Your Name: Bernadette Doran

Business Name: Equilibrium Energy + Education, a research based energy medicine wellness center

Type of Business: Health & Beauty

Business Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States


Reason for starting
To help accelerate the understanding and embracing of energy medicine therapies, share research that quantifies and documents their specific effects, and offer affordable treatments and classes. Equilibrium now has more than 4,200 clients and students and offers an exclusive range of research-based energy therapies, including the Bengston Energy Healing Method, Holographic Memory Resolution (HMR), Colorpuncture and Reiki, the fastest-growing complementary therapy in America. Based in Chicago, Equilibrium also offers classes and certification training workshops with internationally renowned teachers and authors, and draws students from all over North America. We are dedicated to helping everyone understand how easy, practical and immediately applicable these new therapies are, and discover how easy it can be to relax, revitalize and reach new levels of well-being.

How do you define success?
The cards, letters and emails we get every day from our clients and students define success for me. A recent sampling: “I’m so glad I’ve discovered Reiki and the other classes at Equilibrium, and experience the power of energy healing. What a gift! — Noreen,” “I’m very humbled by how Reiki changed my medical practice as a physician. I see things differently, and my approach with patients is completely changed. — Dr. Anna,” “I think Reiki is the best thing that every happened to me. We are so lucky to have you and Equilibrium. — Tina,” and “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for my HMR session. The darkness, hopelessness and anxiety that had been on me for the last month or so are GONE! There are miracles on earth every day, you are the bearer of some of them. — Lin.”

Biggest Success
This year, we won first place in the 2012 Business Plan Competition co-sponsored by Citibank and the Illinois Small Business Development Center. We are thrilled with this award, because we feel it validates research-based energy medicine as a viable business innovation and a path to the future of healthcare as well as our business strategy. Perhaps our greatest “endurance” success was opening three months before the global economic collapse (who knew?!), growing slowly but steadily during America’s worst four-year recession, and finally turning a profit after four and a half years.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Doing whatever it took to not only keep going but also keep growing during the recession. Because this is a vision and a mission, not just a business, it took tremendous personal sacrifice, including virtually every penny I owned, a huge amount of credit card debt, and many, many personal lifestyle adjustments. But in the darkest hours of the most difficult days, I believed in my purpose, and refused to give up. I wish I had understood that banks really do give you money only when you already have money. Because the economy was strong when we opened, I believed we would ramp up quickly — but then the recession hit. If I could go back in time, I would get a sizable bank loan when I had assets to qualify — because when I needed one, I was too far in debt to get one. It is SO important to have substantial start-up funds, and I had no idea how much more I needed.

Who is your most important role model?
My role models are those who passionately believe in a new idea that could create a better future, invite the world to evolve, and never give up hope in accomplishing their mission. Nicolas Copernicus, Joan of Arc, Carl Jung, Mahatma Gandhi, Madame Curie, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawking are a few that top the list.