Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Prince Harry Joins BetterUp as Chief Impact Officer

Very exciting news for Prince Harry today...

Following months of conversations, Harry has accepted a position as Chief Impact Officer at the billion-dollar tech startup BetterUp. One of the aspects of the Sussexes' new life in California I've been most excited about is seeing Harry harness the wealth of experience he has from his decade in the military, creating Invictus and Sentebale, and his years of work in the mental health field. From deploying soft diplomacy around the world while representing the Queen to his efforts on the ground with grassroots charities, it's exciting to see his skills and knowledge brought to bear as he takes his next steps.

Harry joins impressive innovators, behavioral scientists, talent management strategists, and consumer product experts in his new job. Founded in San Fransisco in 2013, BetterUp provides employee coaching, professional services and mental health services. The Hollywood Reporter notes, "The firm raised $125 million in a Series D funding round last month, valuing it at $1.73 billion. Tech companies with valuations of more than $1 billion are referred to colloquially as "unicorns."


More from First Word:

'With eight years of data in the employee development and coaching space, BetterUp has proven that individual performance and organizational growth begins with company leadership taking a proactive and holistic approach to the health, happiness, and resilience of their employees. Since its founding in 2013, BetterUp has built the world’s largest coaching network of over 2,000 coaches, has grown its team to 270+ employees, and serves more than 300 enterprise businesses including Hilton, NASA, Chevron, Mars, Genentech, Snap Inc., and Warner Media. 

In the past year, BetterUp more than doubled its annual recurring revenue, grew its entire customer base by 80 percent, and recorded a net revenue retention rate of over 140%. BetterUp has served over 100,000 members to-date, and the number of coaching sessions has more than doubled year-over-year, as demand for investing in employee well-being and development grew significantly.'

CEO Alex Robichaux introduced Harry in a joint blog post today.

'Everyone wants to live a meaningful life. But, there are often barriers — both external and internal — that can limit our ability to do that on our own. That’s why we started BetterUp. We wanted to make a positive impact in the world by empowering millions of people to live their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion. 

We’re standing at a once-in-a-lifetime crossroad of opportunity as a society. We have the economic, technological, and scientific means to positively impact human potential at scale. But to achieve this, we must “reframe” how we think about human flourishing (the potential we all have), peak performance, and mental fitness.They are not separate pursuits. They are part of one interconnected journey of growth.

To meet this opportunity, it is with great pleasure and excitement that we welcome our first Chief Impact Officer: Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. We are energized by his model of inspiration and impact through action. As a true citizen of the world, he has dedicated his life’s work to bringing attention to the diverse needs of people everywhere and advocating for mental health initiatives: from founding the Invictus Games, a platform for service personnel to use sport as part of their psychological and physical rehabilitation, to launching Sentebale, which supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.

As a member of the BetterUp executive team, Prince Harry will expand on the work he’s been doing for years, as he educates and inspires our community and champions the importance of focusing on preventative mental fitness and human potential worldwide.  

I could go on, but I think he can say it better himself.''

From there, Harry took over sharing his excitement for the new role and offering insight into the decision, revealing Archewell availed of BetterUp. Harry's goal? To "uplift critical dialogues around mental health".

'First of all, I am really excited to be joining the BetterUp team and community! Thanks for having me.

I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritising our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us. As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us.

Being attuned with your mind, and having a support structure around you, are critical to finding your own version of peak performance.

What I’ve learned in my own life is the power of transforming pain into purpose. 

During my decade in the military, I learned that we don’t just need to build physical resilience, but also mental resilience. And in the years since, my understanding of what resilience means — and how we can build it — has been shaped by the thousands of people and experts I’ve been fortunate to meet and learn from.  

When I first met Alexi, we instantly recognised a shared passion for helping others realise their full potential. As our conversations continued, it became even more clear that we hold a similar philosophy on mental health: that we must proactively take care of our minds.   

In addition to this shared philosophy, what caught my attention about BetterUp was that the company’s mission to unlock the potential in people everywhere necessitates innovation, impact, and integrity. Their team has been delivering on that work for years. I was also impressed by the scale and opportunity for impact – the ability to change millions of people’s lives for the better, through a combination of human connection, leading technology, and behavioural science.  

