The moment I met Brad for the first time, I was excited. I was also nervous. It was kind of like the feeling you have when you put the seatbelt on after getting into a roller coaster. I was nervous and excited because I knew that if I hired him on as our Chief Marketing Officer, our company would never be the same. Here was a man who led with his whole heart — while also being a formidable, business-oriented operator.

We had a few conversations throughout the interview process. In one conversation, I confessed that I had a hard time with emotions. I know, ironic for a CEO leading a company about mental wellness. But as a young, female CEO, I’ve been self-conscious about coming across as “too emotional” and potentially overcompensated in my leadership style. Leading with my whole self — with all the humanness and messiness and spectrum of emotions — was uncharted territory for me.

I was intrigued and inspired by this person who presented as wholly himself. His emotional range was apparent from the moment we met. At the end of his interview process, he shared this video from the singer-songwriter duo “The Bengsons” inspiring us to keep going on. Brad proclaimed that the spirit of this song would embody the brand he wanted to build at Spring Health. The video moved me. It powerfully reminded me that deep, human empathy was at the core of my motivation for building Spring Health. Brad wanted me and the rest of the company to be unapologetic about this. I knew he was onto something potentially big, so I followed my gut, which was telling me loud and clear: I needed him onboard.

As soon as he joined, the entire company felt like it was swept up and levitated by his buoyancy and light. The impact of his presence was palpable. In his first 30 days, he sprinted with impressive speed to clarify our existing brand and gave a presentation to our entire company. In that presentation, he shared, “Brand is a promise to your customer. Culture is how you deliver on it.” This was a lesson imprinted on him by CEO Didier Elzinga from his time working alongside Didier at Culture Amp.

He was clear and emphatic in his declaration that in order for him to transform and amplify our brand, we needed to transform our culture. In taking radical ownership of his mandate — to create a lasting, consequential brand — he was taking ownership of the company’s culture as well.

Meanwhile, I was knee-deep in a search to find Spring Health’s future Chief People Officer. I wanted to find a world-class people leader who could serve as a strong employee advocate and drive the most fulfilling employee experience possible.

We spent a quarter talking to some exceptional CPOs. Over the course of the process, I came to realize that we already had a tremendous employee advocate in our midst: Brad. It was clear he was much more than a CMO. He was infusing the organization with energy and holding the executive team and me accountable for acting in accordance with our values. He did this with a rare combination of razor sharp discipline, clarity and compassion. I started to see his potential as a people leader as far exceeding the potential of some of the world-class CPOs I was talking to.

As soon as I raised the possibility with him, it turned into something magical. Not only did the suggestion land very well initially, but the excitement grew for both him and me as we talked about the opportunity more deeply. We were starkly realistic about the challenges and gaps that may exist in our people operations and in our culture that we would need to tackle together. We talked about the complex, “less soft” stuff like compensation philosophies, bands, policies, and career ladders. And instead of leaning out, he leaned in — more and more and more.

Brad was really made for this role. As an accomplished executive, Brad has highly relevant experience for this role. He served for 3.5 years as SVP Brand & Marketing at Culture Amp, where he became a subject matter expert in the science of culture-building. Prior to that he was CEO of Live Grey and founded the Life@work conference series, guiding HR leaders on how to build human-first cultures that unlock high performance. Brad is a certified conscious leadership coach and naturally gravitates towards People Ops and Culture. He cares deeply about mental health, our company, and building community internally & externally. He has already invested significant time into culture-building initiatives. He became an active member of Spring Healthy, our cross functional committee focused on our culture. He also ran a transformative Executive Off-site in March for us — all alongside his core marketing duties.

Last but not least, I know that Brad has a deep passion for serving dually as Chief Marketing and People Officer. The synergies between marketing and people represent an electric opportunity for Spring Health to be truly innovative. We are advocating that brands make mental health fundamental. We are leaning into Chief People Officers to take this bold step with us. This is also why we believe bringing these two disciplines together inside Spring Health will help us continue building a company that strives for impeccable integrity in our brand and culture. I have the utmost confidence that Brad will transform our company profoundly in this next phase of growth, and I am very grateful that Brad has stepped into this light.

Thank you, Brad. Spring Health thanks you and welcomes you into paving a new path ahead as our Chief People & Marketing Officer.

If you want to join me + Brad and you’re passionate about making mental health fundamental, we are hiring! Check out all of our openings here.

April Koh
April Koh

April Koh is the CEO & Co-founder of Spring Health.

May 3, 2021