagine our world as inclusive and equitable, a world where diversity is celebrated and valued. At endota, our team is made up of 95% women, recognising and empowering women is at the core of our business. Our success is due to the many efforts of the women who believe and nurture the endota values. Our therapists, our internal teams, our franchise partners.

The 2022 International Women’s Day theme is Break The Bias. What will breaking down bias’ help us achieve and how can we push forward in breaking them?

Gender equality is a human right, and has been proven to be linked to greater cohesion within societies and improved economic growth. It’s crucial for women of all ages to feel valued, included and not discriminated against in order for them to recognise their true power. While as a society we have made gains over the last century in terms of recognising women as equals, there is significant work left to do. Women make up over half of the workforce and yet only 8.2% of CEOs are females, indicative of the barriers faced by women to reach positions of power. At endota, 60% of endota’s senior management are women - indicative of how we as a business strive to break down the bias and forge women’s equality, by advocating and elevating women’s voices.

"In my experience any leader that is considerate of and reflects feminine values in their behaviours is a better leader."

When we speak about breaking down the bias, women are so often penned for having personality traits that make us less successful leaders than our male counterparts, but in my experience any leader that is considerate of and reflects feminine values in their behaviours is a better leader. Placing value on collaboration, deep listening, shared understanding and alignment of common values and goals will always be reflected in the success of a business and the happiness of its team.

Women are often thought of as nurturers.
Why is it important that we nurture ourselves first and foremost, and how can we when we’re often labelled as a carer for others?

Expectations of women are higher now than ever before. Women are contributing to the workforce at far greater rates, but they still are proven to take on the most household and familial duties. No one should have to do it all, and this constant push to give our all to our jobs, our families and our relationships can leave us burnt out and out of touch with ourselves. Just as we cherish others, we need to cherish ourselves to refill depleted energy, restore creativity and cultivate patience. This can only be done by setting boundaries to protect our personal limits, prioritising the self care activities that make us feel good and that nurture our soul. For equality - we need to look within the home, the workplace and our communities at all levels.

How can women embrace their divine feminine energy?

The divine feminine by definition is an energy, which means she can’t be seen or heard, but she can be felt. She is the feminine that exists in all living beings on earth, including the ocean, moon and trees. Awakening our divine feminine energy is a process that takes time and attention and revolves around increasing your self-love and appreciation, and connecting with your body and sensuality. Self-care activities that can aid in awakening this energy include discovering your worth, speaking your truth and never remaining silent when something doesn’t sit well with you, expecting great things and aligning your intent and activities to achieve great things in all aspects of your life.

How have you developed inner strength and why is it important for women to own theirs?

It’s no secret that inner strength gives you freedom. Freedom to be yourself, to be in control of your own happiness, to act with conviction, determination and enthusiasm - all necessary qualities to live a satisfying life. I had to develop my sense of self and worth over my life, and it came from recognising my confidence and power in my capabilities and believing in what I am able to achieve. I could not lead this company without care, drive, ambition and love, and cultivating this inner strength has been one of the key ingredients to my success.

You could say that intuition led you to starting endota. What is the intent behind the endota brand and how has this evolved over time?

endota was founded on my dream to give back and help others feel better.

Intent has remained one of our core values for over 20 years, acting as a guiding principle for our teams to act with conviction and in line with our values at all times - how we do it is as important as what we do. When the first day spa was launched on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula there was low consumer understanding of the benefits the treatment offerings could provide both mentally and physically, but slowly we have seen wellness become an integral part of our society. We are proud to be an organisation built by passionate and forward-thinking individuals and to have remained leaders in the wellness industry. While our external environment and consumer sentiment may have changed, the intent behind the endota brand has remained steadfast, which I believe is a contributor to our success.

endota is a business run by 95% women. What does this mean to you as a brand and how can we continue championing women in business?

We are proud to be a business run by 95% women, and since our inception have always lived by our brand values as a brand created by women for women - at the heart of everything we do. As pioneers in this arena, we are proudly training the next generation of health and wellness therapists to follow their calling at endota Wellness College. Through the college, we encourage women to take control of their future and pursue a career with purpose and meaning.