Melissa Cupples — General Manager,
Product & Strategy

For the last 15 years, I've worked in every type of organisation you could imagine – start-ups, corporates, government, consulting firms and agencies and now not for profit. The common thread has always been my focus on technology and product – for as long as I can remember I've been enthralled by technology but at the same time I'm equally fascinated by human behaviour and why we behave the way we do. I studied technology and psychology at university which people at the time used to tell me was a really strange combination. But an inter-disciplinary understanding is more important than ever these days thanks to how ubiquitous and integrated technology is in our lives. 

The best thing about working at Smiling Mind…

Definitely hearing from our customers. We hear so many amazing stories from people from all walks of life who tell us about how our products have changed their lives. It makes all the work worthwhile. And most recently, I've spent a lot of time with educators co-designing our next generation products. There are a lot of educators who share a serious concern around their student's wellbeing at the moment. They are at the coal face and can see that many young people are not thriving. When we come together to try and address this as part of our co-design and pilot programs, it's clear how important it is for us to be working closely together to address these challenges.  

The biggest challenge in my role:

I think people see the Smiling Mind brand, and because of our massive reach think we're a huge team with huge budgets. The reality is that our team can sit around two tables in our little office in Collingwood, and through the dedication of our amazing team, make most things happen on the smell of an oily rag. It's proof in the creativity of constraints, but at the same time I often think we could be delivering so much more impact with more resources. We have so many ideas, so it is an ongoing challenge trying to work out how and when to make them happen!

On meditation:

The power to change the world. Many people look at meditation as a way to manage stress in their lives but this is really only the tip of the iceberg. Meditation can play such an important role in the development of critical skills that help us to live a fulfilled life – self-awareness, emotion regulation, the ability to truly be present with friends and loved ones, and the ability to respond and not react in situations. Imagine if every child could grow up with the opportunity to learn to cultivate these skills.

My favourite inspirational quote:

“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress"
— Joseph Joubert

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