I’ve personally found working with a BetterUp coach to be invaluable. I was matched with a truly awesome coach who has given me sound advice and a fresh perspective. And because we believe in strengthening our own mental fitness, our entire Archewell team also has access to BetterUp coaching. 

As BetterUp’s first Chief Impact Officer, my goal is to lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations. And my hope is to help people develop their inner strength, resilience, and confidence.'

What will Harry's role entail? The Duke revealed he will focus on four key areas:

Driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness. We can and will elevate the global conversation around our mental health. What we’re doing is about equipping people to thrive. Whether you’re performing at the highest level, or want to get to the next level, or just want to get started, it’s all about having the specialised resources, preparation, and human connection to back you up — whatever the challenge.

Guiding BetterUp’s social mission and impact to bring the science of peak performance and human potential into the hands of people worldwide.

Influencing the vision of BetterUp’s platform, community, and member experience. I’m excited to help shape their already extensive library with content and resources on mental fitness and to share new stories and voices. To start, I’ve invited BetterUp to work with 'Peak State: Mental Fitness’, a platform I helped establish which provides practical online tools to enhance our mental fitness.

Expanding BetterUp’s global community of thought leadership, coaches, customers, and members through outreach and strategic planning.

If following Harry closely, you'll be familiar with Peak State Mental Fitness. The UK-based social enterprise was founded by Invictus heroes David Wiseman and Nathan Jones. Former rugby player Jones was involved in a serious accident whilst serving as a Royal Air Force pilot at Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan. He suffered severe injuries including a a fractured back, prolapsed disc and nerve damage. Nathan has been credited with saving multiple lives when he recovered a diving aircraft by crawling to the cockpit and pulling on the side stick. During the Invictus Games in Orlando, Jones secured a bronze medal in the 50 metre backstroke and in Toronto he took silver.

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David Wiseman is a leading figure in the Invictus family and has worked alongside Harry for a number of years. He's currently the Director of Grants and Programmes at the Invictus Foundation. Affectionately known as 'Wisey', the ex-soldier was shot on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Competing in swimming at the Invictus games meant the world to David. "We've fought together, we've been wounded together, we've repaired together and now we're competing together." Speaking at the Toronto games he said, "You've seen how actively Prince Harry has been involved this week in Toronto, but what you haven't seen is how involved he is behind the scenes - he's driving this. It's his focus and his passion." David was central to creation of HeadFit, a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and Harry via Heads Together (he worked with Harry at the Royal Foundation during that period).

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David shared this supportive tweet last year.

Speaking about Peak State, David said, "For far too long, many people have only considered mental health as something to acknowledge when they’re struggling or unwell. We hope to show that proactively building and maintaining mental fitness helps people to thrive." It certainly came as no surprise to hear, in Harry's first action in his new role, his first thought was Peak State. Working closely with David and Nathan, he knows what they are bringing to the table and proud to back their fantastic platform. I've said many times before, Harry takes the military community with him everywhere he goes. That commitment will never change nor will the place he holds in the hearts of veterans and their families.

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In his statement, Harry concluded, "Self-optimisation is not about fixing something that’s broken. It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us — someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence, and self-awareness. This is what BetterUp is making possible, and I look forward to being on this journey with you."


Harper's Bazaar reports:

'In his new role, which he has already began work on, Harry will drive advocacy and awareness for mental health, guide BetterUp’s social mission and impact, work on product strategies, and help expand their global community of coaches and members. When travel is safe, the duke will occasionally travel to the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

The Wall Street Journal reported that though the duke won’t be managing employees or have direct reports, he will participate in “all-hands meetings” and will be expected to appear at special company events.'

The Guardian continues:

'Alexi Robichaux, the chief executive of BetterUp, said: “It’s a meaningful and meaty role.”

The pair met through a mutual friend and have been discussing the collaboration since last autumn, and Harry signed up to BetterUp’s life coaching. “I was matched with a truly awesome coach who has given me sound advice and a fresh perspective,” he said.

Robichaux did not reveal how much Harry would be paid or whether he has been handed shares in the business.

“He’s synonymous with this approach of mental fitness and really investing in yourself,” Robichaux said. “It was not a hard internal sale.” 

With this new role, Archewell, their production plans, charitable and patronage work, things have very much fallen into place for the Sussexes. It's shaping up to be a very special year for the family.


