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This founder says the key to wellness at work is a ‘considerate culture,’ not perks that ‘act as Band Aids’

Ashleigh Hinde, founder and CEO of Waldo.
Courtesy of Ashleigh Hinde

In our CEO wellness series, we ask executives about their day-to-day habits to gain insight into the tactics they use to minimize stress and maintain their well-being.

As the granddaughter of an acclaimed South African wildlife photographer, as well as an avid wildlife photographer herself (winning BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award when she was just 10 years old), Ashleigh Hinde understood the role our eyes play in how we see the world from an early age. Ashleigh began wearing contacts at 11 years old and after nearly two decades, she grew frustrated with the quality of and massive markups on contact lenses sold by large pharmaceutical companies. So in 2017, inspired to drive innovation in the industry, she dove head first into the world of entrepreneurship to found WALDO, a global e-commerce brand that delivers high quality daily contact lenses at an affordable price straight to the consumer via an innovative digital platform. 

Coffee or tea? And what do you put in it?
Almond cappuccino with cinnamon in the morning. Licorice or rooibos tea for evening and afternoon.

What is your go-to breakfast?
Starting my day with a green smoothie is the biggest and easiest health kick for me. [I add] spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, basil and lemon. It’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

Tell us about your workout routine.
Working out is more a mental exercise than physical for me so it changes week to week but generally one to two HIIT workouts a week (Barry’s or Rumble); two long walks; and one to two hikes a week.

How many hours do you sleep on a typical night?
Between 5 and 7 hours. I’m working on this.

How do you de-stress?
Guided meditations have been a game-changer for me. I tend to listen to the same ones. I am used to them and can get into that meditative state quicker listening to those from the same set. It’s as though my body is expecting it now, so it’s easier to get into. I have recently started exploring Hz frequency music before sleep and it’s amazing, I find it similar to meditation. 

Also, making time for sunset. I think it’s a great leveler. 

According to your phone, what’s your daily average screen time from last week?
It’s a shocking 5 hours.

What app do you use the most?
Messages, Whatsapp, Instagram, Gmail

When’s the last time you took a day off? What did you do?
Sunday. I went on hike with friends and cooked.

What’s one thing your company is doing to prioritize employee wellness?
We give a lot of flexibility for the team to work remotely and build their schedule. I also think we generally have a very collaborative and considerate culture which makes it a nurturing and fulfilling work environment to work in. I am more of an advocate for building a team of thoughtful and accountable people instead of singular perks that I think act as band aids without addressing underlying potentially toxic working environments that create stress. 

What’s your favorite treat?
I really love a well-made cappuccino. Watching TV in bed is something I don’t do often but feels really decadent and great.

What’s your favorite wellness product? 
I am a big fan of my weighted blanket.

Show us a photo of your happy place. 

Ashleigh Hinde in South Africa.
Courtesy of Ashleigh Hinde

This was last year back in South Africa taking photographs of a pride of lion in the riverbed we found that morning. I love wildlife photography because you truly need to be focused on what you are viewing to get the right shot so it’s all encompassing. The environment and the animals are also always interacting so each second the sights and sound change. Being in the middle of that interaction that has nothing to do with humans is really incredible. My grandfather is also a wildlife photographer and my time taking photographs with him is very special to me so the hobby itself is somewhat sentimental. It probably kickstarting my deep interest and appreciation for vision.

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