Mixtape podcast: Wellness in the time of the struggle 

We’re back with another episode of Mixtape. This week Marah Lidey, co-founder and co-CEO of Shine, joins us to discuss mental health, venture capital, portfolio diversity and connecting with other founders trying to make it all work.

It’s easy to look at 2020 and identify perfectly valid reasons to pursue mental health. But that’s not the right way to think about it. Mental health just is. It’s for everyone, every day — no matter what fresh hell is going on in the world.

And it doesn’t have to take the form of therapy once, or even twice, per week. Stretch for five minutes after waking up or when you need to get away from your computer. Sit with your eyes closed. Chat with a friend. Or, if it’s your thing, go ahead and find some therapy. Do you.

Lidey says Shine seeks to make wellness accessible, and that is something that is becoming more and more necessary.

“Since we started, we’ve been on this mission to make caring for your mental and emotional health easier, more inclusive and more representative than it’s ever been,” Lidey tells us, referring to the premise she and her co-founder Naomi Hirabayashi designed for Shine.

It’s the company’s focus on inclusivity that sets it apart from other wellness apps on the market. Lidey says she and Hirabayashi met in New York while working at a nonprofit 10 years ago. They bonded on the shared feeling of alienation resulting from the need to subdue their intersectional identities.

“When I found myself in New York, and this cool job a few years later, and I was one of the only senior women of color in my environment on this management team, I was struggling, like I said, to kind of reconcile who I was and who I was expressing myself as in this new environment — the things that I would maybe subdue about myself or hide or, you know, feel like I couldn’t fully express,” Lidey says. “And a lot of the messaging that I think we get, that’s where me and my now co-founder really bonded.”

This year has also come with an awakening of sorts around diversity, or lack thereof, in the workplace, and diversity, or lack thereof, in venture capital. We’ll have to wait to see how long it lasts, but Lidey does recognize the efforts by some firms that have taken a look at their portfolios and had a bit of an “oh shit” moment.

“What people recognized was not just the accountability that they were going to be held to for maybe the first time, but also what they were missing out on,” Lidey says. “They don’t have any perspectives on their teams for how to deal with this and how to navigate it and how to support maybe their founders or how to support the wider community or how to be relevant right now. People, I think, were struggling with that.”

Click play above for the entire chat. It’s a good one. And while you’re at it, subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.