At Kiln, we take mental health in the workplace seriously. Evan LaPointe, Kiln member and founder of CORE Sciences, helps professionals reach their full potential with a mindset-based approach. His innovative approach to workplace wellbeing is helping to address the stagnation, lull in creativity, and diminishing engagement among employees on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic. We sat down with Evan for a conversation that points to a path forward. 


Let’s go back to the start. Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?


I’ve danced around a bit in my professional career. I started out in the finance world because I always liked the combination of business and math. Through time, however, I discovered that my real formula is business + math + psychology, because understanding people is at the center of business. To test this theory, I spent time working in digital marketing to bring analytics to that world; I used predictive analytics for market experience, pioneered technology that was acquired by Adobe, and built businesses that have helped more than 3,000 brands with their own culture. 


So, how does CORE Sciences come into the picture?


The causality of greatness is the human mindset. This is what led me to CORE Sciences. I arrived here through empirical observation -- in the business world, I observed that every time something went well or didn’t go well in analytics, it had to do with the humans involved (not the skills). 

At CORE, which I launched in 2017, we focus on intentional company culture, sophisticated talent philosophies, and design over pragmatism. These three factors alone help your chance of success skyrocket. Our job is to teach businesses how to undergo cultural transformation. We’ve concretized this approach. 


This approach must give brands a huge leg up. Tell us more about the company’s progress to date. 


Eventually, CORE will operate as a software company that offers tools and insights to help brands undergo their transformation independently. Today, our team of 10 works with brands that have self-identified as wanting to achieve a high-performance state. You may think it applies to every brand, but the business world has a big misinterpretation of how much time it takes to become extraordinary. High-performance teams spend only about 5% of their time “making sure that their saw is sharp” and 95% of their time “sawing.” 


The CORE approach accelerates personal and professional growth. Can you tell us more about the intersection between CORE and mental health in the workplace?


Absolutely. Let me demonstrate with an anecdote. If you treat your brain like it has a “health meter” attached to it, there would be a small area of that meter that is red, a slightly larger area that is yellow, and a vast area that is green. Think of this “health meter” just like the gas meter in your car. And as you know from the dial in your car, the red is only 10% of the total range. 

Right now, the business world is treating mental health like we only need to notice the red area. But the job of improving mental health in the workplace is very far from over when we get employees out of the red area. We have to finish the job to help others achieve their peak performance state. 


I believe that companies should stop focusing on mental health with a bottom up approach. If we stop pushing employees out of the red, and instead aim for peak performance (ie. create a pulling force starting from the green), the former would be accomplished as well. If we stay focused only on addressing the mental health of employees in the red, the company they work for is still ultimately at a low or medium performance level. But, if we can help companies achieve their highest performance state, the infections is palpable. And I really believe that you have to create the correct infectious force inside an organization. 


The sense of progress and activity that CORE is able to imbue sounds incredible. Have you brought your methods to the larger Kiln community? 


Yes! I’d love everyone in my Kiln community to have a bit of an advantage. My team has started with presentations at the coworking space, but we are planning on more presentations for Kiln members. It was a great feeling when other Kiln members showed up and realized that the CORE process is far more substantial and actionable (than most workplace culture misinformation) than they realized. 


Finally, a big goal of mine with CORE is to address the gap in education surrounding how mental health affects performance and productivity. We’re developing specific practice routines and programming to this end.