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From working royal to Chief Impact Officer: How to land a role like Prince Harry’s

SOURCE: PETER NICHOLLS / POOL / AFP
Silicon Valley's BetterUp has opened its doors to former working royal Prince Harry.


By U2B Staff 

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From Buckingham Palace to Silicon Valley – Prince Harry’s latest move has the business world buzzing. The former working royal recently landed the role of chief impact officer (CIO) for BetterUp – a startup that focuses on employee coaching and mental health. 

Based in San Francisco, BetterUp is valued at 1.7 billion US dollars. They’re known for working with employees from leading organisations such as multinational hospitality company Hilton, tech giant Facebook, US space agency NASA, confectionary giant Mars, as well as oil firm Chevron.

In a message on BetterUp’s website, Prince Harry explained that he had been given a Better Up coach and had greatly benefited from it.

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BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux said the Duke of Sussex is an ideal candidate for the company due to “his model of inspiration and impact through action.”

“As a true citizen of the world, he has dedicated his life’s work to bringing attention to the diverse needs of people everywhere and advocating for mental health initiatives: from founding the Invictus Games, a platform for service personnel to use sport as part of their psychological and physical rehabilitation, to launching Sentebale, which supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana,” said Robichaux.

The Duke has listed four key areas he plans to tackle during his tenure as chief impact officer:

  • Driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness
  • Guiding the startup’s social mission and impact to convey the science of peak performance and human potential
  • Influencing the vision of BetterUp’s platform, community and member experience
  • Expanding its global community through outreach and strategic planning

Many other multinationals offer similar roles to that of Prince Harry’s. McDonalds brought Katie Beirne Fallon on board last October as its new vice president and chief global impact officer – to focus on everything from equity to packaging and hunger. 

Both roles involve impacting the greater good. While these roles are unique – with tasks varying company to company – there are many similar occupations that are currently in demand. 

The educational journey 

While Prince Harry graduated with a degree in geography from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the educational backgrounds of these professionals are a little different. 

These roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, social responsibility, business development, sustainability, or related areas. 

Additionally, diversified experience in corporate social responsibility, social impact, cross-sector partnership development, programme management, managing multiple complex programmes, and leadership roles within organisations can help set candidates apart. 

If you don’t have these experiences of qualifications, don’t fret. There are many online courses that could set aspiring changemakers on the right path.

These include the four-week Business Strategies for Social Impact course by Wharton, which is designed to nurture leaders who cultivate purpose and inspire change, measure societal impact through evidence-based models, and invest in ventures effectively and meaningfully. This course is a part of the Business Strategies for a Better World certification which explores the fundamentals of creating social impact on a global scale. 

Graduates certificates could also come in handy. The University of New South Wales’s Business School offers the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact – a credential that provides the business administration skills and experience needed to be an agent for social change. 

Similarly, Simon Fraser University offers the Social Innovation Certificate – designed for professionals in the public, private and non-profit sectors who want to find effective, sustainable solutions to complex problems.