Dear Fellow Humans:
For most of my life, I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and addiction. The voices in my head, the constant nagging, and rumination seemed only to be quieted by the dopamine kick gained from consuming unnatural amounts of shitty food and alcohol. Most only knew my accomplishments, my breadth of experience, humor, and knack for languages. An expert at curating an amazing narrative, few saw my true unhappiness.
I tried antidepressants and psychotherapy, both important to giving me the space I needed to come to terms with and start exploring the causes of my mental illness, many rooted in a rough childhood being raised on welfare by a loving single mother who had her own battles with depression and alcoholism, but I was far from being whole.
In early 2018, after tipping the scales above 300lbs / 136kgs and having hit rock bottom three times in the past two years, something had to be done. I started studying non-mainstream and holistic approaches to achieving mental wellness and began incorporating good nutrition, meditation, and exercise into my daily life. Slowly, the brain fog lifted, the weight dropped, and the joy of living returned!
It took me 35 years to realize that mental illness had always affected me, and another five to learn how to cope. That’s far too long, but for many, it takes a lifetime. Unacceptable. I founded Masawa to change that.
By nurturing capital to nurture minds, we invest for financial returns with a focus on maximizing impact while not losing sight of founders' and companies' mental healths.
We hope you'll join us, so that billions live life.
Mental illness is an equal opportunity offender. It doesn’t care who you are, what you look like, or where you’re from; once it has crept into the mind, it’ll do anything to stay. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addiction and other mental illnesses have the power to disconnect from lives once lived and those once loved.
The figures are staggering: depression is the major cause of disability worldwide. Each year, 25% of Europeans suffer from depression or anxiety. Among US-Americans recently diagnosed with depression, around two-thirds don’t receive treatment. By 2030, mental health disorders are estimated to cost the global economy $16 trillion. In Africa, there’s an up to 90% treatment gap between those who need help and those that receive it. These numbers are infuriating and the ensuing consequence is detrimental.
There is a whole set of evidence-based tools and innovations with the potential to improve mental wellness that is often overlooked: nutrition, natural medicine, mindfulness, new technologies, and workplace wellness. We estimate the market for these approaches to be at least $250B. There are 1200 companies, including startups, directly or indirectly focused on delivering these approaches in Europe and North America alone.
Luckily, as the stigma of mental illness begins to lift, investors are starting to take notice: global investment in mental health technology has exceeded $1B in the past two years. But where’s the accountability to maximize the investments’ social impact? And who’s focusing on the mental health of the entrepreneurs delivering increased access to mental wellness and their ability to craft resilient organizations which, in turn, improves the lives of more people (and provides larger financial returns)?
We see a chance to help billions of people lead bright, fulfilling lives by employing capital to achieve impact.
Leaders and experts in their fields, each member has a specific beneficiary focus.
The Big Picture
▪️ Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainability & ESG, Barclays
▪️ Former Executive, Clinton Global Initiative
The Impact Fund
▪️ Head of VC, Beth Israel Lahey Health Investments
▪️ VC, Partners Healthcare Investments
▪️ Board Member, Boston Ballet
▪️ Asset Management Advisor
▪️ Former Head, Multi Assets, DWS
▪️ Oxford-trained investor
▪️ Coach, organizational development expert
▪️ Former UN executive, Peacekeeper
▪️ Fulbright Scholar
▪️ Serial start-up founding teams
▪️ Director, AZA Finance
▪️ Development finance expert
▪️ Strategy Director – Purpose, adidas
▪️ Former Brand Manager, MillerCoors
▪️ Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
The Mentally Ill
▪️ Nutritional psychiatrist
▪️ Renowned mental health expert
▪️ Harvard-trained clinician
▪️ MD, Yunus Social Business Impact Fund
▪️ VP, Sodexo
▪️ Consultant, McKinsey
▪️ Global CFO, CBRE
▪️ Former CFO, American Tower
▪️ Mental health board member
▪️ Mental Health Philanthropic Advisor
▪️ Serial Entrepreneur
▪️ Community Builder
Who are you? What makes you you? Which diverse experiences do you feel set you apart?
What is your role at Masawa?
What are you outstandingly good at? What do people praise you for?
What is your personal vision in regards to mental health and Masawa? (the intersection between what you want and what you think is possible)
What keeps you up at night? What do you dream about (doing, achieving)?
What are some (3) values you hold dear and which guide your thinking and actions?
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