Women are best when they cooperate. I strongly believe that the menopause space needs a thriving eco-system of brands that provide choice. Which is why I am particularly keen to shine a spotlight on other supplement brands in the menopause space too. Jeanne Chung is the founder of MIGHTY Menopause®, a supplement brand in the US that shares our vision.. Together, as businesses we can do so much more.. Together, with you, we can change ‘the change’.
I hope you enjoy this read as much as I enjoyed my conversation with Jeanne.
With love, Rebekah
First, tell us a little bit about you and the founding of MIGHTY Menopause®. What motivated you to start the business? What principles drive its evolution?
I am part problem-solving nerd ~ ex banker / ex consultant, engineer / MBA. And hippie / serial wellness entrepreneur ~ I’ve practiced and taught yoga for two decades, built a chain of yoga studios serving over nearly a million students, built a globally competitive teacher training company and personally trained hundreds from around the world. I also founded and owned a boutique wellness hotel in Thailand at the forefront of detox and fasting. That all was so fun. It really turned me on to working directly with people on their growth as human beings. I see trends early and seize the opportunity to create products, brands and businesses that I’m passionate about.
Right now MIGHTY comprises two brands. There’s one primary story behind MIGHTY Menopause®. And two stories behind MIGHTY elevating women as they age®.
MIGHTY Menopause® and its flagship supplement, Formula 4|5, were the direct result of my personal experience with perimenopause. Total and utter crap. The most basic info was difficult to find, gynecologists were useless, and I found a natural remedy that sorted me out within two weeks (Chasteberry) and I decided that all women need to know about it! And so, I designed my own supplements. Through that I realised how badly we need to modernise menopause. And MIGHTY Menopause® was born.
At the same time, I’d come to realise that it’s so much more than menopause. MIGHTY exists to get women *through* menopause so that they can be radiant and vital elder women *after* menopause. Hence, MIGHTY elevating women as they age®. This vision was born from the stark opposition of two encounters. First, a girlfriend of mine who is a similar age, So Cal (southern California) girl, cool, techie, burner (goes to Burning Man) and reiki master, at the mention of the word “menopause” immediately replied with, “Oh, hell nooo!! I am SO not ready to deal with my aging” (insert scream emoji here). It was a full body “no”. And a fast “no”. In that, I heard the deep and persistent programming that old/elder women are irrelevant in our youth-obsessed western society.
The second is more of an amalgam of encounters;
Every single woman I’ve met well past menopause (late 60s, 70s, 80s) has been radiant, vital, and happy. Their perspective was sort of like, “Darling, it’s SO great over here! Menopause? It was horrible / I can’t remember / Who cares about it now?” said with a beautiful contented smile. It was so cool to see, again and again.
And then I knew it. I saw it. What the world needs is two things. Modernised menopause and a world full of radiant, vital and happy elder women. That’s why I have two trademarks: MIGHTY Menopause® and MIGHTY elevating women as they age®. Together, we get a world full of badass elder women. That will change the world for the better!
How has your own peri/menopause transition influenced your outlook towards work and life?
For me, it’s had a few clear impacts. First is that this is now my work, my passion. I feel super energised by it not just about building a business but driving real change for women and menopause, for women and ageing, for women and healthcare and wellbeing overall.
How do you define success for your business and yourself individually?
For the business, I maintain common metrics of success – revenues, growth, customer retention, profitability. Definitely. I also measure success by the positive feedback from the women who have used Formula 4|5 who have demonstrable and meaningful symptom relief. One customer shared that she had not slept through the night for two years and after using Formula 4|5, she finally started to sleep. How marvelous is that? To me that’s success.
For myself individually, I can be really tough on myself (ask my girlfriends!) and always striving for more and more. An example is how “hard” I feel like I am working. It’s kinda crazy. I am learning to chill out about that;
I am learning to look at the small wins and to take a step back for some perspective to appreciate the many things I have indeed achieved. So, success is wrapped up in the common measures of working hard but is opening up to other aspects as well.
For example, I am now considering it personal success when I can clearly shift out of work mode, feel satisfied with that I’ve done and show up fully for my partner/boyfriend and have fun/connect/explore all nooks and crannies of non-work/real life. That feels like I'm winning at life.
Has your definition of success changed over time as an entrepreneur and individual?
When I was a tech investment banker, I got pretty fixated on how large my annual bonus was. That to me was success – big money and all the things I could spend on. There were no real people involved with my work (unlike in yoga where I literally could have my hands on people’s bodies!).
Don’t get me wrong. I still love to have all the nice things but I see them more as enjoyment, pleasure and beauty than an outward marker of success.
After that, I owned, operated many businesses for many years and was in the thick of things. These businesses were service so there always were people around. And it gave me tremendous satisfaction to see how people really loved yoga classes, the trainings and the detox programs at the hotel. This is a kind of success to me – seeing the real impact my vision had on actual humans. Success moved from money to a sense of satisfaction that my work has real impact on real people’s lives.
