Get to Know Laura Wingate, Founder & CEO of Meno Plan

Meet Laura Wingate, the visionary behind Meno Plan – a groundbreaking platform revolutionising menopause support for businesses. In a world where menopause is often whispered about rather than openly discussed, Laura is spearheading a movement to destigmatise this transformative stage of life. As the Founder and CEO of Meno Plan, she has created a vibrant community where women find not only resources but also a safe space to share experiences and gain valuable insights. With tailored menopause training programs co-created with medical, mental health and employment law experts, Meno Plan also tackles the issues menopausal people face in the workplace.

In this exclusive ‘MG Meets’ interview, Laura reveals the inspiration behind Meno Plan, her strategies for empowering women through menopause, and her vision for the future of women’s wellness! Plus, Laura’s got some golden nuggets of advice for women on their menopause journey and a sneak peek into what’s next for her groundbreaking service…

Can you share the story behind the creation of Meno Plan and what inspired you to start this project? 

I created Meno Plan after seeing two dear friends struggle with perimenopause and the lack of support they got. It changed and grew when we heard from our members again and again about the issues they were facing in the workplace, so we worked with our wonderful GP and menopause specialist partners, our counsellors and lawyers to create a suite of workplace training and support solutions to help redress the balance. 

How do you envision Meno Plan making a difference in the lives of women navigating menopause?

We have everything a menopausal woman needs in one place. We have workplace initiatives (like e-learning, toolkits, menopause cafes, meno walks and in-person training) that dovetail beautifully with our online community where women can find, not only support from other women going through it, but also reliable information, nutritional advice, recipes, mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, events and workshops.

Menopause is often seen as a taboo subject. How do you break down barriers and create a safe space for women to openly discuss their experiences within the Meno Plan community?

It is becoming less and less of a silent subject, but we still have a lot of work to do! The first step in creating a space for conversations is always raising awareness and education. People are more likely to raise it as an issue if they know that their organisation has menopause on their radar and that they are receptive to the conversation.

What advice would you give to women who are hesitant to seek support or information about menopause?

There is so much information out there that we are often in danger of drowning in information but starving for knowledge. 

There are all sorts of people out there flogging miracle cures, supplements, potions and lotions that will apparently make symptoms vanish. The truth is that there is no silver bullet.  

A drop in Oestrogen causes so many changes in the body that there is no one thing that will “cure” symptoms. The key is to reach out to organisations that are offering reliable, clinically approved information and find what’s right for you.   

Meno Plan, obviously is a place that people can turn to for information, support and community, but there are other organisations like NHS, and

Can you share some key strategies or tools offered by Meno Plan to help women navigate menopause with confidence and ease?

The first thing would be to contact your GP if you are struggling – they really are the first line of defence!  

Whatever your GP recommends, you will still need to look at what you eat and how much you move as well. We know that during menopause you are likely to be knackered and aching, but it is crucial to get moving a bit. We are not talking about going full on beast mode here, but some gentle exercise, especially in the fresh air will do wonders. 

You can join one of our meno walks, where you can get out into the fresh air with other menopausal women and walk and talk. We also have a series of meno friendly recipes on our website, which make it super easy to eat the right balance of nutrients as it’s different from what we would have needed pre perimenopause. 

How does Meno Plan differentiate itself from other resources available for menopausal women, and what unique benefits does it offer?

We really are a one stop shop for everything you will need in terms of advice and support. We have you covered for community (because menopause can be bloody lonely), diet, exercise, medical insights and mental health assistance. Menopause is hard enough dealing with fatigue, brain fog, hot flushes, aches and pains and anxiety, just having the brain space to know what to do is hard.  

We take the brain ache out of it for you and put everything in one lovely, easy to find bundle!

What advice do you have for women who may be feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about the changes they’re experiencing during menopause?

Menopause is overwhelming and can be a scary place. Part of the problem is that people may not realise that they are going through it. I know that many women think they are developing arthritis and dementia when they are staring down the barrel of brain fog and aching joints. Awareness and education, again, are the best remedy here. The more people know about it, the more likely someone that is struggling with symptoms is going to join the dots quicker and get some help. 

Once you have identified it as perimenopause (and it’s important to note here that you do need to rule out any lurking nasties as well, as other ailments are still available to middle aged women!), the path becomes a bit clearer and options open up.  

First thing I would suggest would be to join a community group. Obviously Meno Plan is here, but really any group that resonates with you. Find your “tribe”. There are loads of them out there. Knowing that other people are going through a similar thing can be like a weight lifted. There is help and support, you just need to reach out. 

Just beware of the facebook groups that advocate the latest trends in supplements or purport to give advice on HRT. Only a GP or qualified doctor can give that level of advice. Even at Meno Plan, all the medical bits are approved by our GPs. It’s a subject that is too complicated and important to leave to Dr Google and nurse facebook!

Balancing work, family, and personal well-being can be especially challenging during menopause. What advice do you have for women who are trying to prioritise self-care while juggling multiple responsibilities?

Ah, this is the one that women struggle with throughout their lives, don’t they? Being a woman can be tough as we often have the pressures of caring for kids whilst caring for ailing parents, whilst maintaining a household, whilst holding down a full time job etc. And then there is the menopause which is a real kick in the teeth at an already tough time in life. It’s a lot. 

