As the CEO of a tech startup, Joan Low has learned to live with having a lot on her plate, sometimes attending up to 10 back-to-back calls and meetings in a single day.
Adding to this pressure is the fact that her company, ThoughtFull, is all about making end-to-end mental healthcare more accessible and affordable in Asia. Hearing her story, one might be tempted to ask if, paradoxically, Low’s work has ever taken a toll on her own mental health.
“I’ll admit, it was tough at the beginning,” she says. “You start taking on the weight of other people's mental health stories. It’s ok with ten people, but then it becomes a hundred, then a thousand and then ten thousand and you realise it’s a lot.”
“Being purposeful is important, otherwise as a founder and 'chief everything officer', you get pulled in all directions and your energy spreads so thin that you burnout. Being mindful of how I manage my energy and my time is something I definitely prioritise, but it’s still a work in progress. No one’s perfect.”
Low is no stranger to high-performance environments, mind you. A former banker at J.P. Morgan in Hong Kong, she managed portfolios of over US$1.3 billion for clients across North Asia and was part of the pioneering team that expanded the bank’s hedge fund and private equity services in Asia for six years.