At the heart of Serenbe’s unique experience is Garnie Nygren, a visionary leader with a passion for creating a community that embodies the best of nature and wellness. Driven by a deep belief in the power of hospitality and wellness to transform lives, Garnie has spearheaded the development of a thriving community experience that offers fresh food, 300 days of inspiring arts and cultural programming, a new wellness retreat and much more. Through her tireless efforts, Garnie has created a future of community that is a shining example of what’s possible when we bring together expertise, passion and a deep commitment to our shared well-being.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your journey as an innovator?
Being at the edge of disruption and innovation can be lonely. Lonely in that people will think your ideas are too crazy, the thing you want to do isn’t possible or it’s just not understood. So I laugh a little now whenever I share my ideas with people. One of the things we push ourselves to do always is to get the reaction of “you all are crazy or that isn’t possible” when we share our ideas—because if it’s anything else, then I know we’ve relaxed our vision of success and perhaps we’ve stopped pushing toward what’s next.
How do you personally and professionally define wellness?
Living in Serenbe with my husband, two sons and our daughter allows me to be dedicated to living a well-lived life with everyday wellness at its root. I’m a big believer in knowing what the things are that help each of us stay grounded and healthy, so when tough moments pop up we’re able to move through them. I drink a daily juice, I have three hot power yoga classes on my calendar each week and treat them like meetings I can’t cancel and I get nearly 18,000 steps a day and half of those on the trails in the woods at Serenbe. It gives me energy and keeps stress at bay.
What made you want to dedicate your life to hospitality?
My family has been deep in hospitality, from my grandmother, who owned Mary Mac’s Tea Room, to my dad, who left the hotel business to open his own restaurants. I knew I wanted to go to Cornell’s Hotel School and thought I wanted to travel the world opening Ritz Cartlons, but my Dad was doing something interesting in the woods at home. I was just graduating college and was curious, so I came to see what he was up to and here I am almost 20 years later.