MIGHTY exists in the “startup world” of today and I carry the idea of those metrics of success – high growth, high visibility etc. The work-from-home solo founder thing is so different from my life as wellness entrepreneur owner/operator. And I don’t have direct contact with customers which is also different.
Something that stayed the same from yoga/wellness to MIGHTY is that I am deeply passionate about what I am doing so that my individual sense of success is deeply tied to the successes of my businesses.
What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?
I think there always is ambition no matter the age. I think what we strive for changes. In our twenties, we are on a high-octane expansion – new job, new people in our lives, the increasing ability to make important choices for ourselves. In our 30s, there’s a different type of pursuit as we feel more grounded in ourselves and more selective.
I am finding a lot of ambition in my 50s, e.g., my vision to change the world through the badassery elder women, which isn’t the norm but is increasingly common!
I think the focus of the ambition shifts – more self-centered when we are younger and then more outward facing “let’s change the world” as we get older
What are your aspirations for your business over the next 24 months?
I want to reach as many women as possible who are dealing with the symptoms of early perimenopause, first and foremost. I am going to shoot for 500k women in 2 years. Why not?
For that, I’ll also have to raise money so add that to the list.
Also, I want to drive real change for women’s health through hormone level data. This is a bit under wraps right now but what I will share is that MIGHTY will also be data-driven wellness platform.
What do you wish your younger self had known about:
Life – the path is circuitous – it will be more rich, complex, expansive, beautiful and tragic than you can possibly imagine now – let it all come and you will be ok.
Love – all the cliches are true. All of them. Because they just are. And, yes, you are worthy of and will find great love.
Health – yoga. I wish I came across yoga when I was younger. I wish I knew more about holistic healing when my mother was fighting cancer.
Work – while you think your only options are corporate life, they are not. You are creative, savvy, and ambitious. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
What would be your key advice to women transitioning through menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds?
Will try to be succinct here!
Educate yourself with info from different sources – no single source knows it all. Pay attention to your body (track your periods once they start getting wonky in your 40s) and take it seriously. And talk about it with your girlfriends enough that your conversations rise above socio-normative tropes of menopause being shit, symptoms are awful, you’ll go crazy. We are all better than that and our jobs as girlfriends are to uplift each other – through it all.
My practical advice is to do a detox, do rigorous yoga classes and start weight training.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?
Building off the last questions, this is my last piece of advice: know you will get through this. It may not be pretty. It may not be easy. But you will get to the other side. Own your entire process. And when you get to the other side, your radiant and vital badassery will be waiting for you.
I know that I am in full pursuit of being badass at 80 and selfishly, I want badass girlfriends!
Finally, we all know that stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms and we’re all living with a constant underlying anxiety - from the pandemic, from the disproportionate impact it has had on women, from political upheaval…from unprecedented job insecurity. What have you done to better support yourself in the last 16 months? What have you learned. And what will you carry with you as the world once again shape shifts?
I love this question!
To support myself:
- Dancing. Friday night dance parties with an actual disco ball (!) where I got dressed up and “went to the club”, i.e., my living room. These were my favourite ways to shift the energy, de-stress and have fun with my boyfriend. They were like medicine to me.
- Ocean, space, stars. I live in NYC and it was kinda nuts here during lockdown (no surprise there!). We were able to go out east to the Hamptons and be by the ocean. And savouring the stars at night because there is so much less light pollution. I can stargaze all night long.
- Getting dressed up to “go to work” – I love doing this. We have another flat on our floor that we use as our office. So I get made up and dressed (sometimes even in heels) and walk 25 feet to our office and “go to work”. It feels SO good. And unquestionably boosts my productivity.
Also, having a dog was a lifesaver, too.
What have I learned? I’ve learned the importance of “shaking things up” – body, mindset, environment. I’ve learned that I absolutely need alone time / me time. I’ve learned the difference between wanting to be out and about to “see and be seen” vs going out to be energized and for my own pleasure, i.e., the sweetness of being out and about as an experience for myself.
What will carry me forward out of COVID and into this new normal? The sense that all things, even things that are contradictory, are OK … to slow down and yet be ambitious about growing MIGHTY and modernising menopause. To be energised by the city and also happy outside of it. Etc etc.
Also, I am actively reaching out to my network to have actual conversations that aren’t entirely about work but to share what we are prioritising, what we are seeing, what we are excited about. I want to balance out the dearth of connections during COVID with intentional connections with the folks that I know. I am really craving that.
I also will carry forward the certainty that I am with the right guy!
Thank you Jeanne. To find out more about MIGHTY Menopause®, find them on instagram HERE. You can also listen to Jeanne reflecting on her menopause journey and her ambition as an entrepreneur in her recent podcast interview on Moss & Friends HERE.