Dina Kaplan of The Path on meditation for the modern mind
Describe your business in a few words?
The Path is meditation for the modern mind.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I had an insight during my first 12-day silent retreat – that so many people could benefit from this — but that it didn’t need to be so hard! I decided to start a company that made meditation fun and easy and something you looked forward to doing!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Previously I was a tech founder – so stressed I didn’t have the confidence to be myself. I lived completely in the “should.” Meditation helped to give me the confidence to be myself, and I wanted to share this with people around the world to help them get better at being themselves — and more relaxed and happy, too!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No I wanted to be a ballet dancer – but my father is a professor at Harvard Business School and always talked up the virtues of being an entrepreneur!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I didn’t think much about marketing when we launched — it was simply what I knew I had to do. I had a list of everyone I knew interested in meditation, and our first products were targeted to them! Then we ended up in a New York Times Style section cover photo shoot during our second month of operations. Once that story was published we had a line around the corner for everything we did, and we were off!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I had a very challenging early co-founder. He was not ethical or honest, and that was so hard. I should have let him go months before I finally did. Now we have strong ethical guidelines at the company, including a no-lying policy. This infuses our culture with honesty and trust. I thrive in this environment!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
We have taught and inspired thousands of people to meditate, and they in turn have a huge impact, spreading mindfulness through their work and personal circles. I can FEEL the impact, and that feels incredible.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I ask questions about how people would solve potential problems. I want to know how someone thinks. And I want to know they will bring their full selves to our work. That means stepping up from a given assignment and bringing your street smarts, your intuition, skills from school and from your entire life. I think our work in the modern environment requires all of us!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We were incredibly impacted, because everything we were doing was in-person! We ended up transforming our Meditation Teacher Training program that had always been in person — online. And you know what? It is so much stronger now. We have people from around the world join us, which is so fun and inspiring, and we actually do a better job building community in our online classes than we ever did in person! This was a huge accomplishment for us and something I am so proud of.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are launching a few on-demand courses soon – we are so excited!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
In 2020 I learned to step into, and through fear, and to do things I never thought I could – like leading a Meditation Teacher Training program that has turned out to be incredible for the students and for us running it as well!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew to keep having fun in life and being playful and not to work all the time — because that makes you lose perspective.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I spend a lot of time in nature. I do yoga and meditate each day. And if I feel anger or frustration rising in me, I look for a visual anchor in my present environment – a tree outside a window or really anything to bring me quickly into the present, safe, happy moment.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means being bold and saying what’s on your mind — but with kindness and compassion. It means dreaming of things that don’t exist and then making them happen. It means lifting others up and being a positive force for the world, but also being compassionate with yourself and others when you make a mistake and realizing we are all humans, simply doing our best!