Tag Archives: Lotus House of Yoga

Pingpong, Popcorn, and Pops of Colors

September 17, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ervin & Smith’s office resembles an aquarium floating above the Aksarben Village street level. But instead of fish, there is a full-service advertising and public relations firm occupying the second floor of 1926 S. 67th St., Suite 250.

Pedestrian passersby can catch a glimpse of ad agency life through bare full-wall windows wrapping along the southeast side of the modern office building. 

Ervin & Smith’s stand-alone popcorn machine beckons from the corner of the second floor overlooking Lotus House of Yoga and the new HDR headquarters. 

The suite’s bare-glass southern wall faces Genesis Health Clubs with a row of pod workstations—partially enclosed, high-backed club chairs in teal and gray upholstery. The east wall of the office space features three house-shaped semi-private spaces with bar tables and chairs.

Heidi Mausbach, president and CEO of Ervin & Smith, says the current design is the result of a collaborative process focused on fostering an environment conducive to teamwork and community engagement.

Mausbach challenged the local architectural office of RDG Planning and Design to build an office space that encourages fun, collaboration, and community involvement. Everyone on the Ervin & Smith team participated in RDG’s research to provide insights on an ideal working environment for a diverse workforce.

“People wanted more private space, more collaborative space, more comfortable space, but many didn’t want an open environment. So we really dug into what’s the problem and heard that a lot of times in an open environment it’s just flat desks all the way across, there is very little privacy,” Mausbach says.

RDG tackled the assignment with a variety of mobile dividers, private offices, and myriad café- style booths. A mix of materials—plywood, metal, and textiles—were incorporated into the designs to serve as visual buffers. Soundproof materials ensure a quiet workplace to the agency’s staff of 42 employees.

When Mausbach was thinking about effective ways to use the new office, she decided to invite clients and representatives of other companies to use Ervin & Smith’s meeting space. For example, employees who serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations can do community impact work in the large conference room. And if more space is needed? The garage door separating the large conference room and multifunctional kitchen can be put up for more people to gather.

Ervin & Smith was named in Best Places to Work by Ad Age in 2014, 2016, and 2017. The Omaha-based advertising and PR firm also earned a Top Company Cultures award from Entrepreneur magazine in 2017, and it received a Business Excellence Award for Leadership from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce in 2018.

“We want to continue to have a culture that people want to work here, so we can recruit and retain the best talent. We put a lot of emphasis on making it a great place to work,” says Mausbach, adding that Ervin & Smith sought to foster career, social, financial, physical, and community well-being among its employees, based on research from Gallup.

“With Gallup, they have five different categories of well-being, so we’re looking at creating perks that align with those,” she says. “This year, we bring in lunch twice a week. Free lunch aside, it brings together coworkers for a little bit of downtime and builds social relationships outside of the work that we are doing.”

And then there is that free snack. “The popcorn machine is used every single day,” Mausbach says. So is the pingpong table in front of it.

One of the team’s associate creative directors, Aaron Christensen, enjoys both. He even keeps a recurring appointment with Don Aguirre, one of the agency’s senior copywriters. These creative staffers bounce ideas off each other during their daily pingpong contests. And they keep score.

“For me, the daily pingpong game serves as a brain break,” Christensen says. “It gets me away from my desk and gets the blood flowing a bit. I haven’t had any amazing creative breakthroughs, but just taking the time to stop thinking about things is an important way to come back and get a new perspective on a problem I’m trying to solve.”

“Playing pingpong is my daily reminder of just how great of a gig I have at Ervin & Smith,” Aguirre says. “It’s just a fun way to give myself a mid-afternoon brain-break.”

“That playful, give-your-brain-a-break type of environment, sometimes that’s where the best ideas come from,” Mausbach says.


Visit ervinandsmith.com for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Let it Flow

January 3, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“Omaha has amazing yoga leaders who’ve been here for decades, but I wanted to bring something a little more contemporary to the table, in line with what I’d practiced on the coasts. (Lotus) is really a big family and a women-run company; all the people on our leadership team and in administration are women.”

-Mary Clare Sweet

The writing is on the wall at Lotus House of Yoga.

Colorful chalk scribblings dance across interior walls at the new Aksarben location, transmitting empowering messages like “Trust your gut,” “The revolution starts with one hungry heart,” “What you can dream, you can achieve,” and “You are getting stronger right now.”

Lotus offers yoga, barre, and cycling classes that will get your body in shape, but even more impressive are the positive effects on mind and spirit. This isn’t merely physical exercise, it’s an exercise in love, strength, and fulfillment. 

houseofyoga1“My ultimate goal is to share love through yoga,” says Lotus founder Mary Clare Sweet. “You leave feeling better because you’re developing an authentic relationship with yourself. When you’re connected to that authenticity—with nature and with your own true nature—you can go out into the world and make great changes.”

