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  • Writer's pictureRob Neilson

Navigating Capital As A Woman: Kathryn Walker Of Revitalist

Lifestyle and Wellness On Top Strategies for Women Founders, CEOs and Leaders Seeking Institutional Investments

Build a Strong TeamInvestors look for a capable and resilient team. Highlighting the expertise and dedication of my team was crucial in securing funding.

Despite making remarkable strides in the business world, women continue to face unique challenges when seeking institutional investment. In this series we would like to discuss the process of securing capital from institutional investors, and provide actionable strategies to help women founders, CEOs, and leaders navigate this critical aspect of business growth successfully. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathryn Walker, CEO at Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness.

Kathryn Walker is the CEO of Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness, a leading mental health and wellness company with a team of specialty providers. She practiced anesthesia for eight years before founding the first Revitalist location in Knoxville, TN, in 2018, and is a strong advocate for psychedelic medicine, recently earning her second Master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing. Kathryn also founded the Community Change Foundation and the American Association of Psychedelics, focusing on providing financial assistance for psychedelic therapies and advancing education and training in the field.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I have always been drawn to the medical field, driven by a deep-rooted compassion and curiosity about the human condition. My journey began in a Level 1 Trauma Center in Tennessee, where I spent nine transformative years dealing with a broad spectrum of health crises. This experience highlighted the interconnectedness of mental and physical health and inspired me to pursue a more holistic approach to patient care. My desire to offer comprehensive, personalized care led me to further specialize in anesthesia and later, psychiatric nursing, culminating in the founding of Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One of the most interesting experiences since starting my career was witnessing the transformative impact of psychedelic therapies. I remember a patient who had been struggling with treatment-resistant depression for years. After undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, the improvement in their mental health was profound. This reinforced my belief in the potential of psychedelic substances to facilitate significant healing and inspired me to advocate more strongly for these therapies.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In the early days of my career, I once mistakenly called a patient’s family member by the wrong name during a critical care update. It was an embarrassing moment, but it taught me the importance of attention to detail and the human element in healthcare. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to ensure I am fully present and attentive during patient and family interactions.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am particularly grateful to my mentor during my anesthesia training, Dr. John Camp. He provided unwavering support and invaluable guidance throughout my education and early career. I remember him encouraging me to explore the psychological aspects of patient care, which eventually led me to pursue psychiatric nursing and integrate it into my practice.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk had a profound impact on me. The book’s exploration of how trauma affects the body and mind resonated deeply with my experiences in critical care and my observations of patients’ struggles. It underscored the necessity of a holistic approach to treatment, validating the path I was already on and inspiring me to delve deeper into trauma-informed care.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Through Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness, I have focused on making innovative and comprehensive mental health care accessible. I also founded the Community Change Foundation and the American Association of Psychedelics to provide financial assistance for psychedelic therapies and advance education and training in this field. These initiatives aim to improve the quality of mental health care and make it available to those who need it most.

What do you think needs to change in the investment landscape to support more women entrepreneurs?

The investment landscape needs to embrace more diverse perspectives and recognize the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face. Creating more women-led investment funds, offering mentorship programs, and establishing networks that connect women entrepreneurs with potential investors can significantly support women in the business world.

Can you share a defining moment in your journey to secure institutional investment? What was a key lesson you learned from that experience that other women can apply in their funding efforts?

A defining moment was during the pitch for Revitalist’s expansion. Despite initial skepticism, our data on patient outcomes and growth projections won the investors over. The key lesson is to be well-prepared and confident in your data and vision. Persistence and belief in your mission are crucial.

In your experience, what key factors do institutional investors look for in women-led startups that may differ from their general investment criteria?

Institutional investors often look for clear evidence of market demand, robust business plans, and strong leadership. For women-led startups, demonstrating resilience, adaptability, and a strong team can be particularly compelling, as these attributes can address any biases regarding the challenges women may face in business.

How do you build and leverage networks to gain access to institutional investors interested in supporting women-led businesses?

Building a strong network involves active participation in industry conferences, joining professional organizations, and seeking mentorship. Leveraging these networks by sharing your vision and successes can attract the attention of institutional investors. It’s also beneficial to connect with other women entrepreneurs who can provide introductions and support.

How have you navigated the negotiation process with institutional investors to ensure fair valuation and terms for your company?

Navigating the negotiation process involves thorough preparation, understanding your company’s worth, and being clear about your terms. I sought advice from mentors and financial advisors to ensure I was well-prepared. It’s important to stay firm on your valuation and the terms that align with your company’s mission and long-term goals.

Can you please share your “Top 5 Strategies for Women Founders, CEOs and Leaders Seeking Institutional Investments”?

1. Be Prepared and Know Your Numbers

When I pitched Revitalist, I had comprehensive data on patient outcomes and financial projections. This preparedness impressed investors and demonstrated our potential for growth.

2. Build a Strong Team

Investors look for a capable and resilient team. Highlighting the expertise and dedication of my team was crucial in securing funding.

3. Network Actively

Attending industry conferences and joining professional groups helped me connect with potential investors. Networking provides valuable opportunities for introductions and insights.

4. Seek Mentorship and Advice

Mentors like Dr. Thompson provided invaluable guidance and support. Their experience can help navigate challenges and refine your approach.

5. Stay True to Your Mission

Our commitment to holistic, patient-centered care was a cornerstone of our pitch. Staying true to your mission and values can resonate strongly with investors who share your vision.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would inspire a movement focused on integrating holistic mental health care into mainstream healthcare. This would involve advocating for the use of psychedelic therapies, promoting trauma-informed care, and ensuring mental health services are accessible to all. This approach can transform lives by addressing the root causes of mental health issues and promoting overall well-being.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to have a private breakfast with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. His work on trauma has profoundly influenced my approach to mental health care, and I would value the opportunity to discuss how we can further integrate trauma-informed practices into mainstream healthcare.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can follow my work through the Revitalist Lifestyle and Wellness website, our blog, and my social media profiles on LinkedIn and Instagram. Additionally, subscribing to our newsletter will provide updates on our latest research, events, and initiatives in psychedelic wellness.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey and insights. I hope my experiences can inspire and support others in their pursuit of holistic health and entrepreneurial success.

About The Interviewer: Vanessa Ogle is a mom, entrepreneur, inventor, writer, and singer/songwriter. Vanessa’s talent in building world-class leadership teams focused on diversity, a culture of service, and innovation through inclusion allowed her to be one of the most acclaimed Latina CEO’s in the last 30 years. She collaborated with the world’s leading technology and content companies such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Broadcom to bring innovative solutions to travelers and hotels around the world. Vanessa is the lead inventor on 120+ U.S. Patents. Accolades include: FAST 100, Entrepreneur 360 Best Companies, Inc. 500 and then another six times on the Inc. 5000. Vanessa was personally honored with Inc. 100 Female Founder’s Award, Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Enterprising Women of the Year among others. Vanessa now spends her time sharing stories to inspire and give hope through articles, speaking engagements and music. In her spare time she writes and plays music in the Amazon best selling new band HigherHill, teaches surfing clinics, trains dogs, and cheers on her children.

Please connect with Vanessa here on linkedin and subscribe to her newsletter Unplugged as well as follow her on Substack, Instagram, Facebook, and X and of course on her website VanessaOgle.

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