Ash D.

Founder of OpenMind
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Ash D.
Chemistry
Chemistry
Undergraduate
Langwith
2007
United Kingdom

My employment

Founder of OpenMind
OpenMind Wellbeing
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Small business (0-49 employees)
2018

More about Ash

BAME student

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A day in the life of a Founder of OpenMind in the United Kingdom

As the founder of a relatively new wellbeing technology startup, I get involved in every aspect of running the business.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

OpenMind supports workplaces (schools and universities) across the UK create diverse, inclusive and sustainable wellbeing programmes built on human connection and community.

Our online platform, CARE, enables this by
• Connecting organisations with a large pool of wellbeing providers (a marketplace)
• Administering bookings from end to end with support around internal promotion, providing regular
• Reporting with insightful data. All of these enabling the workplace to
• Evolve, spending their valuable time on ensuring they continue to listen to their people and stay inclusive in a sustainable way.

We host a variety of live offerings that support workplaces with their wellbeing agendas both live virtually and onsite, at a high level - Strategy & Assessment, Wellbeing Workshops (mental health, nutrition, sleep, etc), Community Activities (yoga, meditation, home workouts, creativity sessions, choirs/sing a longs and more) and 1-2-1 clinics.

What do you do?

As the founder of a relatively new wellbeing technology startup, I get involved in every aspect of running the business. We currently have a team of 6.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Following completing my degree in Chemistry, I completed an internship in Beijing. I travelled for a year spending time in the Himalayas and then India.

I came back to join Atos on their graduate programme. One of my early roles included managing the IT infrastructure and delivery teams for Birds Eye (Fish fingers and frozen peas) as an IT Service Manager. While in this role, I was on their graduate accelerate programme and was involved in activities from recruitment to Million Makers fundraising with the Prince's Trust.

Using my experiences of Operations I moved to Accenture to be a Technology Consultant, where I worked at several Banks and Retailers advising on technology strategy and also delivering technology transformation programmes.

In 2016, I burnt out and reflected on my wellbeing. At this point, while continuing my day job I set up wellbeing related interest groups in the workplace to bring people together, which lead me to understand many challenges HR / Wellbeing leads in organisations have today. OpenMind was born from this.

In addition, I also sit on the board of trustees at Children's Early Intervention charity Chance UK

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Yes. I have jumped from Chemistry to IT Operations, to Consulting and now am in Wellbeing.

Describe your most memorable day at work

I have been very fortunate to have managers that believe in me, trust in my capabilities and have given me space to grow and explore my horizons.

My most memorable day at work is related to team comradery as we worked under time pressures to deliver a high profile project that was saving an organisation upwards of £20m in annual savings.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Now that I run a startup there are a few. I have realised the importance of asking for help and advice from those who have already been where I am. My main challenges, like most startups, is managing cash flow as well as my own wellbeing as the founder.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

We work in a co-working space, but also work very flexibly as 3 of our team are in India.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Volunteering
STEM

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Don't be afraid to ask questions and get things wrong. I don't believe in failure, I see them as learning opportunities.

Start building your network early on, focus on building meaningful connections as you never know when you may be able to help each other in your careers.

Keep check of your own wellbeing - physical, mental, emotional and social. You are not alone going through this, find people you can share with.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Happy to support with any questions - my career has been quite varied already.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Ash’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Ash a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Ash to be your mentor.

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