Interview with Ri Ferrier, founder of The Heart Movement

Find out what inspired Ri Ferrier to launch The Heart Movement, a non-profit organisation, dedicated to supporting people to live with more balance, connection and emotional resilience.  

What’s your career background?                 

I am driven by making a difference in the world and have a driving need to leave a good legacy behind for the next generations. I love innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking and much of my career has been around being a catalyst for positive change. I studied entrepreneurialism at university then went on to a project management type role in the corporate world.

Whilst raising my two boys I was a self-employed freelance business consultant, working with lots of great ethical companies.  For the last two years, I have the privilege of being the MD for The Heart Movement – a non-profit with a great vision to bring about a massive difference to people’s lives across the UK.

Where did the idea for your business come from?  

The business was formed in July 2019 and I joined a few months later. The driving force of all of us in the team is to ensure that wellbeing is not a luxury and is accessible to people from all walks of life. The Heart Bus – our traveling, mobile teaching studio – is the long held dream or radical vision to bring, no-strings-attached, free wellbeing resources to cities and communities across the UK.

How did you move from idea to actual business? 

Moving from idea to actual business has been an exciting path. It has involved looking at the benefits of different types of vehicles (we considered a double decker for a while), many visits to Shred & Butta who have done the conversion for us, many project meetings to discuss logistics of what to offer from the Heart Bus, an incredible amount of networking to find communities for the bus to visit and copious amounts of brainstorming.  

It culminated last week in our first dry run day, which was just amazing! People’s responses to the Heart Bus on the street was worth every hour we’ve put into this project!

What’s your USP? 

The fact that we are bringing mindfulness teachings and listening spaces direct to the heart of communities that need it most for free is our USP. The Heart Bus will be a platform for the voices of different communities, a channel to gather the voices of the streets and all the stories that need to be heard. In this, we are unique.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome? 

The pandemic has been a huge obstacle for us in the last year, as it has for many organisations. We’ve had to bring this project together with a team working completely remotely. With many companies working from home, it has been difficult at times to get the right number for the right person to talk to.  

Our mindfulness offerings have had to be taken online and we’ve had to learn the best platforms for making that happen – which culminated in us launching our first App in November 2020. This was a steep learning curve, to say the least!

And your proudest moment so far?  

That would definitely be taking The Heart Bus on the road for the first time! The vision felt very real and the impact that it is going to bring on many people’s lives was tangible – with much excitement and interest from the public.

Why is work so important to you? 

I wouldn’t say work is important to me – I would say making a positive impact on people is important to me and I am prepared to put much of my energy into that dream. Using all the skills I have (and learning new ones along the way) brings me much joy but when I am working on something that is in line with my raison d’etre it is sublime!

Who inspires you? 

Anyone who has been through adversity and come out the other side inspires me. I love to see the strength of the human spirit shine through in the face of death, loss and all manner of tragic life events. This gives me hope that out of the ashes, the phoenix will rise again. I am also inspired by people who are authentic and show their vulnerability. So not surprisingly on my list of inspiring people are Brene Brown, Esther Perel and the Dalai Lama.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you do?

I would say be clear what your values and beliefs are – know what you are aiming for and surround yourself with the people who will help you to make it happen. Great things are never accomplished as a solitary exercise – the power of connection and teamwork cannot be measured.

Find out more about The Heart Movement.