Disruptors. They are the few and the fierce. In our series, Leading between the Lines, I have the opportunity, and the pleasure, of meeting with some of South Florida’s most dynamic female business leaders, ones who are disrupting their industry, approaching things in a new way, solving new problems, and effectively pushing the status quo into a new frontier. I want to learn about their journey, what it really takes, what they’re actually up against, and how it feels each step along the way. Meet Dr. Sarah Haynes, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Dr. Haynes Collective and CoachEra.
As a youth growing up in one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Dr. Haynes learned to adapt to varied cultural norms to become a servant leader. At age 29, she earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. At 31, she earned a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgetown School of Medicine and was invited to join the full-time faculty on the Applied Research track. At 35, she was a tenured professor. And at 45, Dr. Haynes was recruited to Silicon Valley to join a leading venture capital firm with $650+ million under management that invested in 18+ game-changing unicorns.
Not your most conventional journey into tech.
As Chief of Staff, she served on committees to track and research investments in Uber, Airbnb, Cue Health, Curology, Pill Pack, Doctors on Demand, Slack, Ipsy and Virgin Hyperloop One. She cultivated relationships with LP investors and portfolio founders to support continued long-term growth toward IPO. Additional endeavors include Founder, CEO, Chair, and COO roles with Pishevar Family Office, Pishevar Haynes Foundation, Bolt Mobility (with co-founder Usain Bolt) and the DHC. After serving on the UNICEF Steering Committee, Dr. Haynes joined the UNICEF Board of Directors in 2020.
Dr. Haynes is a tech entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an educator/professor, an activist, a community builder, a volunteer and a mother. She combined all of these varied disciplines, mindsets and strategies to collaborate with her Community, toward maximizing happiness and balance. And if you’re an ambitious and value-driven individual or organization seeking to execute at the highest level, Dr. Haynes and her power- house Collective of leading experts can help you achieve your ultimate vision.
Read my full interview with Dr. Haynes for a glimpse into her inspiring journey.
Romi: What motivated you to get into the tech space?
Dr. Haynes: My career trajectory into tech is unconventional and unique. My thesis and goals have always been to make the most impact within a short amount of time. I was a postdoctoral clinical research fellow at the Emory School of Medicine doing neuropsychological testing for sickle cell anemia at Grady Hospital and cystic fibrosis clinical research protocols to train individuals to navigate the broken health system.
What led to the decision to choose tech? As a child of war and revolution, I know how temporary everything is in life and every minute matters when you want to make the biggest impact. I was curious to study resilient people and understand their strengths and coping strategies. Community, laughter, faith , and hope are critical to healing optimally. I saw technology as the path to bringing science and healing to more people- and thus creating the largest impact. I’ve always been open to new challenges and growth opportunities to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. Technology was that stretch.
Romi: What influences and inspires you?
Dr. Haynes: My family. My sons and my parents. Building a more efficient tomorrow- to be able to have more time to spend is so important.
Romi: What has been your proudest achievement? And why?
Dr. Haynes: I have many outward achievements, but to me, my ability to face adversity and raise my sons through repeated traumatic incidents (that would break most) while still managing to complete my Ph.D. on time- that will always be my proudest accomplishment.
Romi: ‘The ability to face adversity’- that is something so many of us struggle with at times. How have you coped with challenges, or perhaps, failures (if any)? And how have they impacted you?
Dr. Haynes: There were many setbacks but I never saw them as failures - only lessons to learn from. I trusted many people and gave them access despite my better judgment. I have learned to trust my intuition and gut reaction about people.
Romi: What is a common challenge for your clients and how does Dr. Haynes Collective and CoachEra uniquely solve this problem?
Dr. Haynes: Traditionally, access to executive coaching has only been afforded to those leaders that are already in the c-suite. CoachEra democratizes access to this high level coaching. Through a SaaS (software as a service) model, our program is easily accessible to more people so they can ascend into these leadership roles.
As a licensed clinical psychologist with a degree in behavioral science and organizational psychology, a business operator, an investor, and an executive coach, these perspectives bring unique elements that make my program different- more comprehensive- compared to other executive coaching programs available. The program provides the science, data, and values driven roadmap to make ideal outcomes actionable.
Through our retreats and gatherings of thought leaders, we have bridged the gap between the digital and physical worlds, to engage, attract, and retain our community. It is truly a hybrid approach to meet modern professionals where they are.
Romi: What is the biggest mistake people make when considering coaching and exploring coaching programs?
Dr. Haynes: Today there are many coaches- anyone can be a coach, but few have a proven program, backed by science, with real results to showcase. Before enrolling in a program, you need to ask about its track record for success. CoachEra is rooted in behavioral science, integrating professional and personal goals in order to maximize ROI for either an enterprise or an individual in a B2B2C model.
Romi: It’s interesting that you say ‘Today there are many coaches- anyone can be a coach’. The industry has seen enormous growth. What do you think the future of the coaching industry will look like?
Dr. Haynes: There is lots of noise and chaos right now, but the future is bright because of those who have the ability to add measurable impact and domain expertise.
Romi: How could someone ‘add impact’ to the industry? What steps or advice would you give other professionals who want to be successful in coaching or are embarking on a similar professional journey?
Dr. Haynes: Number one- Be open to new opportunities that come up that you were not expecting because you never know where it will lead you and how it can impact the legacy you leave behind.
And number 2- Don’t try to treat people’s trauma through coaching, especially if you don’t have a license to practice psychiatry or psychology. Not only is it illegal, but you can do harm just by asking them about their trauma. You may be a gifted coach and a good listener, but once someone opens up a wound, you have to have the training to help them heal it and ensure that they are not left open and vulnerable.
Romi: What has surprised you most on this journey?
Dr. Haynes: I was surprised at how many underestimated me. But I was also surprised by the kindness I have been shown by others.