For Founders Focused On Social Impact, The Daily Grind Can Take A Toll On Mental Health

When I was younger, I considered becoming a social worker in order to improve the family court system. A few years later, I decided that I didn’t want to concern myself with something that was such a–for lack of a more eloquent word–bummer. Oftentimes, the most important and impactful social work requires that you immerse yourself in some heavy topics, antiquated legal processes and long hours. For Under 30 founders working with sexual assault survivors, the fatigue is palpable.

Liesel Vaidya

Still, heading a company dedicated to survivor resources and mental health services is very rewarding, says Leda cofounder and Under 30 2022 lister Liesel Vaidya, and she has some good tips on how to take care of yourself while working in a sensitive field.

Vaidya and her cofounder Madison Campbell founded Leda in 2019 to offer resources such as test kits, group therapy and help with reporting to survivors of sexual assault. They are focused mostly on university populations, but also partner with larger events like music festivals to ensure a presence of emergency resources. The company’s raised $9.4 million to date. Leda sells its services and products to institutions, businesses and government agencies so they can equip their members with resources.

Vaidya says her line of work is both highly emotional and highly politicized, which makes daily tasks more fraught than other industries. With Leda, she seeks to incorporate emotional and mental health services into the assault reporting process, which is a beast in itself. “The care aspect of it is often underserved and overlooked and obviously existing resources are already strained,” she says. Some 70% of survivors never seek care or report the assault, and even amongst 18- to 25-year-olds, stigmas linger around topics like STD and STIs, Vaidya says.

Vicarious trauma, as Vaidya puts it, is an overlooked symptom of advocacy work. In order to balance out the emotionally draining advocacy work, she leans heavily on boundaries. “When I’m working, I’m available, I listen and I do my best to find ways to meet the needs of the people that we serve. But at the same time, I also find ways to disconnect and do other things in life that are meaningful to me during my time off.”

Her advice to founders in similar positions? Spend time with friends and family, allow yourself to binge a comfort show or take time outdoors.

Startup Bobbie Proves There’s Profit In Baby Formula Despite The Dominance Of Industry Giants

Bobbie cofounders Laura Modi, left, and Sarah Hardy.


Just 7% of venture-backed companies that disclose sales ever reach $100 million in revenue, and even fewer are headed by women. Bobbie managed it in a market that used to begin and end with Similac, Enfamil and Gerber Good Start.

On Our Radars

  • Rest in peace Netflix password sharing and the degrees of separation it removed between us all: Under the streaming giant’s new rule, U.S. subscribers will have to either kick people off their Netflix account or pay $7.99 per month for an additional membership for those outside their household. (TechCrunch)
  • Democrats and Republicans alike bashed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after he launched his presidential campaign through a Twitter Spaces session that experienced several technical glitches and even a lengthy period of a complete audio loss—despite Twitter CEO Elon Musk heavily hyping the Twitter announcement as a historic event for the platform. (Forbes)
  • In today’s memorable halcyon moment: Eric Schmidt, who served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, said that artificial intelligence could cause people to be “harmed or killed” amid possible “existential risks,” adding to concerns from other tech executives over the development of AI. (Forbes)
  • And yet, the saga continues. Anthropic, an artificial intelligence startup competing with OpenAI in building AI foundation models, has raised $450 million from investors including Alphabet.’s Google and Spark Capital. The latest round brings Anthropic’s total funding to nearly $1 billion, making it one of the most well-funded AI startups. (Reuters)

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