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Brett Kaufman on Conscious Community Building and Disrupting Mental Health

May 20, 2020

According to the most recent data, there have been over a million confirmed cases of the coronavirus with over 75,000 deaths in the United States. Unemployment is at 14.7%, the highest rate since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking it in 1948.

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted March 25 to 30, found that 45 percent of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.”

The statistics are dismal:

  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that issues related to employee mental health and substance abuse cost American employers between $80 billion and $100 billion per year.
  • As many as 20%t of U.S. adults will experience mental illness in their lifetimes, according to the NIMH, and 66 percent will never receive treatment.
  • Depression alone affects 18.8 million American adults per year, or 9.5 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Patients with depression miss about 19.2 workdays per year and experience 46 days of reduced productivity.

This stark reality is a tremendous threat to business, which presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs, hidden in plain sight. How can business owners transform our life’s challenges, childhood traumas, and mental health struggles into a business opportunity that improves people’s lives and uplifts communities around the world?

Brett Kaufman is reshaping Columbus, Ohio from the ground up — literally. He’s the CEO and founder of Kaufman Development and creator of Gravity in the Franklinton area of Columbus. Kaufman has gone through an amazing life journey that allowed him to develop extremely creative real estate communities, a podcast, an executive coaching business, new approaches to venture capital funding, and investment opportunities that are creating even more impact, wealth, and abundance for the Columbus area.

For the past 20 years, Kaufman Development has developed over $1 billion in real estate projects focused on enhancing the human experience, bringing people closer to each other, their passions, and creating lives that honor who they truly are. Gravity is his Magnum Opus, the latest and fullest expression of his work.

Kaufman is passionate about upgrading the human experience. He’s founded a number of companies and invested in entrepreneurs to investigate new ways to celebrate their unique experiences and challenges to help others navigate their own journeys. His mission is about integrating expression, impact and well-being. How can business owners, artists, and professionals enable better life experiences and improve our communities — and the planet — in the process?

Kaufman’s mixed-use communities integrate work-life alignment with unconventional amenities including meditation rooms, coworking spaces, on-site therapy facilities, restaurants, affordable apartments, and murals by local artists. The design, events, programs, education, and physical layout are all intended to enable residents to connect with their passions and each other.

He envisions a day when mental health resources are as common and accepted as physical health and working out. With a deep appreciation for therapy and working with coaches and other kinds of self-help mentors and experts, Kaufman is upending the experience of office visits with Innerspace. The solution is a bright, modern space that will include private, sound-proof suites for practitioners to practice in person and via video conference. It’s a combination that will shatter stigmas while still addressing obvious needs for privacy and confidentiality.

Further, Kaufman is changing the whole industry model for the people working as coaches, therapists, dietitians, massage therapists who more often work alone, and struggle to find office space that provides the kind of nurturing architecture and design that their clients expect at anything like an affordable cost.
Recently he spoke in front of 1200 people at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting about the importance of therapy and being a “work in progress.” Speaking in front of that many people was a first for Kaufman.

Kaufman spent his early career in banking environments with very little inspiration, purpose or passion — people lived for the weekends, vacations or retirements. Through his own life’s journey, Kaufman discovered an alternative approach: one in which you could embrace your passions and integrate activities that feel like hobbies into your professional life.

The Gravity community reflects this ethos. It’s a space for residents to more easily access their passions: for example, they can live, work, and volunteer, join a club, attend a fitness class, or work with a like-minded therapist in one place.

Kaufman’s personal brand has become an extension of Gravity. He shares the principles and backstory of Gravity in a signature keynote, the Gravity podcast, and a book scheduled to be published this year. He advises, coaches, and works with other executives to help them integrate their passions and careers with impact. The process starts with an in-depth discovery session to discover their goals, intentions and life experience.

Today, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build successful businesses, make a positive impact, and pursue their passions all at the same time. Kaufman is an inspiring example of how we can integrate, rather than silo, these three critical aspects of the human experience.

To learn more about Brett Kaufman and Gravity, check out his website here:   

Watch the whole video interview here:


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