In this episode, we 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. Joshua believes that after society is more mentally well by focusing on the internal first, it can overcome the seemingly intractable problems like climate change, poverty, and injustice.
Over the past 20 years, Joshua has focused on the intersection of innovation, technology, and social impact. He has worked for both the US and Swedish governments, managing a portfolio of $190 million in innovative grant funding in emerging and frontier market countries targeting poverty alleviation, civil society, human rights, and technology. Joshua holds degrees from Boston University and The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He has worked in 35 countries, speaks 7 languages well (pretends in many more), and lives in Berlin with his husband and two children.
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03:55 In the startup scene, the goal should be to about using the wealth we have as a vehicle to ensure that more people become themselves, in whatever shape or form that may take.
04:30 Pre COVID the No1 cause of disability was depression, and it still is, the prediction is that the total loss in productivity will be 30 trillion worldwide by 2030.
04:58 Mental wellness is not about human optimisation, it's about giving everyone an equal playing field, and there's where the name of Joshua's impact fund comes from the Arabic word Al Masawa.
06:53 It looked like the perfect life, until one day he crashed and burned, due to not dealing with his issues from the past; he had to learn how to deal with the emotions and take the time for himself.
09:23 Having worked in finance on projects in Africa and worked on innovation and social enterprises and startups in Cambodia, he was curious about who was funding these innovations that were happening in Mental wellness. He found that there were not impact funds that cared equally about maximising that social impact as well maximising the financial aspects, so he decided to do it himself.
13:28 The underlying issues of the existential problems in the world, such as poverty, climate change, inequality and injustice, are happening because we are not ok with ourselves.
15:54 The best thing that leaders in organisations can start doing is being ok with being vulnerable.
17:18 In most work cultures, people never really talk about their home life and don't bring their full selves to work.
18:04 On the subject of diversity and how Joshua is only now starting to understand the privilege he had as a white male. We need to use the benefits we have to channel them for the greater good.
21:04 The Masawa advisory board it is nine women and one man, and you might say they are a contrarian, but if you look at the range of experiences they have, it is because they identified holes where they needed help and these are the best people we knew and found to be able to fill those holes
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