One of the best pieces of advice I have on this is to be a tiny bit selfish. Make time and put it in your diary. Maybe an hour on Sunday morning, or 15 minutes every morning that is your time. Make it the most important appointment you have in your calendar. Use that time to practice some mindfulness, or go for a walk. Anything that is just for you. Nobody else… Just YOU!

And if you don’t think you have the time, take a quick look at the screen time stats on your phone and maybe look at how much time you spend on that bad boy! You probably spend waaaaaay longer there than you think you do. What’s more important, you, or instagram? Put the phone down for 15 minutes and get some headspace. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

What are some common misconceptions about menopause that you aim to dispel through your work with Meno Plan?

The biggest one is that it is for women over 50 and it has no relevance to anybody else. It drives me mad. I call bullshit on that one for two reasons: 

  1. It’s not just an age thing. Perimenopause (where most symptoms start) generally hits from the early 40’s and by 45 most women are in it. This can last for up to 15 years, with the average being 7 years. Also 1 in 100 women hit full menopause before they are 40 and 1 in 1000 women hit before they are 30.  So it’s not just something you need to think about when you hit 50. Chances are you will have been dealing with perimenopause for a while by then anyway.
  2. 50% of the population will go through menopause and the other 50% will be impacted by it when their wife, mother, friend or colleague goes through it. So we need to stop acting like it’s a “woman’s problem”.

Can you share a success story or impactful moment from your work with Meno Plan that highlights the positive impact it’s had on women’s lives?

The poor owner of a firm of architects (that I won’t name) told me on our initial outreach call that he didn’t have women who “menstruate” in his firm. Once I had set him straight on that one, we proceeded to implement some clearly much needed training. He then discovered that he had three employees that were in the midsts of perimenopause. The poor guy was so shocked and his menopausal employees were incredibly grateful! He had no idea what was happening in his own firm and now he is an incredible advocate for awareness and training. 

How do you see Meno Plan evolving, and what new initiatives or features can we expect from the platform in the future?

Oh we have so many ideas and plans and things we want to do! 

In the short term, we are likely to be doing more in person stuff and getting together. We keep hearing that people are lonely and we know that in person interactions and friendships pack a bigger emotional punch than online ones, so we are looking to expand the Menowalk model to be something that anyone can do. 

We are also expanding our workplace offerings to cover mental health during the menopause with our counselling partners, and creating some more nutrition and fitness content with our training partners. 

Besides your work, what are some hobbies or interests that you’re truly passionate about?

Exploring my new homeland with my husband and son. We live in Monaco so are fortunate to be close to some stunning coastal walks (and restaurants!) and also the mountains. Two very different and beautiful experiences. 

I also love reading. My mother was an avid reader and would devour two books a week and, whilst I’m not at her Olympian levels, I do read a lot and my indulgence is a cup of tea, a biscuit and a book. Very rock ‘n’ roll, eh?!

What’s one travel destination on your bucket list that’s not typically found in travel guides, and what intrigues you about it?

Well it’s probably on lots of peoples list, but Japan is a fascinating place to me. It is so different from my world at the moment in terms of language, culture, history, food, everything! I would love to visit one day. 

Let’s explore your creative side. Do you have any hidden talents or artistic pursuits that you enjoy, and how might they intersect with your work on endings?

I wouldn’t call it a talent, but I do sketch a lot. I just inherited my father’s watercolour paints and brushes. He was a fabulous painter, so I am planning on attempting that at some point. 

What’s a surprising or unusual fact about you that people might not expect, something that doesn’t typically come up in your professional bio or interviews?

I used to run a film location catering company and I have met pretty much every A-list movie star you could mention! Oh, and I once nearly ran over Daniel Craig when the stunt people accidentally blew up a sound stage at Pinewood and I was looking at what the bang was instead of where I was driving and nearly took him out! He was on crutches at the time as well! Sorry Daniel!

We often hear about your professional achievements, but can you share a personal achievement or moment in your life that you’re particularly proud of?

We took the risk and moved to Monaco, despite it being terrifyingly expensive! It’s worth it so far!

Outside of your professional roles, what’s something you’ve always wanted to learn or try but haven’t had the opportunity to explore yet?

I would love to learn the piano. I have tried a couple of times, but I was crap so gave up swiftly. To be able to sit at a piano and just play for the joy of it would be magical. I am always super impressed by people that can do that! 

If you could have a one-hour conversation with any fictional character, who would it be, and what burning question would you ask them?

Jay Gatsby from the Great Gatsby. I would ask him how he really got his money and why he didn’t ask Daisy to marry him before he was deployed overseas. 

What was your dream job as a child? 

I wanted to own a riding stable. I love horses.

What is your life motto?

Life is short. Crack on! 

What’s a memorable visual from your childhood or past that continues to hold significance in your life today?

The Findon Valley on the South Downs – the sweep of the valley as you drive round the corner always takes my breath away. It reminds me of going to see my grandparents every Sunday when I was little. That feeling of peace and safety and completeness I had on those drives down to Rustington is something I strive to create for my son. 

If you had to sum up your life philosophy or a guiding principle in just one sentence, what would it be?

Never give up because life has a funny way of kicking you in the spuds just before it hands you a win!

Finally, if you were to write a personal letter to your younger self, what advice or words of wisdom would you offer?

None of it really matters anyway, so just do you and it will all work out ok. Oh, and don’t waste so much money on utter crap!

Did you know? You can connect with Laura on LinkedIn and follow Meno Plan for the latest news! Also, please click here for more information on the services they provide, oh and don’t forget to give them a follow on Instagram

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