October 7

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Making Natural Medicine Accessible with Kensho CEO Krista Berlincourt

By Mimi MacLean

October 7, 2021


natural medicine entrepreneur Krista Berlincourt
Krista Berlincourt, co-founder of Kensho Health

Stepping into the world of natural medicine and holistic wellness can be intimidating and overwhelming; that is why Krista Berlincourt, used her career in strategic advertisement and start-ups to create Kensho. She is the CEO and co-founder of the innovative and groundbreaking online health platform that works to guide and educate people through the vast world of natural medicine.

“So, for me, it's about creating a culture and an environment where you just understand that, that is the baseline. We're all human.”- Krista

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Episode Contents:

How She Co-Founded Kensho and Made Natural Medicine Accessible to All

Kensho Health Motto

Mimi MacLean:
Krista, thank you so much for coming on today. I'm excited to hear your story. I would love to just get started, with just telling us a little bit about Kensho Health.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. Kensho Health is the first discovery platform and care navigator for holistic medicine. The care navigator is sort of this secret thing, that I didn't even know myself existed inside the medical world. Which is when you go to the doctor and you say, "I have a blank symptom or I have a blank health goal," and then they magically refer you to the right provider, whether you're looking for an upper extremity orthopedist or you have a gastrointestinal issue or you're looking to get pregnant.

Krista Berlincourt:
There's some magic that happens on the backend in the system of health care, that helps you decipher, who do I need to see, based on my insurance, which is covered by my employer, likely, and what I'm going through?

Krista Berlincourt:
We've built that system now for holistic medicine, which is physicians that work across naturopathy, functional medicine, acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic care and mental health care, for which there is national health insurance coverage already today.

Mimi MacLean:
That's great. Now, how did you come about that idea?

Krista Berlincourt:
Oh, you know, Mimi. It's that thing where, I think there's a certain point as an entrepreneur, where you have a problem and you look at it and you ask yourself, "Why hasn't anyone fixed this?" You're so infuriated by it.

Krista Berlincourt:
My last company was in the digital banking space, which I never thought I would get into, but I came from a long line of people who were bad with money. I think it's generations old. I myself was bad with money and was invited to join a company that wanted to make people good with money, by creating tools that automated saving and helped people save more money. That really brought me into this world of startups in a very fortuitous time.

Krista Berlincourt:
We scaled that company and sold it in 2014, just two years after I joined. I stayed until the end of 2016. It was a wild roller coaster of a ride.

Krista Berlincourt:
Prior to that, I was at Microsoft. And again, I actually just ran into… So wild. Minutes ago, flying into Portland, I ran into this woman, Melissa Havel… Mel, if you hear this, shout out to you… who was my first boss at Microsoft, when they were launching their mobile business unit for the first time.

Krista Berlincourt:
It was just a series of firsts, where I really love this emerging sector, things that don't exist yet.

Krista Berlincourt:
While I was leaving Simple or figuring out what to do next, my health happened to hit the tanker and I couldn't get better.

Krista Berlincourt:
I was trying to get better through conventional medicine. I was being prescribed these prescriptions that just weren't working. I still had a hormonal imbalance that left me feeling awful.

Krista Berlincourt:
It wasn't until I found the world of holistic medicine that I started to heal, but that took me three years and about $35,000.

Krista Berlincourt:
After that, my friends and family started asking me, "Well, where do you find an acupuncturist? And how did you find your naturopath? What is it like to work with a holistic endocrinologist?"

Krista Berlincourt:
I couldn't answer their questions because there wasn't a routing system. There wasn't a care navigator. Holistic medicine is a little bit like a choose your own adventure, where you go into the conventional medical world and you say, "I want something," and it shoots you up dramatically and just specific.

Krista Berlincourt:
In holistic, it feels like a ball of yarn, a bowl of noodles, where you pull on one and then everything else comes out, but you're so lost and tangled.

Krista Berlincourt:
Then I met my co-founder, Danny Steiner. We had a conversation, probably not too unlike this, where it was, what do we want to do?

Krista Berlincourt:
We've left our last companies, they've sold. We just started waxing poetic on how broken healthcare is.

Krista Berlincourt:
We went on a trip together after that. I got home from that trip and sent him a text. I was like, "I think that maybe we're supposed to fix this problem. It's going to be hard, but I think we can do it."