Her nickname is “M.C.”—short for Mary Clare and also quite fitting as she’s master of ceremonies for the alternately peaceful, playful party that is Lotus. With an extensive background in dance and a lifelong love of yoga handed down from her mother and business partner, Lotus CEO Anne Sweet, Lincoln native Mary Clare moved to Omaha via NYC to lay the foundation for her Midwestern yoga empire.

“Omaha has amazing yoga leaders who’ve been here for decades, but I wanted to bring something a little more contemporary to the table, in line with what I’d practiced on the coasts,” says Mary Clare.

In 2010, Mary Clare partnered with her uncle, Joseph Duryea, to launch Lotus at 144th Street and Eagle Run Drive—where she taught a demanding 19 classes per week, “just purely driven by my heart and the love,” she says. In 2012, she bought Duryea out and Anne came on as partner/CEO, bringing business experience that Mary Clare says helped take Lotus to the next level with solid strategy and brand communication. That winter, Lotus opened at One Pacific Place and Midtown Crossing. Two Lincoln locations followed in 2013 and 2014, with the downtown studio adding a neighboring Lotus-powered High Vibe Cafe, a fresh juice bar also selling healthy snacks and açai bowls, in 2015. 

houseofyoga2In 2016, Lotus closed its Midtown Crossing studio and opened in Aksarben. With vibrant natural light, a welcoming lobby where UNO students and others happily hang out, studios for barre, yoga, and cycling, and an in-house High Vibe Cafe, the latest location is a proud progression for the Lotus crew. 

“You can see the manifestation of our vision written on the walls here,” says Mary Clare. “It’s exactly how we want it, we wouldn’t change a thing. It’s absolutely filled with love, and we’re so happy to be here.”

While Lotus sees plenty of male clients and has some male teachers, it is largely a female-driven endeavor. 

“[Lotus] is really a big family and a women-run company; all the people on our leadership team and in administration are women,” she says.

In addition to the strong, lady-powered energy and community spirit forged by these humble warriors, clients can also depend on classes filled with sweet beats, rad refrains, and soothing sonic journeys, as carefully crafted playlists strategically correspond songs to chakras. From The Beatles to Beyoncé, tracks span genres including folk, pop, hip-hop, soul, and rock.    

“Music has always been the cornerstone of Lotus. Our mission is to raise the vibration, and music is vibration; so that’s a huge part of it,” says Mary Clare. “We aim to marry the ancient and modern together to create an experience that feels like home, that feels like love, that’s accessible and available to everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Visit lotushouseofyoga.com for more information.

houseofyoga3

Mary Clare Sweet

July 28, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The 8 a.m. hour may be a time when most are driving to work, still half asleep, yearning for a morning cup of Joe. But not Mary Clare Sweet. All smiles and energy, she welcomes her fellow yogis to Lotus House of Yoga. Each new arrival receives a hug or squeal of excitement attached to their name (usually both) as they walk through the door.

According to Sweet, eye contact and great big hugs are the most important yoga pose you will ever do. Bare feet begin to march their way into the studio and mats appear on the hardwood floors. Heat radiates through the air as Sweet takes a moment to adjust the lights and turn on the tunes before taking her place at the front of the room.


“So where is it that you need just a little more determination today?” Sweet asks, walking through the maze of bodies twisted every which way. It is readily evident that determination is something she knows quite well.

Sweet began her own yoga journey as a little girl as taught by her mother, Anne Sweet. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she moved to New York where she met yoga teachers that inspired her to want to devote her efforts to the practice and its way of life. Homesick, she moved back to Nebraska, settling in Omaha, where she taught at Nebraska Dance for five years before opening Lotus House of Yoga.

The studio just celebrated its fourth anniversary and boasts three locations in the Omaha area, one of which is nestled in Midtown Crossing. A fourth studio recently opened in Lincoln.

“Yoga has given me a sense of truly expanded consciousness,” said Sweet.

“Whatever my wildest dreams are, I have no fear in pursuing them. Yoga helps you be who you really are and you get excited about presenting that to the world.”

It is clear that Sweet is doing just that as she shares a passion for love, both inside and outside the studio. After being asked to officiate a friend’s wedding several years ago, she has gone on to perform several ceremonies. Two more are scheduled for later this year.

“I practice love, and love in every capacity,” adds Sweet. “It’s very easy for me to talk about love and to write about love. Officiating at weddings, she says, is “a really wonderful way for people to have a nontraditional ceremony, but also keep it in line with their spiritual beliefs and have some sense of universal spirituality in their ceremony.”

It’s no wonder that Sweet has Omahans getting up at the crack of dawn to make it to her studios. Love and compassion appear to envelope her like a cloud wherever she goes, and it’s felt by all that enter her doors.

“I come back because of how personal they make it,” said Summer Froehoich, a nurse at Methodist Hospital. “I developed relationships instantly with the teachers and other yogis. I’ve gained a real friendship base [and lots of warm hugs] through Lotus.”