In 2012, Roni Frank started Talkspace with her husband. In fact, it was their experience in couples therapy, plus Frank’s own individual work with a counselor, that helped inspire the vision for the company. Today, the app has matched 2 million clients with therapists in all 50 states. In a recent live Office Hours, the Co-Founder and Head of Clinical Services described her journey from unfulfilled software developer to inspired entrepreneur. She also shared how Talkspace pivoted to handle explosive growth as a result of the widespread stress, anxiety, and trauma of the pandemic, and what it’s doing now to maintain momentum. Not surprisingly, Frank has even more hard-won wisdom to spare. In a bonus Q&A, we asked her about the daily practices that help her flourish as a leader, a working parent and the everyday person.
Self-care & Attitude
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care is about prioritizing yourself and the things that make you feel good. For me personally, it’s all about sleeping well (this is *really* important), eating as healthy as possible, practicing some yoga, spending time with my family, and touching base with my therapist. What works for me may not work well for others, so it’s important to experiment and find the things that work best for you as an individual.
How do you create a positive attitude for yourself?
I have a gratitude practice that has become incredibly important to me, especially over the last year. Every night, I think about three things I’m grateful for –– I’ve found that it helps cultivate a positive attitude and reroute negative thinking. It’s also something I now do with my daughters!
Do you have a mindfulness practice? If so, what is it?
I try to take a mindful approach as I navigate life’s challenges. For instance, if I fail or make a mistake, I always ask myself, “What can I learn from this experience?” My mistakes have become some of my greatest teachers as they provide SO many insights and growth opportunities!
How do you “turn off” at the end of the day?
I LOVE to take a long bath to relax.
Workspace & Routine
Do you have a workspace at home? Tell us about it.
We live in the suburbs, so I’ve been fortunate enough to have space and my own office. I put my computer in front of a big window so that I can look out into the garden and see nature all day, which is very relaxing.
Is your family at home too? What do you enjoy about it? What do you find challenging?
My husband, our two teenage daughters and I have spent a lot of time together during 2020 –– we worked from home and they studied virtually. I really do appreciate the time that I’ve been able to spend with my daughters –– it’s time that I never had before. I feel like it’s very healthy for them to have their mom around, and it’s also healthy for me. I used to be away more often for work, but now I’m much more part of their lives. It feels awesome. The challenge of course, is that families also need separation, especially when the kids are in their teen years. As you can imagine, they don’t always need/want their parents around all the time.
What do you do when you need a change of scenery?
I’ll usually go to our local café, order a cappuccino and take a 20-minute walk with my coffee.
Time & Organization
How do you balance personal and work tasks throughout the day?
I’m usually working until 6:30pm and then getting ready for dinner and spending some time with my family. I’m a flexible person, so if there are errands that I need to do in the middle of the day or I need to drive the girls somewhere, I just make it work. After dinner I’m usually checking emails and catching up for about an hour. Nighttime for me is a long shower and watching a good TV show.
What are three things you do each morning to prepare for the day?
I take time for myself every morning –– at least 30 min –– with coffee and while reading the news. I make sure the girls are all set and ready for school on time. After they leave for school, I have my second coffee and start to get ready while the house is quiet and I’m by myself!
How do you keep yourself organized during the day—an app, a planner, a physical to-do list?
Everything is on a calendar app for me, and I also use a lot of physical to-do lists. I love lists - they help me feel more in control and organized.
How do (or don’t) you separate business tasks from personal ones?
I don’t really separate the two. I’m one person who is both a co-founder and a mom. I think flexibility in life is key.
What are three things you do to wind down your workday?
● Glass of wine and catching up with my husband
Many business luminaries say hard work and luck are the main ingredients for success. Tell us about a time when things didn’t go your way, and how you responded?
There are so many examples. When you are building an innovative startup, it happens a lot –– for instance, sometimes new features/services don’t work as expected. The way I respond is by asking myself and my team, “What can we learn from this? What can we do better next time?” I often find a lot of insights in failures. I also find this approach to be way more effective than getting emotional about it.
Just for Fun
So much of our lives—business and personal—are administered through our phones. What was the last thing you looked at last night?
I was group texting with my family (my parents and two sisters are all in Israel).
…and the first thing you looked at this morning?
The New York Times
What is something you recently listened to, like a podcast or playlist?
I’m obsessed with podcasts, and I love that I can listen while doing other things in the house.
My favorites that I’m listening to are:
● Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
● How I Built It with Guy Raz
How about a destination to where you’ve recently planned travel?
I’m going home to Israel next month. I’m so excited after not seeing my family for two years.
A phone call you recently had lasting more than 5 minutes?
This interview is part of Office Hours, a series that connects you with entrepreneurs and experts and tips for running and growing a business right now. Find other can’t-miss conversations by visiting our Events page.