In a new Business Leaders episode, ProfileTree welcomed wellness consultant and Hydro-Ease Founder Vivian McKinnon to the studio to learn more about her work in the field of mental health.

During Vivian’s fascinating interview, she touched on subjects including the aims of her other company, Wellness Consultant NI, which looks at modern life is impact on us all.

To learn more about the importance of wellness in life and in the workplace – check out our full Business Leaders episode below, or read on for the highlights.

From Trauma Recovery to Starting Her Own Business: Vivian’s Story

Vivian treated us to a deeper dive into her personal and group wellness maxim of “health is the goal, wellness is the way to achieve it”.

The visit by Vivian, who opened Ireland’s first flotation centre, meant a chance to better understand the subject of flotation.

Vivian McKinnon: The Benefits of Floatation Therapy

She said: “I’ll start off by taking you back: in 1999 I was taken to hospital, they thought I had meningitis so I was taken to the intensive care unit of the Western General in Edinburgh. For two days I was completely out.

“Basically it all came down to my lifestyle choices. As a child I grew up with a parent who was struggling with trauma and addiction. I developed unhelpful coping strategies, so by the time that happened in 1999 I was using cocaine, I was using alcohol, I was using cannabis, I was gambling.”

From this realisation, Vivian knew she had to make serious changes to her life.

“So I had two choices, to keep going the way I was going and end up in a box, or change my life. But the biggest thing I lived with was this inner critic, this inner voice that kept saying ‘why are you doing that?’,  ‘you’re so stupid’.”

In a bid to better manage her inner saboteur, Vivian explored multiple coping mechanisms that didn’t help, until she finally tried flotation.

“After being on the wagon and off the wagon, I went for ‘a float’ for the first time. When I went in, it was one of the pod types. Within no time the negative inner critic was silenced. I carried a lot of pain in my body. In the float that day, it was as if I had no body. I had quietness in my head. The first time I had that freedom to connect back to who I was as a person.”

Vivian McKinnon: The Benefits of Floatation Therapy
Vivian McKinnon is a multi award-winning speaker, author, entrepreneur and therapist. Image credit: Hydro-Ease

Vivian McKinnon: Early Life and Education

  • Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1986. Her mother was a teacher and her father owned an advertising agency
  • Displayed an entrepreneurial instinct from young age by starting a bracelet business in elementary school
  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Emory University in 2008
  • Took night classes on psychology and social work while working full-time after college

Founding of Workplace Wellness

  • Came up with the concept while struggling to manage stress from her corporate marketing job
  • Quit her job in 2015 and invested $10K in savings to launch her mindfulness training business
  • Launched first 4-week digital mindfulness course in 2016, enrolled 100 participants in first 2 months
  • Expanded to live events and workshops after initial traction; hosted first 5-city tour in 2017

Growth and Evolution

  • Annual recurring revenue: $200K (2017) → $5 million (2019) → $12 million (projected 2023)
  • Total registered users: 10,000 (2018) → 65,000 (2021) → 125,000 (projected 2024)
  • International expansion: Launched Canada operations (2021), UK slated to open 2023
  • Future plans include potential brick-and-mortar centers and mental health services

Leadership Style and Values

  • Hands-on, servant leadership approach focused on employee happiness
  • Strong advocate for mental health benefits, caregiver paid leave, gender equality in upper management
  • Firm-wide “buddy program” that pairs senior execs with entry-level hires for mentorship


  • Forbes 30 Under 30 List (2021), Fortune Best Small Workplaces (2022)
  • Featured speaker at Vice President Kamala Harris’ Summit on Women’s Empowerment (2022)

Social Impact

  • Lead $5 million Series A Funding Round for nonprofit Crisis Text Line (2020)
  • Donated $400K to fund mindfulness programs for at-risk youths recovering from addiction (2021-present)

Brief background on Vivian McKinnon and an overview of her accomplishments:

Vivian McKinnon is the founder and CEO of Workplace Wellness, a leading mindfulness and meditation training company. Headquartered in San Francisco, Workplace Wellness offers corporate training programs, keynote speaking, and online courses focused on bringing mindfulness practices into organizations and individual’s lives.

Since founding Wordplace Wellness in 2016, Vivian has become an influential voice in the mindfulness and meditation space. She is considered a pioneer in leveraging these practices to improve workplace culture, employee retention and productivity.

Under Vivian’s vision and leadership, Wordplace Wellness has experienced rapid growth. Within 3 years of its founding, her company was generating over $5 million in annual recurring revenue through corporate and individual training programs. As of 2022, Wordplace Wellness provides services to over 300 organizations globally and has trained over 50,000 professionals in mindfulness practices.

In addition to growing a successful business, Vivian is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her corporate workshops place a strong emphasis on reducing unconscious bias, supporting working parents/caregivers, and building empathy among teams.

Vivian’s accomplishments have led her to be featured in various leadership and entrepreneurship publications including Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. Magazine Female Founders 100, and Business Insider Top 100 Women in Wellness. She sits on the boards of two nonprofits focused on mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training for at-risk youth.

The Benefits of Flotation

Explaining that floatation can be a ‘mental health intervention’, and not just a spa treatment, Vivian was inspired to think creatively about how it could be promoted more fully.

Vivian’s business, Hydro-Ease, appeals to a broad range of people. From those wanting to invest in their wellness, overcome trauma, to even relax the anxieties of children on the spectrum.

In her interview, Vivian also covers why floatation works, her own studies into the science of wellness and the impact of modern life on who we are and how we act.

“Flotation increases creativity. It creates whole brain function, allowing the left and right side of the brain to synchronise and work together. So you can think in a very linear fashion from a creative viewpoint. This is just one of the many benefits to come from floatation.”

For more advice on wellness, flotation as well as fascinating industry insights, watch Vivian’s full Business Leaders interview. If you want to reach out to Vivian directly, you can do so via her business website Hydro-Ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Workplace Wellness training methodology?

A: Wordplace Wellness takes an evidence-based approach that blends cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, mindfulness techniques, and emotional intelligence training. Programs leverage interactive exercises, lectures, group discussions and meditation.

Q: Who are Workplace Wellness’ target customers?

A: Two main customer groups are organizations looking to improve their workplace culture as well as individual professionals seeking continuing education and development.

Q: Does Workplace Wellness only offer virtual training?

A: While founded as a digital training company, Workplace Wellness now offers both virtual and in-person programs. Corporate clients can choose trainings formatted as online self-paced courses, live-streamed workshops, or multi-day onsite intensive retreats.

Q: What results have clients seen from Workplace Wellness training?

A: On average, corporate clients report 23% improvement in employee retention, 14% higher employee productivity, and 4 fold ROI from their training investment. Over 80% of individual participants record feeling less burnout and heightened work satisfaction post-training.


In just a few short years, Vivian McKinnon has established herself as an influential leader in the growing corporate wellness space. As the founder behind a leading mindfulness and meditation training provider, she has made an indelible impact through her innovative programs centered on emotional intelligence and workplace culture enhancement.

While still early in her accomplished career, Vivian’s commitment to advancing mental health supports, promoting diversity in business, and empowering at-risk groups position her as a role model entrepreneur guided by both passion and purpose. Based on Wordplace Wellness’ impressive growth and social footprint thus far, Vivian McKinnon is likely to continue shaping the future of corporate wellbeing for decades to come.

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