After experiencing poor mental health in her younger years, Courtney Carlsson found help and founded Paradym a truly transformative app that helps users improve their wellbeing and accelerate improved psychological outcomes.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role?

I’m the Founder & CEO of Paradym, a self-guided therapy app. Whether you’re feeling stuck in a rut and have no idea what you want or have been in therapy for years and want to try something different, Paradym will guide you through your emotions so you can live the life you want.

We’ve had tremendous success since launching, with peer-reviewed research showing that the app can be more effective than face-to-face therapy at improving wellbeing and depression outcomes by 83% and 72% respectively.

I’m also a Venture Partner at Republic & Seedrs, the world’s first global private investment platform. In the role, I support Republic & Seedrs in finding more diverse startup deal flow.

My background is in sales and business development across New York, Singapore, Paris and London at companies like LinkedIn and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where I managed market strategy for the newest product lines at the time.

I have a BA from Georgetown University in Political Economy & Philosophy, an MBA from London Business School, and a certificate in Psychotherapy & Counseling from Regent’s University.

I’m half Swedish, half Filipina, born in Chicago but raised in London where I currently live.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When I was 17, I made my first five-year career and life plan. It actually came to life, although the timeline was a little skewed. My father encouraged me to make the plan. It’s an incredibly powerful visualisation and planning technique. How do you get to where you want to go if you’re not sure where you’re headed?

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Running a company is ridden with challenges every day. I don’t think there’s a formula to overcome every obstacle, but I do think having a learning and growth mindset will help get you there no matter what you face.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Building Paradym and growing our app in 150 countries through the Apple App Store, as well as the incredible outcomes we’ve achieved.

I mentioned this earlier, but peer-reviewed research has demonstrated that our consumer app can be more effective than face-to-face therapy at improving well-being and depression outcomes by 83% and 72% respectively. We’ve built the app with PhD psychologists and clinicians from UCL, Oxford University and Harvard Medical School.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success? 

My mindset and health that I’ve been cultivating for 20+ years. Success, especially if you’re building a company, is rarely linear. And in order to keep going and pushing through the hard times when no one else believes in you, you need a very strong mind and understanding of oneself.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Whether it’s technology or a different industry, my single most important tip would stay the same: it’s all about finding the right team for you.

Find the right team, and the right leader that you believe in, and everything else will follow.

What barriers for women working in tech, are still to be overcome?

There are very few women in engineering, and less than 2% of venture capital (VC) funding goes to female entrepreneurs. We are still just trying to get a seat at the table, which is so sad given all the data out there demonstrating how female CEOs outperform their male counterparts.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Programmes like the ones we participated in with Apple – including the App Store Foundations Program –   that are focused on female founders, and supporting female entrepreneurs are a great start. Female developers participating in the programme benefit from a tailored curriculum in which they work closely in one-to-one and group sessions with App Store leaders from across the UK and Europe. The experience has been invaluable to me and further developing Paradym.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

This is a structural problem that starts when women are little girls. We need more women in STEM. Accordingly, I would say more investment and donations in this space are key for our youth’s education. By the time little girls get to university, they opt into a technical subject and ultimately land great roles at tech companies. Not just in sales but in engineering, too.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I listen to the podcast, ‘How I built this with Guy Raz’, who interviews some of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs to learn how they build their iconic brands. I also listen to ‘Lenny’s letter’, which interviews world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable and tactical advice to help you build, launch and grow your own product.

In terms of books, I’ve read ‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel, which includes the PayPal co-founder’s musings on how to create value in the real world.

Finally, I’ll be attending the Web Summit in Lisbon in November, which will bring 70,000+ people from across the tech industry together, under one roof. From a women’s health standpoint, I’ll be visiting HLTH, which has become the preeminent event in the healthcare industry, covering everything from wearables, fitness, mental health and mindfulness.