Young (41) is an Edinburgh-based father of one and passionate about the transformative effects of mindfulness and meditation. He has 23 years previous experience working in financial services, including 12 years involved in strategic business change in the Scottish banking sector.
Sceptics may question the validity of introducing a new intervention into an already pressurised, busy work environment. However, a wealth of research, including by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) documents organisations as diverse as Google, Transport for London, the US military and BlueBay Asset Management have recorded positive outcomes as a result of employee participation in mindfulness.
Transport for London observed a 71 per cent reduction in absence rates due to employee stress and anxiety while participant feedback in private sector businesses highlighted greater focus in meetings and ability to prioritise.
Young is now encouraging members of Scotland’s corporate sector to explore the business and personal benefits of adopting a ‘mindful’ approach in the office and everyday life.
He already works on mindfulness with business teams at KPMG and recycling business Changeworks and the social enterprise now wants to use its taster sessions, workshops and courses to engage other corporate businesses. The sector has already positively responded to an opportunity to attend a free mindfulness in the workplace event on Wednesday 28 June in Edinburgh. All tickets are now allocated for the evening at The Dome at which the guest speaker will be Martin Stepek, a mindfulness expert and author.
As Young explained: “The Mindful Enterprise is a mindfulness and meditation training provider that delivers tailored, innovative programmes in both the public and private sector. My motivation is to help people at work, in education and home to thrive and to live their best life.
“In the fast-paced, often stressful world of business, the simple power of mindfulness, focusing on the present, is often overlooked. Yet mindfulness has been shown to open the door for people to adopt more positive actions that will benefit the individual, their work, education and family.”
Reflecting a vision to ensure mindfulness becomes part of the core school curriculum in the years ahead, 20% of the company profits will go towards part-funding mindfulness courses in Scottish schools and to provide free training to disadvantaged young people and adults in impoverished communities in Scotland.
Since 2015, Young has been further developing his business model and building an executive team. He has undertaken pilot programmes on mindfulness with S5/S6 groups at Larbert High in Stenhousemuir and Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh. Since May, the social enterprise has also delivered a 7-week mindfulness course to (P5) pupils in Abbeyhill Primary School in Scotland’s capital.
Young added: “Part of our business model is trying to team up corporate
businesses with schools, to help part fund the mindfulness courses to pupils. With benefits to both the school and the business, this also presents a relatively low cost CSR opportunity for corporates.”
Young has no doubt that his own life has been greatly influenced by the power of mindfulness. He grew up with a close family member who suffered from mental health problems and who spent many months being treated in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Consequently, during their adolescent years Young and his sister suppressed a lot of their own emotions.
It was only in his early 30’s, after throwing himself into a successful career and busy social life that Young began to recognise a need to re-evaluate his life and heal some ‘old wounds.’ He turned to meditation, a technique which had an immediate and transformative impact, led to new ways of behaving and thinking and igniting his passion to help others.
He hopes his engagement with the corporate sector will lead to greater implementation of mindfulness in schools and communities. Said Young: “I want to see mindfulness recognised as a fundamental part of Scottish and global workplace culture, promoting improved health, wellbeing and optimal performance.”
About Gary Young and The Mindful Enterprise
- Gary Young has 23 years in financial services, including 12 in strategic business change in the banking sector.
- Initially formed in 2015, over the past two years the social enterprise has steadily evolved, undertaking pilot programmes with a number of schools and providing mindfulness sessions to corporate businesses.