Mimi MacLean:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, it's a great idea. I don't know if you know this or not, but I'm pretty into the holistic world.

Mimi MacLean:
I have a whole other podcast called Lyme 360 because I've been battling chronic Lyme and I've been doing it both regular medical, Western medicine, but I've also done it mostly through holistic.

Mimi MacLean:
So I'm just curious, just even the business model, as far as what your business model is, in that regard.

Patient Care and Insurance in Holistic and Natural Medicine

Mimi MacLean:
And then also, I have found, a lot of my holistic practitioners are not covered by insurance. So, when you're talking about the patient care, are you still putting up practitioners that aren't taking insurance, or how does that kind of intertwine with your business?

Krista Berlincourt:
Well, if you're comfortable sharing, I'd be curious to hear which do and don't take insurance.

Mimi MacLean:
I have yet to find any, to be honest with you.

Krista Berlincourt:
Really?

Mimi MacLean:
My insurance does not cover acupuncture. It covered-

Krista Berlincourt:
We've got to get you new insurance.

Mimi MacLean:
It Covers one or two chiropractor if that. It will cover if I have a doctor, who's an MD, but again, it's not going to cover the supplements. It's not going to cover any of the IV treatments. It's still only for the visit, but it doesn't. A lot of the care that they do doesn't get covered by it, I have found.

Krista Berlincourt:
There are 13 states in the country that have naturopathic doctors who are licensed as primary care providers, which is great. Four of those states already have naturopaths who were then covered by insurance.

Krista Berlincourt:
There is nationwide coverage under Medicare/Medicaid for mental health care. There's also nationwide coverage for acupuncture under Medicare/Medicaid, and there's nationwide chiropractic coverage under Medicare/Medicaid.

Krista Berlincourt:
But the Medicare/Medicaid population is roughly 120 million Americans, which is a third of the country, which is huge. It's massive.

Krista Berlincourt:
The reason that's fascinating, is that Medicare/Medicaid when you look at private healthcare, it's not cost-sensitive. Generally speaking, hospital groups, make money by making money.

Krista Berlincourt:
But you know who does want to save money? Insurance companies, because they'd rather retain your premium. That's a great business model for them.

Krista Berlincourt:
So when you think of, there are sectors of medicine called value-based care, which is, how can you create the lowest cost for the highest value over time?

Krista Berlincourt:
What we're looking at with holistic medicine is really… For instance, Washington state has had coverage in holistic medicine for 30 years. They show consistent year-over-year cost savings. So on average, the patients who use a holistic protocol are 10% less expensive than those who don't. So what we're seeing across the conversations is that we're really lucky to be in this very specific moment in history, where health is no longer the conversation of, is there a problem with healthcare, instead, insurers really want to change their coverage.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, the coverage already exists, but it depends on who your insurer is and what state you live in. My expectation is that that will become normalized across all states within the next 10 years.

Krista Berlincourt:
I think that's very similar to the time when we started Simple, so 2009. Hard to believe that it's now 12 years later. There is digital banking across America and most companies, most banks have a digital business unit.

Krista Berlincourt:
For most banks, the majority of their banking is online, but 12 years ago, a digital bank didn't exist. You had to go into a branch to deposit a check.

Krista Berlincourt:
So to answer your question, what's going on with your insurance, I'm happy to help you figure it out. Let's dig into it. It's probably a coverage issue with-

Mimi MacLean:
No, but are you dealing with insurance? For example, say there are chiropractors or acupuncture that don't take insurance or don't want to deal with the insurance. How does that work?

Mimi MacLean:
I guess also, how are you sourcing? Are you proposing every single acupuncture that's in LA? Or do you kind of go through and say, "These are the better ones. These are the ones with experience"?

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah, the better ones. The better ones, the ones that take insurance. There are two ways of doing it.

Krista Berlincourt:
Originally, when we started the company, we were looking one by one. It was like, let's go find an acupuncturist who believes in this vision because they're all private practice and unnetworked. Right? So, let's pull these people together who have only been sort of lone soldiers.

Krista Berlincourt:
That's where the holistic medical field is really interesting. There are roughly 500,000 practitioners. That's huge. That's more than conventional medicine, in terms of doctors, but they're not working in concert, which is interesting.

