Healthcare accessibility has become an increasingly talked about, and necessary, issue discussed today. Mohan Sudabattula, CEO and founder of Project Embrace, is on the ground running to help increase healthcare resources to all. We sat down with Mohan to learn about the inspiration behind Project Embrace, as well as his other projects, and were immediately inspired by Mohan ourselves.
What inspired you to found Project Embrace, and what are some of the organization’s key accomplishments so far?
I founded Project Embrace because I saw a pressing need in healthcare access. I fundamentally believe that anyone and everyone should be involved in solution building. More often than not, in healthcare, people tend to have very strong opinions on how to things should be run; yet, most people don’t feel like they can contribute because they’re not practitioners or healthcare professionals. The ironic thing about that is that healthcare affects all of us, so we should all be involved in innovating and creating solutions. I started Project Embrace when I was 21, and later that year I gave a TED talk on what we do as an organization. Soon after, during the pandemic, I was named one of Utah’s “20 in the 20’s” by Utah Business Magazine. This past year we published a peer-reviewed paper on healthcare solutions that was published by the United Nations; I’m very proud of all those accomplishments we’ve reached.
How do you balance your work as the Founder and CEO of Project Embrace with your role as the Founder and President, at the Empower Exchange?
That’s a great question! As corny as it sounds, I feel like I get to work every day on ideas and things I genuinely care about. I have so much fun doing what I do that it all feels like a hobby to me. Work life balance becomes really easy when I feel like I am constantly working on my hobbies. Another really big part of it is that I absolutely love learning new things. Once I get hooked onto something new that I enjoy, I go all in on learning as much as I can about that specific issue/idea because it genuinely brings me joy.
As some who has been recognized and celebrated across several professional and academic stages, could you describe your approach to leadership and collaboration with others?
The most successful endeavors I’ve had or participated in are the ones where everyone at the table was willing and eager to collaborate. Being willing to share your ideas, receive feedback, and bring others up with you always pays itself off in spades. I guess the alternative is to always be competitive with those around you and your own colleagues; I’ve never liked that idea. The number one thing is being willing to share your ideas and successes with those around you. In my experience, those that choose to do the same tend to be the best people to work with. We all win more when we win together.
Could you speak to some of the ethical considerations involved in managing a data and research-driven crypto fund dedicated to building social impact, and how does Edefi Capital navigate these challenges?
For the fund, it comes down to our investment thesis. We only invest in real projects with real-world utility. Sure, there’s plenty of flimsy “get rich fast” kind of investments in crypto, and you can make a lot of money by participating in those kinds of projects, but having the integrity to see a scam and walk away from it is key to sustainable success. Ultimately, we only engage in projects that we have personally vetted and have a key track record of success and good intentions. Atop this, we cut a certain amount of the total profits we hold as general partners back into nonprofits, and other social impact organizations. Funding good people, going good work, is the cornerstone principle of our fund.
What do you believe are some of the biggest challenges currently facing the healthcare industry, and how do you see Project Embrace addressing these challenges in the future?
Generally speaking, I believe access to healthcare technology and essential services remains the largest problem in the industry. That being said, most of the healthcare sector is focused in on constant innovative in medical technology and engineering; and while I believe we need to stay on the cutting edge of those kinds of developments, there isn’t nearly large enough of an effort to help increase access to medical technology or treatment. What’s the point of constantly advancing medical technologies and biotech if no one can afford it or gain access to it? Project Embrace is particularly positioned to address issues surrounding access. Whether that be in increasing supply chain operations to disenfranchised and marginalized communities, to facilitating specialized traveling clinics to those in need, we have a lot of awesome plans cooking up.
What advice would you give to young professionals who are interested in starting their own non-profit or social impact venture?
I have three golden rules that you should follow: 1) think big, 2) start small, and 3) act fast. Not much else to say there, interpret those as you will!
What is your favorite part about working at The Shop?
Honestly the people! It feels like everyone that works out of The Shop is cut from the same cloth and is working on the coolest projects. It’s really special to be able to work out of place that has so many stellar humans in it. I love meeting people and The Shop is one of the best places to meet the most compelling people Salt Lake City has to offer. That and the free cold brew on tap, that’s a real winner too, ha!
How has working at The Shop benefited your overall workflow?
Having 24/7 access is really helpful for me because I work my own hours. Being able to come into such a beautiful space, right in the heart of the city, at any moment I want has been such a blessing. Not only am I inspired by The Shop and everyone here, but I get those most amount of work done when I’m here too.
Do you have a favorite place or best-kept secret of Salt Lake City / Utah?
Oh man, there are so many rad places to check out in the city! To be honest, it really kind of depends on what you’re looking for. That all being said though, the place to the get the best cup of chocolate you’ll ever have in your life is at Hatch Family Chocolates in the avenues. Tell them Mohan sent you and go order yourself a milk hot chocolate. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.