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Meet the Co-Founders

Written by Sophie Higgins and John Walters, Co-founders of Questae Collective

Well here we are, we’re just over a year into our Questae journey and what a journey it has been – a super MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has helped us, encouraged us, supported us, and of course to our fabulous clients, we literally love working with you all, seeing you all nourish, thrive, and expand is exactly why we started down this path.

And what is so wonderful is that during this time we have made so many new friends, contacts, clients and colleagues, so we felt that it was high time to say hello, to reintroduce ourselves, and share with you who we are, where we’re from, why we do what we do, and how Questae came about…what’s the story (morning glory)?

Hi I’m Sophie, co-founder of Questae Collective. My mental health journey, like so many people’s, started at a very young age, when certain issues went unacknowledged and unaddressed, and which ultimately led to OCD tendencies, obsessive behaviours, anxiety, and a general sensation of not fitting in – I didn’t realise the impact of this however until a lot later on down the line.

After studying Law, I got a job at a management consultancy in the City. While things felt manageable day-to-day, what I hadn’t noticed was that I was slowly becoming addicted to exercise. Then work got more stressful, a relationship ended, and suddenly, I was in a cycle of manic exercise, food restriction, binging, and purging. I felt completely stuck. Eventually, I was referred by the GP to the King’s College Hospital Eating Disorder Unit and underwent two years of outpatient treatment. It wasn’t easy – there were many relapses, doubts, fears, re-learnings and anxieties, but step by step, little by little, not only did I begin to enjoy food again, but as I re-connected with myself on a deeper level, I re-evaluated every aspect of my life.

I soon quit my job to retrain as a nutritional therapist, and after setting up my own practice, decided to swap the City for the beautiful seaside town of Margate. I knew that I wanted to work with, educate and inspire people who had experienced similar things as I had while working in the corporate sector.

When I met John, another magical Margate resident, everything clicked – we realised we were striving for the same bigger picture. Questae Collective was born. My mental health journey is far from complete and probably never will be – but for the first time in my life I feel truly happy, because I have the resources, tools, trust, desire, and love to keep growing and expanding, and continuing this exciting, joyful, and inspirational journey.

Hi I’m John, co-founder of Questae Collective. My mental health journey started many years ago, but I always managed to paper over the cracks. After serving in the Army, I built a career in the world of office design and furnishings, working with many of the field’s most forward-thinking, respected creative visionaries along the way.

After the very difficult breakdown of my first marriage left me with no contact with my three children, my mental health suffered, and I left my home city of Manchester. I relocated to Margate, remarried, and after seven rounds of IVF, was blessed with twins. I also started to rebuild my relationships with my older children.

There were more challenges in store, however. In autumn 2014, I became ill, and after numerous tests, was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, the treatment was successful, and I was given the all clear in June 2015, but my mental health suffered, and I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

After the unexpected breakdown of my second marriage, I entered a very dark headspace. I threw myself into work and immersed myself in my kids, but on the weekends where I was alone, it was awful, and I coped by drinking. One weekend, I found myself sitting on the edge of the cliff at the end of my road. I don’t think I was contemplating jumping, but I suddenly had a shock of adrenalin, and told myself this was it, things had to change. It was in this compelling moment that I became interested in life – real life. I was determined to create a stronger version of myself.

When I met Sophie, we discovered that we shared this aspiration to live the best life that we could. Questae Collective was founded on these shared values – wellness, wellbeing, and mental health in the workplace.

Again we cannot thank everyone enough for all of the kindness, compassion, and support over the past year, it has been invaluable, and we would not be here without it. We are truly blessed.

We can’t wait to continue this journey with you all, and to meet more of you in person, to meet more wonderful people, colleagues, clients, and organisations, and to continue to build and expand beautiful, positive, and thriving relationships – wonderfully exciting times ahead! And on that note, please feel free to say hi, we’d absolutely love to hear from you!

Sophie & John

xx

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