It’s not hard to see that the reputation of American CEOs has gone down the drain in recent years. Decades of greed and profit maximizing has led many Americans to believe that the upper echelon of corporate culture exists only to hoard as much money as possible while the people on the bottom rung of the financial ladder are struggling to make ends meet. News stories like Jeff Bezos using his personal wealth to shoot himself into space certainly don’t contradict the common narrative that CEOs are practically villains from a James Bond movie.
In fact, this is not really the case. CEOs like Johnwick Nathan, a rising figure in the mental health care industry show us that it’s possible to run a company while keeping the wellbeing of your employees and clients at the forefront of your mind. Johnwick’s been helping people out of tough spots for a long time, both in America and abroad in Africa, where he was recently inducted into the royalty of a Ghanaian tribe for his contribution to the mental health services in Ghana.
Throughout his life, he’s lived by a set of guiding principles, which he believes can help anyone find personal success while raising up your community.
An Introduction to Community
Johnwick was born in Haiti. He moved to the US with his mother and his five siblings, an early supportive community that inspired his support of his community down the line. His love for music has always been a positive influence on his life, and he started playing the piano and the guitar in his local church in Hudson, NY when he was a young child. These early communities supported his passion and encouraged him to pursue his dreams.
He came to the conclusion early in his life that he wanted to become a famous musician. Shortly after college he moved to Indiana to study worship at a Bible College. His experience playing music in churches was formative, but due to financial trouble, he had to drop out of college early on.
During his period away from education, he started a gospel music group with his sister called Arise. They saw some early success and released two EPs over the course of a couple years, but Johnwick came to the conclusion that he needed further education if he wanted to break new ground with his music.
He moved all the way to Arizona to study at CRAS Recording School in Tempe. It was here in Tempe that Johnwick came across a new passion, in a highly unexpected way. To pay his tuition during school, he started working as a behavioral health technician at a local group home for addicts. The feeling of working one-on-one with real people, and helping them get out of the toughest spots in their lives, was something Johnwick had never experienced.
“Doing that, it changed my life. And at that moment I said ‘you know what? I think this is what I want to do,’” he said. “To be able to see a person change; that’s like watching a child be raised. When you have a child and he or she grows up and you’re like ‘man, I really did a great job.’” He had been involved in many communities throughout his life, but now he found that he could make a living while supporting his local community.
After he graduated with his degree in music engineering, he made it his mission to start his own group home for addicts and people suffering from mental illness. He had grown close to the people of Arizona, and he saw the need for more facilities like the one he worked at.
It took a lot of struggling and saving, but in 2017 he founded his first group home. He found that his group home largely served the native American community of Arizona, a fact he is proud of. An estimated 5% of Arizonians are indigineous people, and Johnwick sought to assist this disadvantaged community.
Since his first group home, he has since opened 5 more as well as additional mental healthcare facilities, all under the umbrella of his healthcare company Harbor Health Integrated Care. Every one of his expansions continues to serve the needs of the native American community of Arizona.
Unfortunately many of the people who need help the most are the least likely to seek it out. Johnwick found that the best way to get these struggling folks the help they need is to create an attitude as welcoming and non-judgemental as possible and he went so far as to learn some of the native language to better welcome his clients.
Harbor Health has become a symbol for hope in Johnwick’s community in Arizona, and in continuing to spread his caring attitude to mental health services across the world, he set his sights on Ghana. Ghana is taking a continuously larger role on the world stage, and as it’s economy grows, a mental health crisis has started to form in the country. Approximately 650,000 Ghanaians are struggling with severe mental illness, and millions more have moderate to mild symptoms.
Just as is the case in America, there is a significant stigma against receiving treatment for mental illness in Ghana. Johnwick is in Ghana right now, working to end this stigma and bolster the mental healthcare services provided to citizens. In collaboration with the charitable foundation he started early this year, the Nathan Foundation, he also donated badly needed resources to working mental healthcare facilities in Ghana. He’s still in Ghana meeting with experts and officials, and planning to build a new mental hospital there.
During his trip, unexpectedly given his propensity for finding new communities, Johnwick made personal connections with many of the people he met. The Ga-Adangbe tribe in Ghana was one of Johnwick’s specific focuses. The Ga-Adangbe people greatly appreciated his efforts, and they granted him a royal appellation as a result of his contributions – they dubbed him Nii Borlabi Tesaa I. This royal title not only solidifies his position in their community, but guarantees his continued support of mental healthcare facilities in Ghana.
Johnwick believes that you can’t be truly successful unless you work hard to improve the lives of the people around you. By directly tying his own success with the success of his clients, he’s made sure that the health of his community is always at the forefront of his mind.
He believes that some of the key principles he follows could help spread this message across the world, so he wrote a book called 12 Principles for Soulful Success. He presented this book at the University of Accra in Ghana, in the hopes that he can cultivate a new generation of empathetic businessmen and women in the country.