Krista Berlincourt:
So we were like, "Okay, we're going to have to convince these people who really chose to practice independently, to come together under one roof." Ultimately, we also want them to serve as a referral network to each other so that you can create a holistic medical system.

Krista Berlincourt:
We need them to be open to the idea of conventional physicians referring to them. Because for instance, in Kaiser of California, you have doctors in the conventional world who can write prescriptions for acupuncture. Then where do you go to fill it? You just get stuck.

Krista Berlincourt:
My boyfriend actually had this exact experience. His dad was referred to acupuncture, written a prescription so that it would be covered by his insurance. And then he reached out and was like, "Krista, how do I fix this? I don't know where to find an acupuncturist."

Krista Berlincourt:
Our solution, right now, is really serving that supply side. Where do you go fulfill your needs? But on the backend, we're now having enterprise conversations, where we work with insurance companies to create coverage and network, that they can plug into for their subscriber base, which they have a less human term for that. They call it heads, how many heads.

Krista Berlincourt:
We also can work with healthcare networks to actually bring their entire provider networks on board.

Kensho’s Business Model and Lessons From Raising Capital

Mimi MacLean:
Oh, that's great. Now, where are you actually making money? Where is the business model?

Krista Berlincourt:
Right now, we're doing care matching for free. It's sort of the early-stage company. We flip the switch this fall, where care matching becomes a cost of service, where the provider is paying us for leads. So, we're helping patients navigate.

Krista Berlincourt:
You might come to me and say… well, not necessarily me, but to our company and say, "Hey, I'm suffering from chronic Lyme. I'm looking for a provider who works on bee venom treatment or hyperbaric oxygen therapy or ozone. Who can I find near me?" We'd say, "Oh, cool. Here's these six providers."

Krista Berlincourt:
That just saved you a lot of time. But it also saved those providers a lot of time, because they didn't know how to find you prior.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, they pay per lead on that interchange, which is quite similar to how it would work in a conventional medical system.

Krista Berlincourt:
And then the bigger picture is really the larger enterprise contracts with employers, so privately insured companies. You look at something like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, where they're self-insured. You have private insurance companies, so outside of Medicare/Medicaid, and then we have health care networks.

Krista Berlincourt:
Most interestingly, we just announced our latest fundraising round. And as a by-product of that, we're hearing from… Organizations I never would have thought, are looking for solutions to their holistic coverage, everything from church networks and groups, where they have insureds, were looking for holistic coverage.

Krista Berlincourt:
You start to have what's called a per member per month, PPM. And so you're paying 15, $20 per member per month, for access and support to our healthcare advocates.

Mimi MacLean:
One aspect of your business is becoming like a digital marketing play, I assume, at this point because it would generate leads, eventually. Maybe you're not doing it yet.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. Yeah.

Mimi MacLean:
I see that part where you're going to do that search engine where you're paying for that lead, that you're then turning around and selling it to the practitioner.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. You're not wrong. I think we're lucky to have the founding teams of Airbnb, Instagram, ClassPass as investors and advisors. Those are all search plays, right? So, it's our market network.

Krista Berlincourt:
What do they all get right? You bring the people in, you make it easy to find stuff. For us, we brought the people in and now we need to make it easy to find stuff. It's all just about navigation, ease of use for discovery.

Krista Berlincourt:
So because we are all building businesses in the magical world of the internet, you need to have real estate. For us, it's about building the largest real estate or sort of buying land without actually building up.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, we have more than 2,000 providers on platform, but we've also devised a way of building sort of future real estate for incoming providers.

Krista Berlincourt:
Every provider who's licensed in the country, we have space for them. Which means when you think of our site map, kind of like what's our footprint on the internet, it's more like 500,000.

Krista Berlincourt:
Our SEO is pulling people in, where today, 95% of our traffic is organic, which means we're creating content, but also the profiles.

Krista Berlincourt:
It's like, no matter what I search for, I always hit Amazon. Why? Because their footprint in mass is they're the largest market network, the largest retailer. That means that, no matter what you search for, they're going to bubble up to the top.

Krista Berlincourt:
Our goal is to be the first result, so that no matter what you search for, whether it's an acupuncturist near you or a chiropractor or a holistic gynecologist, you land on Kensho, and then we can help you find that person.

