Dr. Joti Samra, CEO and founder of My Workplace Health, joins us in this episode of Ask A CEO Podcast to share her journey from an aspiring young clinical psychologist to a CEO. Check out all the other episodes of Ask A CEO here.
Joti’s journey in entrepreneurship…
Dr. Joti Samra is a healthcare professional, a clinical psychologist, and also a media consultant. She works on strategies for coping with life’s difficult challenges and has been invited to all over North America to deliver talks on this topic. She was also in 3 seasons of the Animal Planet documentary ”confessions; animal herding’’. Dr. Joti is the psychologist to media personalities and past chair of the British Columbia Psychologically healthy workplace awards committee. She has been honoured as the recipient of the Canadian psychological association’s new researcher award.
She shared that the clinical psychologist is her identity. Which started early in her life when she was only in elementary school days working at a senior’s home, discovering that psychology was something she wanted to pursue.
Joti’s business model
When Dr. Joti started, she had two businesses. One was clinical therapy, which came from necessity as necessity brings invention, which compelled her to build an association for assistance and better reach. She is trained as a clinical forensic psychologist, but instead, she was interested in legality and intersection between work and mental health. Apart from this, she shares her journey of being a research scientist at Simon Fraser, where she led some international level projects.
Impact of COVID-19 on Joti’s business
The goal of launching an association was to increase the reach so that the organization could work on a national level. As a new CEO, She was pivoting her business and pivoting it fast. Some organizational and functional changes were made due to the COVID-19 situation. Still, Dr. Joti shares her surprise over how many corporations were so open about talking about the workplace environment and its impact on workers’ health. COVID-19 has underscored for so many organizations, which makes it important to pay attention to our employees’ mental health.
How to effectively balance work?
Dr. Joti experienced burnout not very long ago because of pivoting the business during the COVID-19. She made a plan for herself to take out chunks of time for herself and only hold internal meetings, not the external meetings. Stepping back to acknowledge where one is spending their time. This has helped her a lot with the emotional and physical well-being of her employees.
Marketing strategies to attract new clients
Up until the last six months, they didn’t have any marketing strategies. The startup phase was more like figuring it all out along the way. It was mostly word of mouth and implicit marketing. Recently they sat down with the marketing team and worked out a marketing plan, but mostly it was word of mouth. My role as CEO was to carve out time to have conversations with other people.
Significance of a good culture in the company
Canada has some rules to follow at the national level, which is an aspirational statement to create space where we protect employees from harm both physically and emotionally. We have as many different work environments as there are organizations. There is a whole set of guidelines and technicalities. Dr. Joti suggested taking a step back and looking at the environment of your organization. Evaluate what the strengths are and have good communication and relationships. A well functioning organization is like a well-functioning family. The key is that you don’t have to get along every day but respect everyone, It doesn’t mean you agree on everything, or you are best friends. That is the first thing their organization wants to achieve; they look at the other core elements and start to dismantle them. Now more than ever, we are all suffering from different mental health problems. An organization where there is good conflict management and a focused way to approach challenges. This also includes giving constructive feedback and respectfully doing that.
What excites you about your business?
Dr. Joti shares her love for people. She finds human beings fascinating. Her job includes the pleasure and honor of delving into systems and minds. It is like a different puzzle every single day.
Advice for CEOs
“Trust intuition.” Intuition does not fail us. Trust that little guy on your shoulder because that is the strongest voice inside you.