Happiness Architect: An interview with Magdalena O...

Happiness Architect: An interview with Magdalena Osmola

By: Sara Alves

Photo: Sara Alves

Neuroscience, sustainable tourism and transformative experiences that lead to pure happiness are the “new wealth”, assures Magdalena Osmola

Magdalena Osmola has a restless mind, always in search for answers to a better, happier and more balanced life. That is why she calls herself “a happiness architect”, since her job consists of “creating transformative and memorable experiences that make for a happier and more satisfied society”.

With dual nationality, she divided her life between Poland and England, before moving to the Algarve in 2016. “If I had to describe my current situation, I would say I am a Polish Londoner in Portugal,” she says. The marketing strategist admits she is passionate about wellbeing and the search for happiness.

“I really breathe and live what I preach. I like to push people to change and think about their behaviour and actions”

Magdalena Osmola

She first gained academic knowledge and professional experience in London. Her entire family works in medicine — “My father is a maxillofacial surgeon, my mother is a psychologist, my grandfather is a gynaecologist and my sister is a dermatologist,” she says — but Osmola opted to follow Linguistics and moved from Poland to the United Kingdom. “Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed sports, leading an active life and traveling. That is probably what later made me pursue a master’s degree in Tourism Management at the University of Westminster and a post-master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism Development at Harvard University.”

Magdalena also developed academic consultancy projects for the universities of Westminster and Bournemouth. For six years, she worked as head of marketing for the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), leading global campaigns to promote Europe as a destination, and collaborated with several initiatives and events to improve digital awareness in the sector.

“I recently finished a course in Mindfulnessbased Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and I want to keep developing my skills in wellbeing, positive psychology and neurosciences. The latter is a very recent field but it can provide a lot of answers about human behaviour and the search for inner happiness,” she explains. Although she did not pursue medicine, she reveals she was always fascinated by psychology, the study of the mind and the science of cognitive processes. “Even in the tourism area, my interest is deeply rooted in marketing and, particularly, in consumer behaviour, that is, the patterns that lead to purchase decisions,” she reveals.

She first came to the Algarve on holiday and immediately fell in love with the region. A spinal injury caused by years of tennis, skiing, snowboarding and work-related stress made her realise that “health is the new wealth”, a motto she follows today.

“I decided it was time to focus more on my wellbeing and ensure a quick recovery. Besides, my partner is from the Algarve,” so the opportunity to move definitively to the region became tempting. “It’s an amazing place to live. It has everything I need to feel good on every level: great climate, nice people, authentic culture, healthy food, unparalleled natural beauty, lots of activities, a slower pace of living, and it’s within easy reach of the rest of Europe and not at all expensive,” she summarises.

In the Algarve, she first worked at the Monchique Resort, where she was tasked with building its identity based on wellbeing along with several experiences. She was also responsible for promoting a new resort at Vale da Ribeira, Portimão. Recently, Magdalena joined the Vale do Lobo team, as the resort’s new marketing director.

“The Algarve has everything it takes to be a hub for wellbeing. It’s set in a stunning natural location with the best air quality in Europe, and it’s perfect for an active lifestyle and sports such as paddle, surfing, sailing, golfing, tennis, cycling and hiking. The Algarve can also be considered a very spiritual destination, with countless workshops and classes, from pranayama meditation, reiki healing, and meditative hikes to breathing sessions. It also has fresh, organic and sustainably sourced produce,” she highlights. “However, I still see great detachments in the way travel companies operate in the region. There has to be a greater understanding of the concept of wellbeing as a much wider term,” she points out.

Magdalena is also a regular speaker at seminars and conferences all over the world, where she talks mainly about future consumer trends, behavioural changes, how customers make judgments and decisions and their buying patterns, as well as the concept of “new luxury”, and where she explores and explains the motto she created: Happy is the new rich, health is the new wealth, kindness is the new cool.

“I am very committed to introducing the concept of ‘new luxury’ based on a strong sense of community, wellbeing, sustainability, passion, contribution and growth. In the last few years, I think I have developed a very unique style and an area of expertise, so to speak. I talk about something I’m passionate about, the widely known [concept of] wellbeing, new consumer trends and the concepts I have developed on new luxury, wherein I explain that status no longer depends on just expensive purchases, but has now become strongly linked to passion, giving back, experience, authenticity, wellbeing, a sense of community and sustainability. The final goal is to learn how brands can truly show their human side and connect with new audiences. Good and emotional marketing is here to stay and it will redefine the travel sector,” Magdalena believes. “More and more governments have begun to consider happiness and wellness rates as the best performance indicators! Times are changing,” she states.

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