Mimi MacLean:
Right. That's all through SEO.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah, through SEO. It's SEO and content strategy, which is a part of SEO, but it's really the product itself. So early on, there was a strategic decision we had to make of, do we go web or mobile first?

Krista Berlincourt:
There's often questions of, well, why don't you have an app? Because apps don't have SEO. The bummer thing, which that was my last was, I had the luck of being a part of the mobile boom and you're building native experiences. Native experiences are great for consumer delight, but you have zero SEO. So, no one knows you exist.

Krista Berlincourt:
We chose intentionally to go build a web app, which means an online marketplace. Very soon here, we can flip the switch and move it over to the mobile.

Mimi MacLean:
That's great. Now, you mentioned fundraising. It sounds like you already have completed some fundraising. Was that difficult to do?

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. Has anyone ever said fundraising is easy?

Mimi MacLean:
No, they didn't, but I didn't know, maybe from your past experience.

Krista Berlincourt:
I don't think, I know we're lucky to have Female Founders funding one of our investors. The thing that Anu has done, to her credit, is she's actually built a community. Actually, she's hosting a summer camp here in two weeks, which sounds so surreal, that there are even enough female CEOs to come together and have a conversation. That wasn't the case.

Krista Berlincourt:
But it's very transparent, the community is very transparent. And so when you're fundraising, it's not easy for anyone. It doesn't matter how great your company is. The process of fundraising, even if you have offers coming inbound, you still have to make decision on what's right for you.

Krista Berlincourt:
Who do you want to take money from? Are they the right investor? Are they the right people that you want to be tied to for the next 10 years? Are they going to be on your side and supportive when things are challenging? When you're looking to exit, are they on board with your exit strategy?

Krista Berlincourt:
And then the process of simply closing, which is all just crossing your T's and dotting your I's, it's hard. For us, we were originally planning to raise a seed last year, actually the very day that the city of Los Angeles went into lockdown.

Krista Berlincourt:
So when you were preparing to raise, you go into a conversation with… I mean, I'm sure you know this process, but your listeners might not… with your existing investors, your insiders. It's kind of like buying a house. You decide how much you have. How much do we have and how much is it worth and what we want to go buy, in terms of money coming in?

Krista Berlincourt:
We spent the six weeks prior getting aligned. We said, "Okay. We're going to go to market on the 18th of March." Instead, the whole world shut down.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, there was a contraction that was very dramatic as a company, when we were in the midst of what was… We were about to have this massive expansion.

Krista Berlincourt:
I think that was the hardest thing, that as a leader, you're trying to create security and stability for your team. It was a massive time of global insecurity and instability, particularly in healthcare.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, we delayed the decision to raise, in favor of finding the right partners. Rather than bringing in more money and building what was new, we decided to really show up and help people and figure out, how can we deploy the most holistic providers possible during this time of healthcare crisis?

Mimi MacLean:
Right. No, that makes sense.

Krista Berlincourt:
Have you raised?

Mimi MacLean:
No, no, I have not raised for any of my companies. But I mean, I'm an angel investor, so I have given them.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Mimi MacLean:
Talk to me about your team. How many people do you have full time? Did you use a lot of consultants and outsourcing?

Mimi MacLean:
I feel like employees and team building and growing and scaling is a huge hurdle for a lot of entrepreneurs, as they grow their companies.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. I think it's funny. That's the part where I feel most comfortable. That's the part I love.

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah. When I joined Simple, there was a handful of us. And when I left, we were over 400 and were acquired BBVA two years prior to that.

Krista Berlincourt:
I love team building. I went back to school and got a degree as a transformative coach, in transformative psychology. That piece of bringing people together and nurturing what is into what could be, is the coolest part of getting to lead, I think, because you have an opportunity to support people and to help them see more of themselves.

Krista Berlincourt:
Today, we're 10 people full time, and then we do have a team on contract. It's a full stack engineering team, full stack development team, product team.

Krista Berlincourt:
That was really a decision that was made in flight because we wanted to build as quickly as possible, while bringing the right people in full-time.

Krista Berlincourt:
I noticed as I was hiring, after this last infusion of capital came in, I suppose it's a bit like dating or choosing a house, to our conversation earlier of, where do I want to live?

