Kaitlin Scates is the CEO and co-founder of Welligence, a mental health training startup that specializes in skills development programs and peer learning within organizations. “Welligence was born out of personal experience with mental health challenges and wanting the workplace to be a safe place, free of stigma, and filled with knowledge and resources for people experiencing mental health challenges.” Learn about Kaitlin Scates…
Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA
First job: My first ever full-time job was as a production assistant in commercial film production. My nearly decade-long career in production has played a key role in the development of Welligence, and is just one of the many experiences that have had a significant impact on the direction my life has taken.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: Like many people who live in California, I feel most at peace when I’m in nature. I’ve been truly spoiled by growing up in California where I have had access to so many ecoregions. Simply driving to the coast and finding a quiet beach where I can read, listen to the waves or journal has become one of my favorite things to do when I can find the time.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I would say that my biggest accomplishment wasn’t starting my business, but rather making the decision to start my business. Diving into the unknown and fully embracing the fear that came along with being an entrepreneur is a major personal accomplishment. I’ve proven to myself that I really can do anything I set my mind to do.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I don’t know that this obstacle has been fully conquered—but accepting the fact that I have mental health challenges (depression and anxiety), and acknowledging that it will take a lifelong effort to stay on top of my mental health was a major obstacle for me. But, I am so proud to look at the progress I’ve made over the years. If I showed this version of myself to myself three years ago, I don’t know that I would have believed it!
Someone who inspires you and why: I don’t necessarily have a single person I look to for inspiration. There are so many amazing humans in this world doing wonderful things, and inspiration can be found pretty easily. I love seeing stories of women pursuing their dreams, succeeding or even continuing to push forward in the face of adversity.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: You can read all the advice in the world to prepare yourself for being an entrepreneur, but there will always be a challenge you didn’t see coming. Expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride.
Favorite quote: It’s a partial quote from Hamlet, but it has stuck with me for years as a reminder to myself. “This above all, to thine own self be true.” While staying true to yourself is sometimes easier said than done, the quote also encourages me to practice self love. I’ve come to embrace this saying to remind me to not only be my authentic self, but to acknowledge that my authentic self is enough.
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I think it would surprise people to know that I’m actually pretty introverted. I’ve gotten very comfortable with sharing my mental health challenges and journey, but I haven’t always been as open. Even still, I tend to be shy and socially anxious. Don’t let my openness about my challenges fool you!
What makes someone fabulous: I think the beauty of life is that we are all fabulous in our own unique way. There is no one trait or combination of things that would make someone fabulous or not, simply being is enough.