How This Entrepreneur Rose Above The Rest – And Brought His Community With Him
Updated: Jul 26
The attitudes towards CEOs in America have certainly trended downwards in recent years. It’s not hard to see why, as during the pandemic the top billionaires across the country increased their personal wealth by over $1 trillion, all the while the people on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder were struggling to stay afloat. Many of these elite CEOs have made their money by sneaking around tax laws and refusing to treat their workers with the respect and dignity they deserve. As a result, many have come to the conclusion that there are no good CEOs.
This is simply not the case. Let’s examine the case of Johnwick Nathan, a leading entrepreneur and businessman to get an understanding of how empathy and business can not only coexist, but be directly symbiotic to each other.
Johnwick Nathan is the CEO and founder of the Arizonian mental healthcare company Harbor Health Integrated Care with a net worth of ~$50-60M. Harbor Health serves the needs of those struggling with mental illness and addiction across the state of Arizona, largely the indigenous population of the area. His business has expanded in recent years, but all the while he’s sought to directly benefit his community through his success. His dedication to community began long before he dreamed of seeing success on such a high level.
Born in Haiti, he lived with his mother and five siblings throughout his childhood.They moved from Haiti is Hudson, New York when Johnwick was only three, seeking greater opportunities they had found in their home country. His family served as his first community – a group of brothers and sisters dedicated to bolstering each other’s success. Religion is also greatly important to Johnwick and his family, and at a young age, he began playing the piano and the guitar at his local church in Hudson. His passion for music was encouraged by his church community, and it was due to this passion that he sought out a career in music production.
Johnwick moved to Arizona to attend CRAS Recording School. He got a taste of early success when he and his sister Wildine started a gospel music group called Arise, with which he released two EPs. He moved to Arizona to better his musical prowess, but while studying he found another passion, stronger than any other he had previously felt.
He found work in Arizona during his studies as a behavioral health tech at a local group home for those suffering from addiction. Johnwick liked the idea of making a living while serving his community, but working one on one with struggling folk gave him a greater sense of fulfillment than he had previously experienced. He loved the feeling of helping people rise out of the lowest moments in their lives, and realized that he wanted to pursue that feeling on a much higher level. “Doing that, it changed my life. And at that moment I said ‘you know what? I think this is what I want to do,’” he said in a recent interview.
He graduated with his degree in music engineering in 2016 and dedicated himself to starting his own group home. It took a great deal of struggling and striving, but he founded his first group home in 2017, largely serving the same community of Arizonians he served as a behavioral health technician. It was with this initial group home that he developed some of the theories of mental health and addiction treatment that have carried into the rest of his facilities. He realized the most effective way to assist his community was to create the most welcoming atmosphere possible. Since a large portion of his clients were members of the local native population; referrals from hospitals, reservations, and probation offices, he made an effort to learn some of the indigenous language to make them feel more welcome.
This group home saw great success, and Johnwick now runs six group homes as well as a psychiatric facility and a detox program for drug addicts with his company Harbor Health. He plans to add more facilities soon, like a primary care facility and dental services. You can see how the wellness of Johnwick’s local community is directly tied to his personal success. Every expansion grows his business, but they also serve another one of his community’s needs.
For example, Johnwick realized that many of the outgoing patients from his facilities don’t really have a place to go after their treatment, so he founded Guillet Industries, a construction and property management company. Guillet works directly with Harbor Health to give outgoing patients a place to live independently and contribute back to their community. As Johnwick’s business grows, he can assist his community in more ways. This idea is especially suited to the industry he works in, but the same ideas can be implemented in any business. The more a business grows, the greater the opportunity that business has to support the community that patronizes that business.
This kind of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ attitude is one of the guiding principles that Johnwick lives and works by. He believes that it’s impossible to be genuinely successful if you haven’t made an effort to improve the world around you while benefiting yourself. He’s made an effort to define the principles that have led him to this kind of “soulful success” as he calls it, and he’s now illuminating these principles for rising men and women in the world of business.
Most recently, he made a trip to Ghana to present these principles at the University of Accra. Johnwick made the trip to Ghana originally on business, to expand Harbor health there to assist people struggling with mental illness in the country, but since Ghana’s economy is rapidly expanding, he wanted to spread his ideas to the young people who will soon take the reins of Ghana’s business world. Additionally, he put down his twelve principles in a book called 12 Principles of Soulful Success, which he hopes can usher in a new generation of empathetic business owners.
Johnwick Nathan’s example shows how it is not only possible for empathy and business to coexist, but the two can greatly benefit each other. As the attitudes towards running a business change in America, we’ll likely see a similar change in the repetition of America’s CEOs and business owners.