Krista Berlincourt:
When you're choosing based on this scarcity mindset, you start to make bad decisions. You hire someone because they're almost good enough and you really just need someone in the role.

Krista Berlincourt:
I've done that before in other companies. It's like, no, no, we're not going to do that. We'll go slow and bring in this great agency, who's worked together cohesively for years and specifically in healthcare and consumer technology, an emerging sector. And then we'll hire the right people as we go. So, we're actually doing both, working with an agency while hiring full-time.

Mimi MacLean:
That's a good idea. It is difficult to do that. What would say is the hardest lesson you have learned so far or the hardest part of launching your company?

Krista Berlincourt:
I don't know if it's hardest, but I would say the most important thing that I'm reminded of all the time, is the importance of the co-founder relationship.

Krista Berlincourt:
I had an investor actually earlier this year… I was going to say last year, because 2021 feels like it's been three years, given the world. He was wonderful to speak to and quite a storyteller in the way that he spoke. He said, "At best, you're only ever going to have a you shaped company." That means that, no matter what happens, I'll have a Krista-shaped company.

Krista Berlincourt:
I think, understanding how important your energy is and your stability and your passion and your clarity, particularly in the COC. I know that one of the best decisions we've ever made is bringing in a really strong executive coach… shout out to Kat [Augustana 00:21:44], but it's a big line item for us, financially. She's really good at what she does.

Krista Berlincourt:
But when you start to notice behavioral patterns that are either avoidance or where you're not charging forward as fast as you could be, because companies are really just groups of people making something that didn't exist before, particularly in a startup.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, if you can support people to get out of their own way, you have a much better company. It's more fun to work in. It's more profitable. There's more revenue. You're not working as hard. You're working smarter.

Krista Berlincourt:
I think I learned that a lot at Simple. We dedicated capital to scaling the team after we sold to BBVA. That was a really strategic decision, to support the growth of anyone who has mid-level management or higher. But it's hard to do that for yourself.

Krista Berlincourt:
Would I pay for it for my team? A hundred percent, without a question. But when it comes to putting the capital towards yourself as a leader, which my friends who are moms say, it's the same thing as a mom.

Krista Berlincourt:
You buy your kids anything, but buying yourself a spa day I'm like, "I don't know. $300. Do I really need this massage?" But if your kid said, "I want this backpack," you just swipe the card and don't think twice. I think that's the hardest lesson.

Being a Female CEO, Business Partners & Her Advice for Those Who Want to Start

Mimi MacLean:
As a follow-up to what you were just talking about, do both of you have the same executive coach, or is it recommended that you typically have a different one, since you guys are both founders?

Krista Berlincourt:
Well, it's funny you ask that because I am also a coach. I only have one client in practice right now because life is pretty full, but we have the same coach and strategically so.
So, I actually would recommend having the same coach because you're working on a relationship, not just yourself independently because it's co-founded.
If I was looking at an entire executive team, I might split it up. But in this case, the success of the company and the solidity of the company also rests in the solidity of that relationship.

We have a separate session each and then we have a session together. I have a session, he has a session, we come together. I would do it that way over and over again because much like a couple's therapist, that person is keeping you accountable and honest about what you brought up in your independent session. So, nothing is ever going missing.

She'll push us to say, "Hey, you guys need to go have this conversation. You need to make this decision. You need to come together. You need to break out of this cycle. What if you guys did this?" We move so much faster.

Mimi MacLean:
Interesting, because you would think it'd be like the third friend, or where you would feel like you were kind of talking to them behind their back, and then they're going to go talk to about you behind your back, and then let's get together. I don't know.

Krista Berlincourt:
I think it would if we didn't… I would say we're already a 9.5 out of 10, in terms of radical beyond that. My co-founder, I'm lucky enough that we love each other as human beings. Our relationship is kind of like siblings, who actually like each other, adult siblings when you grow out of your young sibling do.

Krista Berlincourt:
We're there for each other and everything that comes up in life. So, there's not sweeping under the rug, but there's an opportunity to push further. It's very growth-oriented coaching, rather than sort of rehabilitative or therapeutic coaching because something's wrong. It's more like, how could we be better? What could be more right? What could we do to 10X this week?

