Founder Friday Feature: Alyson Stoner, Co-Founder & CEO, Movement Genius

What inspired you to start your company?

Movement Genius is a subscription platform that offers mental health tools and stress relief techniques to improve wellbeing. At the beginning of the pandemic, I led a 14-day series of virtual live classes to help people reconnect with their body, find relaxation, and process stress and emotions. Over 150,000 people attended, adamantly requesting weekly classes. Because of a trifecta of factors – 1) the worsening mental health crisis, 2) my background in producing engaging content and being certified in the wellness space, and 3) our unique approach to mental wellbeing (incorporating the full body and nervous system into practices), we recognized the urgent opportunity to create a platform where these effective tools and a supportive community could be accessible to everyone.

Who are your cofounders, and what makes you a great team?

My co-founder/COO and sister, Correy ONeal, specializes in scaling media and entertainment tech companies, and leading sales and marketing strategy. She also has a background in designing sustainability programs that elevate underserved populations. We each have 20+ years of experience in the entertainment industry and an online audience of 5.2 million people. We understand how to build and engage audiences, make information relevant and accessible to the mainstream, and center social impact in our mission.

How is Movement Genius making a difference?

We believe every person deserves to feel safe, resilient and well in their mind and body. We are addressing the mental health crisis by creating solutions for populations with the highest markers of stress and suffering. We also prioritize culturally competent, trauma-informed, accessibility-informed care to ensure our tools can be helpful for as many people as possible. Finally, we’ve deeply examined what’s missing in existing mental health solutions (particularly, only focusing on what’s happening “neck-up”), which is why we integrate full-body practices to help individuals more fully address their health and wellbeing.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

As a startup, we experience the familiar limitations that come with bootstrapping. We must be incredibly strategic about our planning and goals (while remaining flexible), and find clever revenue channels as we iterate on our product, add value, and build early traction.

What is your biggest win? 

Impact is key. In less than a year, we’ve been fortunate to partner with organizations and communities to bring mental health support to folks recovering from addiction and self-harm, folks seeking suicide prevention tactics, people living with chronic pain and illness, teachers and students, musicians and artists, and more. There is nothing more important than knowing our mental health tools and stress relief techniques have made a marked difference in someone’s health trajectory.

Who is your role model?

The person who is committed to deep, embodied transformation in service of collective progress and flourishing.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

I wish I understood that I didn’t need all the answers prior to beginning.

What is your CEO superpower?

As CEO, I believe it’s imperative to practice deep discernment and humility when it comes to vision casting, strategic planning, and internal company collaboration. Because of my experience in entertainment, I have long seen through the illusions of power and the enchantment of fame and outward success, which allows me to remain deeply committed to the root mission and not be easily distracted by shiny opportunities along the way. At the heart of Movement Genius, we are for the people. We must remain for the people.

What else do you want people to know?

The Catalyst is a highly valuable program facilitated by thoughtful, qualified, sincere humans who are dedicated to improving the world and empowering the next generation of leaders.

Learn more and connect:

Originally written June 8th, 2022

G&W Team

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