Joshua Haynes on Creating Masawa, The World’s Only Mental Wellness Impact Fund - Kathy Varol
Joshua Haynes
April 28, 2021   |   Episode #: 002

Joshua Haynes on Creating Masawa, The World’s Only Mental Wellness Impact Fund

Show Notes:

In this episode, I am so excited to speak with Joshua Haynes, a Founder + Managing Partner at Masawa, the mental wellness impact fund. After a long journey learning to approach his own issues of depression, anxiety, and addiction, Joshua founded Masawa to help address mental illness, a silent epidemic that is the leading cause of disability worldwide and costs, in the EU alone, €600 billion a year.

I met Joshua 20 years ago in the Peace Corps. He’s one of those friends that I’ve been continuously impressed by. When I saw he was starting Masawa, I was so excited that I reached out to see if I could help, and Joshua graciously let me support as a strategic adviser from the beginning of this journey. I’m so excited for this discussion to share Masawa, their mission, and what makes them so unique in the investment space.

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In this episode Joshua and I discuss:

  • The early life experiences that sparked Joshua’s passion for social impact.
  • The next evolution of venture capital
  • The down-side of the hustle-mindset
  • The gaps in the traditional investment model that can have a significant impact on ROI
  • The secret to creating systemic change that we learned in preschool
  • An unexpected blessing from COVID

Takeaways from this episode:

  • An organization’s health hinges on its culture. The mental health of employees, when aggregated, is the mental health of the organization. It shapes the culture and tone of the organization. Senior leaders have an out-weighted influence on culture, which means founders’ and CEO’s mental health can set the tone for an organization in a positive way, or in a toxic way.
  • The importance of continuing to normalize the cultural conversation around mental health. In the workplace, we can read the best books and talk about psychological safety all we want. But the real shift happens through implementation. Talking openly and being vulnerable about who we are as leaders and founders. Setting an example for the normalized change we’re trying to drive.
  • Our most important long-term asset is mental health, and mental wellness is currently one of the greatest global challenges. It affects every country, it affects every community. Depression alone is the number one cause of disability. Not even looking at the human perspective, from a business perspective companies not taking care of employees has a huge cost to the bottom line.  Not only from absenteeism, when they can’t show up to work because of their mental health issues, but presenteeism, where they’re at work but they’re not able to do their intended role.


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