Guest Post: Making More Health: a Fellow’s Story

Krystian Fikert
Krystian Fikert

As the founder and CEO of MyMind, and an Irish Ashoka fellow, I have been extremely grateful for the support provided by Boehringer Ingelheim under their Making More Health and Change Nation initiatives. BI’s commitment to social responsibility has helped MyMind to deliver on its mission of pioneering a new and sustainable model of community based and online mental health services that are accessible and affordable to everyone. MyMind’s social enterprise model uses the revenue generated by clients who are able to afford counselling and psychotherapy services to support reduced fees for those who are unemployed or full time students.

In 2012, Boehringer Ingelheim first recognised our innovative business model and began to assess how they could support our work. After identifying business development as an area that MyMind was under-resourced in, BI committed to providing us with a marketing executive-in-residence for 6 months. Rather than providing a once-off support that would not have a lasting impact, BI identified our limited business developm
ent expertise as an area where they could have a significant strategic influence. Thalita Guimaraes, a marketing executive from Boehringer Ingelheim Brazil, was nominated as an executive in residence for MyMind, and spent 6 months in our Dublin headquarters developing a business plan that formalised MyMind’s targets and projections. Due to the success of this venture, all following shared entreprises between BI and MyMind have incorporated BI’s strengths and capabilities with our strategic objectives.

Since this initial involvement of Boehringer Ingelheim with MyMind through their Making More Health initiative and later the Change Nation initiative, several members of BI’s management team have committed to supporting different elements of our strategic developments. A sales training workshop for the MyMind team was delivered by BI’s national sales manager in order to advance the progress of MyMind at Work – our mental health promotion service for workplaces. Additionally, BI has supported MyMind’s efforts to promote our services amongst GPs, by providing their sales representatives with our promotional materials. This has given us access to a huge sector of healthcare workers that we otherwise would have had extreme difficulty in approaching. The ability to develop relationships with other primary care providers has been invaluable.

We have also received support
around the marketing and promotion of our services. BI provided media contacts to help promote the launches of our regional centres in Cork and Limerick, which allowed us to attract a large number of new clients as soon as the centres opened.

The relationship between MyMind and BI has been transformative in several ways. For MyMi
nd, it has matched our dynamic work with the resources and talents of a large, established company, allowing us to benefit from BI’s network in the health care community, and its strategic and managerial capacity. BI’s support has been integral to MyMind’s progression towards the achievement of our strategic objective of self-sustainability, which we hope to reach by 2016. I’m thankful for all the support and guidance Boehringer Ingelheim have provided thus far, and look forward to continued collaboration under the Making More Health and Change Nation initiatives.

This is a guest post by Krystian Fikert, social entrepreneur and CEO of MyMind on being a Making More Health Fellow