Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become empathetic entrepreneurs. This series features interviews with founders working on SDG 3 – Good Health & Wellbeing by a character named Spiffy. Health is on a lot of our minds these days, so let’s see what’s being done!
Hi! It’s me, Spiffy reporting from Planet Earth with the scoop on entrepreneurs making a difference in healthcare for all of us around the world, today’s superstar is Jonathan TranPham from reflect.
Spiffy: Hi Jonathan! How are you doing this morning? What challenge are you addressing with reflect?
Jonathan: Hey there, Spiffy! I’m well, reflect’s mission is to make mental health care more accessible. Despite the fact that 1 in 4 adults have a diagnosable mental health issue – and many more need support, especially during this pandemic – 80% of those people never find the right care. That’s heartbreaking to me. Most of us don’t know where to go or what to look for. Did you know there are hundreds of types of therapists, who all practice differently?
Spiffy: I didn’t! What’s that mean for people finding a therapist?
Jonathan: It means that the search process can be incredibly overwhelming, especially for someone going through a mental health challenge.
At reflect, we don’t want anyone to feel alone in their mental health journey, We believe everyone should be able to find high-quality support when they need it. That’s why we are making finding the right therapist easier than ever using a data-driven matching algorithm focused on fit, the best predictor of success. We take the guesswork out of the search, so you can quickly find the right care with confidence and get the support you need with ease!
If you’re interested in therapy, check out www.joinreflect.com to get matched today. Image Courtesy of Jonathan TranPham
Spiffy: Finding a therapist sounds like being lost in space. What motivated you to make it easier?
Jonathan: I started reflect after my own struggles looking for the right therapist. I have anxiety and was feeling really burned out at work. Sadly, my six-month search for support added even more stress to my life. I felt totally alone.
Luckily, I ultimately found an amazing therapist and have benefited so much from our work together (thank you, Karen!). She’s honestly helped me change my life – I’m a better friend, son, partner, and coworker. That’s why reflect’s mission is so very personal to me. I believe everyone can benefit from support and hope reflect can help others experience the life-changing power of therapy for themselves.
Spiffy: Go Karen! How does helping people find therapy make the world a more equitable place?
Jonathan: Access to mental health care is especially challenging for communities of color, as representation and stigma hinder people from seeking support. Over 80% of therapists are white. It is reflect’s mission to make care more equal. 40% of our providers are therapists of color, and we’re proud that half of our members are BIPOC. There’s more work to be done, but we hope greater access helps these communities process and heal from discrimination and trauma caused by systemic injustice across generations.
Spiffy: I see, therapy can have a broader community effect too! What’s a milestone you’ve reached? How do you stay mindful of your progress?
Jonathan: We recently facilitated our 40,000th therapy session at reflect! While revenue is important like any business, it’s these milestones that I’m most proud of. It’s why my team works so hard and why we care so much.
When someone gets matched and chooses a therapist with reflect, we ring a bell. It’s a tradition we started early on to remind our team that we changed someone’s life that day — and we still ring bells now. There are just more bells, and it’s become one of my favorite sounds!
Spiffy: What’s a time you’ve faced failure and didn’t give up?
Jonathan: This is a really interesting question. As a child of Vietnamese refugees and raised by a “tiger mom,” I was taught very early the importance of success. However, as a founder, I have come to realize the vital role failure can play.
Spiffy: Oh, but how did that realization come to fruition?
Jonathan: When I first started reflect, I had a different concept in mind for the business. To validate my idea, I had coffee chats with hundreds of therapists and clients. In my early interviews, some of my ideas fell completely flat. I felt dejected and even debated quitting at times. Instead, I kept going and used the feedback to refine my idea, which ultimately led to reflect’s current iteration. Years later, I’m proud that we have built the largest non-insurance network of top therapists in California, thanks in part to those initial “failures.”
Of course, failures still sting, but I try to reframe and embrace them as opportunities to learn and build resilience.
Spiffy: I can’t imagine what would happen if you’d gotten knocked down by that iteration process. What’s something unexpected you’ve learned recently?
Jonathan: A few months ago, I was talking to my mom, who is a Buddhist nun.
Spiffy: She’s a nun?
Jonathan: Ah yes, for context, my amazing mother worked in the corporate world for many years before retiring and becoming a nun. And yes, this is the same mom who used to be my “tiger mom.” Her life now is very far from business – and from any parenting jungles.
I was sharing about an important product launch we had coming up at work. After listening thoughtfully, she turned to me and said, “Try your best, and know it will all work out.”
Something about that statement really sat with me. Because it always does work out, doesn’t it? When you’re in the thick of things, that may be hard to see. And maybe it doesn’t work out exactly how we imagined – but it always works out somehow for the best.
I find that thought incredibly comforting especially now during the pandemic, when the end is so unclear. Maybe it’s good for all of us to remember that even 2020 will all work out.
Spiffy: She’s also showing you how much people can change with effort.
Jonathan TranPham is the founder/CEO of reflect. Prior to reflect, Jonathan served as head of marketing at Everlane. He has also worked on beloved consumer and healthcare brands such as Levi’s, Nordstrom, and Genentech and was a consultant at Bain and Monitor Group. Jonathan has a BS in organizational psychology from Northwestern and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Outside work, Jonathan loves to travel, cook, and is a certified spin instructor. (Nominated by StartOut).
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Written by Elias Ross Trupin. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.