Mimi MacLean:
Right. What would you say being a therapeutic coach… you were kind of talking about earlier with your team and inspiring them? Any suggestions? Because I know a lot of people really love to hear about that, because there's a lot of self-doubt and a lot of insecurities for people.

Mimi MacLean:
Is there anything, especially being all online now… I don't know if you guys are back working together as a team, but how do you-

Krista Berlincourt:
No, we're fully remote.

Mimi MacLean:
Yeah. How do you keep that environment and that company growth that you were talking about, going?

Krista Berlincourt:
You're doing it here with your podcast, which is you're having human conversations with people, where I think ideally, we have to remember that you're just as human as I am. So, everything that I go through in a given day that's good, that's bad, that's full of doubt or wonder, amazement, we all go through the same emotions.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, for me, it's about creating a culture and an environment where you just understand that, that is the baseline. We're all human.

Krista Berlincourt:
As a brand, we're really dedicated to making healthcare more human. So, when you're allowed to come with all that you are as a person to work, there's a very different tone and tenor. It's not a place where you're expected to put on a blazer and pretend that everything's fine. That doesn't work, being online.

Krista Berlincourt:
I heard from so many CEOs during COVID, where their cultures were falling apart because they had built sort of like an artifice on top, of coming into the office and trying to stuff away what's going on in your personal life. Life is just life. It used to be work from home and now it's live at work. We're all home, all the time.

Krista Berlincourt:
So, I think that transparency, culture of candor, of transparency and communication. Communication is the backbone of everything, in all of life, I would say, in all relationships. Because it's, how do we show in relation to?

Krista Berlincourt:
Helping people develop their communication and making sure that the culture is communicative, that people are proactively reaching out to each other, that they feel it's a safe environment to reach out. And then we have fun.

Krista Berlincourt:
That, again is, why would you want to go to work and have a terrible time? We don't have to. It's no longer the status quo.

Krista Berlincourt:
So in my opinion, that humanity. The question of, how can you make this feel more human? How can you make the work environment feel more like your best relationship, where you feel safest? Whether that's your marriage or your kids, or a close friendship, if work feels very, very different from that, then we have a problem, because that means that work doesn't feel all of those things that you feel when you're in a safe environment.

Mimi MacLean:
Right. But communicating takes a lot of time, obviously. As an entrepreneur, I've heard a lot from people. I think most entrepreneurs tend to move super fast. So, you're picking up the pieces and this issue happened and that issue happened. So, slowing down, to making sure that you're creating that communication that you want to.

Mimi MacLean:
Is that something that, it happens every day or is that something that, once a week we get together as a team? Just if you could give the specifics, because I think a lot of people struggle with slowing down.

Krista Berlincourt:
Totally. I think slowing down is important. It's really like, what's the sacred space? I think family structures teach us a lot of that.

Krista Berlincourt:
I don't know that it's necessarily traditional, but things that are proven to build strong families are having some sort of period of check-in, that's habituated and constant, that forces a slowdown.

Krista Berlincourt:
For some families, it's dinner. For my family, growing up, it was the morning time, not the dinner time, but it's whatever that looks like.

Krista Berlincourt:
For us, we come together on Monday mornings and we have a check-in. It's really where we establish, what are your priorities for the week?

Krista Berlincourt:
We share our top priorities. Those go into a Monday board, which is very tactical. That means they're on display for the entire company. So, everyone knows what everyone else's top priorities are.

Krista Berlincourt:
Well, what's the point of that? Then you know if your priorities are in conflict. You know if someone else's priority is tied to one of your priorities. You can start thinking about how you should work together, in order to move things faster, more effectively, in concert as a team.

Krista Berlincourt:
We also have a practice that is used in coaching called checking in, which is you ask the simple question of, what are you thinking and what are you feeling?

Krista Berlincourt:
It's very basic, but so strategic because often, we come into the week and there's an entanglement of the two. I'm thinking about how much I need to get done, but I'm feeling really sad about the loss of a family member or frustrated about a pipe that's broken in my house, whatever it is.

Krista Berlincourt:
So again, creating an environment where people get to be human and share what's going on for me, because we're not in an office. If I was sitting next to you, I could see that you're having a bad day and I'd say, "Hey, Mimi. What's up?," but I won't see that.

