As a student, Lestat McCree had his career on his mind. Running a music events business on the side, meant hosting club nights and managing artists across several cities. The natural next step –– entering the music industry –– would have meant him getting a job at Universal, Warner or one of the other big labels.
But something didn’t feel right. From the glimpse he’d had into that world, he felt it was too toxic, and he eventually decided he wanted to dedicate his energy to something he found more fulfilling.
Having always been health-conscious, spending the majority of his free time focusing on some sort of fitness goal or health craze, he felt that the wellness industry would be a better fit for him. The fact it was an exciting and fast-growing industry was a happy coincidence.
Transitioning industries took ambition, persistence, and in Lestat’s case, an ‘unorthodox’ mindset. And thanks to those qualities his gamble paid off.
Having carved out a fulfiling career as Partnerships Manager at on-demand wellness app Urban, today Lestat is living his best life surrounded by like-minded people and working for a brand that aligns with his passions.
We sat down with Lestat to find out how he got his foot in the door, why there’s a lot to be said for learning on the job and what working in wellness really looks like.
What are some of the crucial steps you took to help you get to where you’re today?
I had run a club nights business since I was 16, so when I decided I wanted to work for a wellness brand, I’d never applied for a proper long-term job before.
I guess I had a pretty unorthodox mindset towards getting it. I was convinced that if I picked the three to five companies that I loved the most, then kept annoying them via constant emails to employees, I’d eventually get a job at one of them.
I spent a lot of time deciding on what these five or so companies were for me, and then even more time researching them, looking into their future goals/vision, who worked there etc.
I then set about emailing employees to try and get myself an interview (sorry to anyone who received annoying emails from me!).
To me it made sense – the most common way to get a job is through the people you know, so by getting in touch with executive employees personally via email etc, you enter this space of being “someone they know”, and ultimately refer.
It worked great and I managed to get through to the founder of all but one of the companies. However, most of these were US-based and trying to persuade them to sponsor me for a visa to live in LA/NYC was a lot harder than I expected. Luckily, Urban gave in to my relentless emails, which was perfect because I had just read about the business recently re-branding. It had decided to shift from solely providing massage and instead towards becoming a one-stop-shop for wellness (branching out into beauty and fitness), which I loved and see huge potential in.
What are some of the key skills that helped you bag your role at Urban?
I personally believe that the skills required for most (non-specialised) roles can be learnt on the job. What’s more important are the values and attitude you hold and bring to work day-to-day – i.e. the desire to work hard and the enthusiasm to constantly learn and improve.
Linked to this, I think there is a lot to be said for the sort of soft skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.
Now you’re working in wellness, what do you love about it the most?
I love that I’m surrounded by people and companies that share similar values to me, and are trying to improve themselves physically, mentally, spiritually etc.
Also, there’s so much more to discover and unlock! Homo Deus’ author Yuval Noah Harari makes an interesting argument that now humanity (in the Western world, at least) largely has its basic needs covered, people are pursuing what he calls ‘immortality, happiness, and divinity’. This involves not just curing the sick but upgrading the healthy too – something which he calls the ‘infinite market’. And wellness has a huge part to play in this.
Just think, meditation apps are in essence a tool for the healthy to upgrade themselves (to achieve better productivity, sleep etc.); maybe these are the early steps towards popularising gene-editing and biohacking, as humans and technology intertwine.
What about myths or misconceptions about working in wellness –– have you discovered any?
It’s not all about influencers as social media might suggest. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes, just like any business.
However, I do think that the wellness industry is unique in that you’re surrounded by a wellness-orientated atmosphere and environment that I imagine is unlikely to be found in other industries.
So, what’s your main piece of advice for anyone out there who wants to work in the wellness industry?
Be ambitious – don’t settle for less than what you want, and keep on pushing until you get it.
There’s a famous quote I love by Calvin Coolidge which ends by saying “persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”.
I’d also advise spending time researching the companies that you think you want to work for. Do you agree with its vision and the direction it’s heading? Does it look like an exciting place to work? Will you learn a lot there? Could you see yourself there for the next 5 years? If not, why not?