Chip Cutter / The Wall Street Journal
Having ceased to be a member of the royal family with professional responsibilities, Prince Harry found a new job at a startup in Silicon Valley.
The Duke of Sussex will become an Impact Director for BetterUp Inc., a growing mental health and coaching company. The company announced it on Tuesday (23).
The role is the Duke’s last stint in business. Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have stepped down from their roles as members of the British Royal Family who worked full time for her. In recent months, they’ve taken advantage of their celebrity status to sign a string of lucrative deals.
“I intend to help make an impact on people’s lives,” Prince Harry said in an email response to questions about why he will be starting the new job. “Proactive coaching offers endless possibilities for personal development, awareness and a better life in every way.”
In his new role at BetterUp, Harry is expected to contribute ideas for initiatives that include product strategy decisions and charitable contributions, in addition to speaking publicly about mental health issues.
“It’s an important and meaningful role,” commented BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux, saying he was introduced to the prince by a mutual friend and started talks with him in the fall of last year.
The role of Impact Director is relatively rare in the corporate world, although it does exist in some companies, including Salesforce.com Inc. The title is more common in the world of nonprofits, such as Amnesty. International USA and United Way.
Robichaux declined to comment on how Prince Harry will be paid and did not share details of his employment contract, saying Harry would join the company’s management team as one of the directors of the society.
Harry will not be leading employees or receiving direct reports, but he will likely spend time at the company headquarters in San Francisco, as soon as it is safe to do so, and attend meetings with all employees, said Robichaux. Their presence is also expected at special corporate events.
Prince Harry spoke openly for some time about his own struggles with dealing with emotional pain and mental health issues, and BetterUp executives appreciated his previous work in promoting the mental health discussion as as a member of the royal family.
Robichaux said Harry can contribute to BetterUp from a different perspective. He sees the Duke’s military background as another advantage that sets Harry apart, who he says “comes from very different backgrounds” from other executives. For Harry, there is still a long way to go to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
“It’s about recognizing that these issues are not so much about what is wrong with us, but what has happened to us throughout our lives,” said Harry, speaking of the importance of fighting for health. mental.
“Often, due to social barriers, financial hardship or stigma, people are unable to pay attention to their mental health until they are forced to. I want us to get over the idea of feeling totally devastated before asking for help. “
In addition to working at BetterUp, the Duke and Duchess signed an agreement to create content for Netflix and another to present podcasts to Spotify. The five-year contract signed with Netflix was valued at around $ 100 million (R $ 549.5 million), according to people briefed on the matter, as previously reported by the WSJ.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have launched a public relations blitz, having recently taken part in a prime-time interview with Oprah Winfrey that drew millions of viewers. In the interview, the couple discussed mental health issues. Meghan said she had suicidal ideals after joining the British royal family.
While other companies have hired celebrities in recent years to leverage their pop culture know-how and give them a marketing boost, most of them have placed top personalities on their boards. directors, and not among their leaders.
BetterUp’s Robichaux chose to offer Harry the role of Impact Director because he wanted a title that reflected a wide range of responsibilities. He said few members of the company or its board of directors were against Prince Harry joining the staff.
“Harry is synonymous with this approach to mental health and the idea that people really invest in themselves,” Robichaux said. “It was not difficult to convince anyone in the company of his worth.”
Founded in 2013, BetterUp has grown rapidly since then. It has a network of over 2,000 coaches and its platform is used by several large companies including Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Chevron Corp., Salesforce.com and others. In February, BetterUp raised US $ 125 million (R $ 686.8 million), bringing its value to $ 1.73 billion (R $ 9.5 billion).
Prince Harry has been using the app and a BetterUp coach for two months. He said it was a bit difficult to complete the initial quiz because his background and track record doesn’t match well on a multiple-choice question list.
“I know I am an exception. It is not necessary to call the technicians to solve the questionnaire! He joked. He said his coach “is fantastic and always gave me great advice and a new perspective, something of immense value.”
The BetterUp CEO said Harry has already contributed to the decisions of the company. In a recent strategy meeting to discuss the positioning of a product, the prince recommended that executives describe the tool in terms of resilience and overcoming adversities and obstacles in a time full of challenges.
Harry won’t be leading his own team, but he will find a welcoming audience among other professionals at BetterUp, who Robichaux says will be eager to work with him – and maybe just hang out with the prince. “Obviously the whole company will be rushing to help him,” Robichaux said.
Originally translated from English by Clara Allain.