Sporting couple brings elite performance to workplace

Co-founded by Sligo native Janine van Someren, The Wellness Advantage combines advanced sports monitoring technology with corporate wellbeing coaching.

A husband-and-wife team who have worked with high-performance athletes, including tennis stars competing at Wimbledon and the Olympics have started a new tech business in Ireland.

The Wellbeing Advantage is led by Janine van Someren PhD, a native of Sligo, and Ken van Someren PhD, who have over 40 years of scientific research, coaching and corporate leadership experience between them. 

“We are passionate about applying our learnings from high-performance sport, such as the value of marginal gains, importance of sustainable change and adapting behavioural change strategies for the corporate world”

They have extensive expertise in high-performance sports science and behavioural change strategies and are about to launch their advanced sports monitoring technology and analysis solution onto the Irish market.

Energising leaders

The Wellbeing Advantage combines their expertise with advanced sports monitoring technology to bring accurate physiological measurements to wellbeing coaching for corporate clients in Ireland.

They initially set up The Wellbeing Advantage in the UK in March 2020. The UK has been their main market since then, with clients including Unilever, Nasdaq and Stryker.

Having relocated to Sligo with their young family during the Covid pandemic, they are now launching their corporate offering – called ‘Energising Leaders’ – in Ireland.

The company’s ‘Energising Leaders’ programme provides clients with Firstbeat Life, a wearable technology that monitors heart rate variability and features 3D motion tracking for bespoke lifestyle assessments with a focus on energy, stress, recovery, and resilience. The data, which can be accessed using a Firstbeat App, is then analysed, interpreted and shared with clients through personal wellbeing coaching sessions to address their specific needs and goals. 

Firstbeat is a leading platform for monitoring performance and recovery among elite athletes worldwide, helping them optimise lifestyle and achieve peak performance. The Wellbeing Advantage is now bringing that technology used by elite athletes to the workplace. It is the first corporate wellbeing company to use the technology in Ireland.

“We are passionate about applying our learnings from high-performance sport, such as the value of marginal gains, importance of sustainable change and adapting behavioural change strategies for the corporate world,” Dr Janine van Someren said.

“Introducing wearable technology with Firstbeat allows us to bring physiological facts to our wellbeing offer. This provides clients with an accurate x-ray of their day whereby we measure the balance between stress and recovery for better health and improved performance. By understanding client wellness status we can make evidence-based lifestyle decisions for a more sustained, impactful service.” 

Clients get to see how their workday and lifestyle impact on their energy and resilience, learning how to modify their lifestyle behaviours, including stress management, sleep, and recovery, for a better-balanced life, greater energy and performance at work. Typically clients engage in a three to six-month programme of one-to-one coaching to ensure that behavioural changes are sustainable and having the desired effect. 

As well as the ‘Energising Leaders’ programme, the company provides wellbeing support in the workplace for employers who want to support their staff and empower stressed and overwhelmed employees to increase their health, happiness and productivity through talks, workshops, customised programmes, transformational coaching and performance profiling to build energy and resilience. 

“Working with Janine and Ken has been a truly energising experience! From the start I’ve felt like they have really gotten ‘under the skin’ of what we [Unilever] are trying to achieve,” said Sarah Mayes, R&D Lead, Unilever UK.

“They are clearly extremely knowledgeable in their field with a huge amount of experience which they condense into clear, simple, actionable strategies to cultivate behaviours to improve wellbeing and high-performance behaviours. Critical for an R&D audience in particular, these strategies are evidence based, with clear data to support presented in an engaging style.”

Main image at top: Janine van Someren PhD and Ken van Someren, PhD

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