21 comments:

  1. Congrats to Harry - he is taking full advantage of his freedom!

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    1. Just imagine being free to finally get a job, and I read he has a second one now!

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    2. Absolutely .its only the commencement.

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  2. Another informative gem from you,Charlotte! First off, thanks so much for covering Harry as no one does it better than you. This seems like a match made in heaven. It's obviously more than just a job-in-name-only. I'm so glad Harry will have his own forum for continuing his personal interests in addition to what Archewell is covering as a a couple. Each time I read more about what Harry did with Onvoctus and Sentabale, I'm more impressed. Thank you again for keeping us informed.

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  3. Thanks for this comprehensive coverage, Charlotte. David Wiseman's comment about Harry taking the military community with him wherever he goes really puts in a nutshell Harry's commitment. It's heartwarming to watch what must be his life's work evolve. He seems very centered now. The people he and Meghan work with and how they plan to work is certainly a different world from the "palaces."

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  4. Talk about multitasking! Did not see this coming, but it sounds just wonderful. Like we have seen with Meghan, a lot of people think Harry is terrific. There's a lot to be proud of in him. We get to see H&M relaxing but there's been a lot of planning going on. I'm so happy that harry has a variety of work to do, and I think Invictus will be back by 2022.

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  5. Thank you, Charlotte, for posting this incredibly exciting news. Harry is well matched and qualified for this role. The team at BetterUp recognized the unique abilities and contributions he can make. I am so thrilled for Harry, and Meghan. I hope the joy of this coming year will heal over some of the wounds of the past two.

    R

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  6. Harry will be a great compliment to BetterUp. Advocacy is best served from personal experience. Brilliant hirer on the part of Robichaux.

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    1. I agree ������

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  7. Wow! Congratulation Harry! I am so impressed with him , his Development- he really is an Inspiration for great male energy in new times.

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  8. Meghan's donation to Himmah, an article about it can be found here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a35928559/meghan-markle-donates-to-himmah-organization/

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  9. I am so happy Charlotte !!! To see the couple move forward (especially Harry because Meghan is definitely known as a real working girl). Seeing Harry self-determine so well, I'm so proud of it.
    As much as I understand that it was vital to sort out and get rid of all that has been inflicted on them toxic.
    I am so happy to find that they are progressing superbly in their life and career, although it is not always easy. It is true that the tabloids are not going to let them go but at least they have built a reliable team that is not so toxic that they stay in control.

    Looking forward to hearing from you very soon Charlotte.

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  10. Becca in Colorado25 March 2021 at 17:15

    I was so happy to see this news -- Harry is a great fit for this company. I wonder, will he be working something along the lines of a 9-5 schedule? He (and Meghan) have so many ventures going, I don't see how he could haha!

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    1. Very few silicon valley startups work 9-5.

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  11. Now this is being a working royal! More power to them, Harry and Meghan ♥
    Beth

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  12. If I have read properly I understand that there is yet another project in the works with Katie Couric in his newest role in the Aspen Institute's Commission on Information Disorder which deals with mis information in the media. According to what I have read it is a six month task force studying the issues. Also, coming at a yet to be released date is his project working with Oprah. Needless to say, Harry has alot on his plate that he is well
    prepared to tackle first hand. He is truly living a very relevant and meaningful life on this side of the pond.

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  13. Thankyou for the coverage on Harry, he always seems to be a left out so it's lovely to see someone focus on his achievements. Hopefully, these positions will be put to great use in America.

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  14. Oh what a lovely job buti think harry will spread wings out everybody think he nobody but now be job

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  15. Speaking about mental health & hoping at that speaking about it might give those who do not suffer from mental illnesses to understand. The conversation I have had over & over is, when I share that I suffer & have battled depression & anxiety, my whole life. I know people want to be helpful, but the answer is always “oh what happened?why are you sad? & and then I say it’s depression is a lifelong, not situational. I guess I didn’t know I how much it bothered me till I responded to this story.

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  16. I have suffered from depression & anxiety my whole life. If I share this, the answer Is always “oh what happened?” “Why are you sad?” My answer “depression is not situational” “anxiety can leave you stuck in a fetal position unable to move”. I hope that program’s like this can not just help those who are struggling, but educate those who don’t really know anything about it.

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)