Krista Berlincourt:
So again, checking in at the beginning of the week, in a very human way, that's also practical and pragmatic.

Krista Berlincourt:
Then, we close the week with an all hands. All hands is for more strategic, higher level business conversations, largely around making sure that people understand, where are we going, how are we getting there and what's your role in that? Making sure that we're sharing out all of the information.

Krista Berlincourt:
I mean, it's something that at Simple, that we really excelled at, having such a high growth team. 400 people from 10 is a big shift in four years.

Krista Berlincourt:
The other is having channels that are open and communicative. So we use Slack, which is always on. People can chat back and forth.

Krista Berlincourt:
People do set offline hours. I think boundaries are very important. Much like a personal relationship, if you have no boundaries, it's bound to end. Someone will be upset.

Krista Berlincourt:
We also use voice notes. They can be really useful. We have team members in different time zones. We have one person who's in the Grand Canary islands. He's working ahead of us, into the future, as I like to say.

Krista Berlincourt:
It's very easy to hand off at the end of the day and say, "Hey Krista, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Thought about this, this, this, this, this." That's so much quicker than writing a 400 word flat. No one wants to read that. It then removes the sort of resentment that anyone feels when they have to go write a very long message.

Krista Berlincourt:
We're just speaking to each other. We call each other. We communicate freely, fluidly, but with structure.

Mimi MacLean:
Right. The voice message, you do on Slack as well, or do you use a different technology?

Krista Berlincourt:
Yeah, you can do voice messages on Slack. You can call on Slack. It's all enabled. I think voice message is a newer feature on Slack, but we also use our cell phones. My co-founder and I call each other all the time, little check-ins, one minute. It doesn't have to be long.

Mimi MacLean:
I love how you break everything down and just make it so simple. It's like a good action step, that are very tangible.

Mimi MacLean:
Just to close, what other kind of advice or what would you suggest for anybody that's either just starting out or is thinking about starting their own company as a female CEO?

Krista Berlincourt:
I think it's to look at yourself as just a CEO and to make sure that you honor the part of you that is a woman, because it is a different experience. I mean, it just is.

Krista Berlincourt:
I can't even begin to count the number of times that I went into a fundraising conversation with my co-founder and someone addressed him first because he was the man. But each and every time, he would divert them to me. So, I think it's two things.

Krista Berlincourt:
Honor the fact that you're a woman. Find your supporters. Make sure that you're with the right partners. Not that it needs to be gendered, but that's so important. Whoever your co-founder is, make sure that they are the person you need to work with and that you balance each other out.

Krista Berlincourt:
It doesn't necessarily mean gender, but skillset, energy, experience, vision for the future. Make sure that you're bringing two people together.

Krista Berlincourt:
And then the biggest one for me early on, was just find your believers. Who's your champion? Early on, you don't have a team. So, who else cares about what you're doing?

Krista Berlincourt:
It is lonely when you are a party of one and you care deeply about building something into the world that doesn't exist. So your friends, your family, the former coworkers, other people who are passionate about the problem that you're solving, the more that you can galvanize that community, the more likely you are to keep going.

Krista Berlincourt:
I came from a family that is not white collar knowledge workers. My parents have small businesses in the service industry. They were like, "Sure, we think you're building something. We have no idea what it is."

Krista Berlincourt:
So, my friends were where that thing for me. They were the supporters and the champions. They kept me going when I was working at a kitchen table, sitting on my couch.

Mimi MacLean:
That's great. Well, I wish you the best of luck.

Krista Berlincourt:
Thank you.

Mimi MacLean:
This has been amazing. I really appreciate your time. So, thank you so much. And for anybody who would like to check them out and look for their next holistic practitioner or healthcare practitioner, KenshoHealth.com is where you would want to go. K-E-N-S-H-O Health.com. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Krista Berlincourt:
Thank you so much. Really great. Appreciate it, Mimi.

Mimi MacLean:
Thank you for joining us on The Badass CEO. To get your copy of the Top 10 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know, go to TheBadassCEO.com/tips. Also, please leave a review, as it helps others find us.

Mimi MacLean:
If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them. So, email me at Mimi@TheBadassCEO.com. See you next week and thank you for listening.

Kensho Website

Kensho Instagram

Krista’s Instagram

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