Monica Krake is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur and public relations professional whose passion for the spiritual, wellness and event industries has lead her to create Head + Heart, an ever-growing calendar of health, wellness, spiritual and social justice events in the Pacific Northwest. After meeting many people and connecting with organizations that were experiencing difficulty in promoting their events and causes, Monica says she felt empowered to create the place to broadcast them.
We connected with Monica to learn more about the Head + Heart brand. Read our full interview with Monica now, where we ask about the inspiration behind this entirely free wellness event calendar and the highs and lows of the journey so far.
- Why was January 2017 the best time for Head + Heart to officially launch?
January is a month of new beginnings and possibilities, so it was a great time to introduce the site and connect with people while they were planning out their events for the year. I started with a soft launch in October 2016 to test the site with family and friends and work out usability issues.
- What inspired you to want to create something for people to connect with others?
The inspiration for Head + Heart came to me in stages. The first stage was when I started searching for spiritual teachers and live experiences, like meditation workshops, and had to ask around a lot. I realized that for those of us not tied to a particular spiritual community, it’s not easy to know where to start searching for spiritual events. This was followed by several subsequent lightbulb moments. I can think of two events in particular that I attended within a short period of time that not a lot of people knew about. Despite this, the events were amazing and people really should have known about them! These stages, and many other moments and research, led me to realize how valuable a central forum would be, to event seekers, teachers and organizations hoping to attract like-minded audiences. I envision Head + Heart as a bit of an event matchmaker.
- You define Head + Heart as a mindful calendar of events. How have you found Head + Heart to benefit you and others around you?
Head + Heart is a community connector. For teachers, it’s a place to list and promote their wellness, spiritual and social justice events. For seekers, it’s a one stop shop to find all options in one central place and search by date or location to see what works for their [schedules]. Personally, I have attended amazing events since Head + Heart launched, so I’ve loved that. It’s also very inspiring to see beautiful people, offering healing experiences – wellness or spiritual – and focusing on lifting people up.
- How long have you been immersed in the wellness and spiritual industry?
I’ve always been deeply interested in spirituality. At one point as a young child, I remember wanting to be a nun (not any more!). My biggest passion is contemplating the mysteries of life, God, the way we’re all connected and what it all means (or doesn’t mean!). In the past, I worked closely with several non-profits to provide services that supported women and children, so I have a background in social justice, too.
- You’re also the co-owner of The Social Agency, a Vancouver-based public relations and social media agency. How do you think your career in PR motivates you to give more to Head + Heart?
Given my marketing background, I’ve been asked to volunteer and help promote different non-profits and their events. Actually, many of these experiences made me realize how much a promotional platform – a space to list fundraisers or workshops – would be of service. My goal is to use my marketing background to help people. Head + Heart is definitely my outlet for this!
- What do you hope Head + Heart does to improve the world of marketing and communications?
Hmmm. Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve thought about improving the world of marketing but on a personal level, I can say I would like to approach Head + Heart with openness, focused less on getting and more on collaboration. So, the approach with getting the word out about Head + Heart is new for me; it’s more of an offering to those who will benefit and an invitation to collaborate to create a space for all of us.
- The calendar covers events in California, Oregon, Washington and throughout B.C. That’s a lot of growth in one year! What’s been the most challenging part of the Head + Heart journey?
My main challenge is exactly this: connecting with ALL of the great teachers and organizations across all these regions. [The community is] growing every day.
- What is one of your biggest aspirations for year two of Heat + Heart?
For Head + Heart to become a go-to site for everyone in the wellness, spiritual and social justice realms. Eventually, I’d like to expand to cover all of North America, and possibly beyond.
- You don’t charge for event submissions. Why so?
I want to keep Head + Heart a free service because it will ensure all possible experiences are posted – including free events and non-profit workshops. Yes, luxury retreats are allowed too, but I don’t want guests to miss out on [smaller scale] events because the teachers or organizations can’t afford to post.
- What’s it like to attend some of the Head + Heart events?
I love it. Recently, I went on a camping yoga retreat happening on Vancouver Island and it was amazing. I haven’t been camping since I was in high school, so wanted to do something rustic and immerse myself in nature. It was awesome to meet the teachers who hosted the event and the incredible group of women in attendance.
- You’ve been giving back to the community for a long time. You’ve worked alongside The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, REED, and Just Work. What kind of work have you done with these organizations?
I’ve mostly helped organizations with marketing, strategic planning, brand identity and public relations.
- You have so much on your plate. How do you prioritize?
I have many lists!
- How do you stay motivated?
Honestly, this is really fun for me. I’m motivated by the causes and meeting like-minded people.
- Do you ever experience low moments, where you’re not as excited as you might want to be? How would you describe these moments? How do you get through them?
Yes, of course. With Head + Heart, one of my biggest frustrations has been that I would like more time to devote to building the site and community. Often when I want to do more or better, I’m frustrated that I don’t have enough time. My practice is now to put everything into perspective and remember that things don’t need to be perfect and that it’s ok to evolve or grow slowly, if that’s the best I can do. It’s also okay if not everyone gets it.
Eckhart Tolle has a great line in A New Earth that says something like: The spirit with which you do your job is the outcome. So, if you’re stressed and miserable about getting to the end result, whatever you make is ultimately born out of that level of consciousness. I think about this sentiment often and try to take care of my own peace, first. This helps to fuel the work I’m doing.
- Over the last few months, since Head + Heart went live, what has been the toughest, but most valuable, lesson you’ve learned?
Accepting the pace of growth, adapting the site as changes have been needed and doing it all in a spirit of service rather than ego.
- What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start another project?
I would say, a project needs to be motivated by joy. And on a practical level, outsource the parts you really don’t know about – if that’s SEO or marketing, make sure you [collaborate with] experts to augment where your own expertise is lacking.
Thanks for your collaboration, Monica. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Head + Heart. Sending good vibes to you!
The feature photo is by Cherish Bryck.