Henry is a co-founder of MyMynd, a digital health platform tackling the rising challenge of mental health & wellbeing, intensified by Covid19 and lockdown. MyMynd enables early, targeted intervention for those in need, and proactively supports individuals to improve their resiliency/wellbeing, unlocking the potential to thrive.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Henry‘s career has seen him tackling some of the toughest social impact challenges – ‘internally’, as a neurologist, then ‘externally’, as a sustainability leader, and now spanning both addressing mental health and wellbeing in a new, post-Covid world.
Henry previously helped to build and led Innovation Gateway, an award-winning alliance of leading corporations, working together to get ahead of climate impacts of their buildings and built environment. He also held senior roles with Mars, Johnson & Johnson, Twentieth Century Fox and served as an advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Henry is a Visiting Fellow of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School, University of Oxford where he contributes to programmes on leadership, resilience, strategy & innovation and Climate Impact for MBAs and Executives. He is a regular keynote speaker and writer on ‘Leading for Resilience’. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge and MBA at the University of Oxford.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
I think of entrepreneurship as solving meaningful problems and an opportunity to create ‘shared-value’. It’s a team sport, and as a platform for good, has the power to contribute at scale.
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
I knew it was a good idea when the increasing market need and passionate, capable team came together to give us the confidence we could make a meaningful difference, and rewards would follow.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Curiosity – you must continually be seeking to understand the customer, discover the real problems, uncover the opportunities, explore new ways.
Resilience – staying focused, handling the multiples demands and responsibility, maintaining the energy to seize every opportunity
Sales – you are constantly selling – to customers, to investors, to secure teammates, to suppliers…
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
It’s a real privilege to work and learn with incredible colleagues, clients, and supporters. Creating something completely new, that is really making a difference to people’s lives, and no two days are the same!
What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
There are so many to choose from: The obvious ones are Paul Polman of course for his bold leadership at Unilever, and subsequently for the SDGs as well as Patagonia for their authenticity and living their values.
Like so many others in this community, I had the privilege of learning from Prof Marc Ventresca, whose profound knowledge, incisive perspectives and clarity are boundless, and a driving force for a great many ventures. I’m also greatly inspired by those young people, that see the challenges around us and simply refuse to standby like so many before them – examples include Malala, Greta Thunberg and while I write this I have the greatest respect for Marcus Rashford and his efforts to feed young people in the UK.
If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
I’d like to understand what drives them to keep going against all of the adversity, and ‘almost’ insurmountable task ahead, and how do they recharge?
What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
Far and away my most satisfying moments in business have been seeing people I’ve managed, often having recruited them into their first roles, grow and flourish into incredible professionals. I certainly can’t take the credit but I’m proud to have been a small part of their journey.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Another one with no shortage of examples!
I’ve certainly learned the value of relentlessly listening to and understanding your customers.
You don’t know what you don’t know – you should always draw on as many different perspectives as you can.
Keeping hold of projects for too long before getting customer/colleague feedback that would make it better.
How have you funded your ideas?
Bootstrapped/Grant/Friends & Family
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Incredible ecosystem with rich and diverse experiences/perspectives.
Opportunities to engage with the leaders in just about every field.
Mentors, teammates, talent, investors engaged and supportive.
The energy and support is unrivaled.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
Oxford Foundry, SBS, intro into relevant networks based on specific sector/needs.
Any last words of advice?
Be humble and curious. Live the problem you’re trying to solve and get to know your customers inside and out. Support those around you that you can. Take every opportunity to network and share your ideas. There’s an incredible wealth of talent, resources and supporters around us… that’s one mighty superpower.