HIBT Lab! The Confess Project: Lorenzo Lewis - Transcripts

March 02, 2023

  • Favorite
  • Share
Barbers have played a central role in the Black community throughout American history. Haircutting was one of the first jobs that Black men were allowed to hold after the Civil War, and barbershops were often a hub for organizing during the civil rights movement. More recently,  barbershops also played an instrumental role administering vaccines in the wake of Covid-19.  And now, Lorenzo Lewis imagines a new role for barbers: a first line of defense in addressing mental health challenges for Black men. This week on How I Built This Lab, Lorenzo talks with Guy about the work of his social enterprise, The Confess Project, to train thousands of barbers across the country to support the mental health of their clients. He also recounts some of the experiences that led him to this work: growing up with incarcerated parents, his own struggles with anxiety and depression, and a gang-related incident that almost changed his life forever... See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.


Hey Prime members, you can listen to how I built this early and ad-free on Amazon Music.

Download the app today. This is Chip Brantley, co-host of the NPR podcast, White Lies. Before we found the man in Vancouver, before we sued the State Department, before we snuck into the graveyard of a federal penitentiary, all we had were the photographs. Photographs of a group of Cuban men standing on the roof of a prison in rural Alabama.

That's this season on the NPR podcast, White Lies. Did your metabolism use a kickstart? Are you having gut issues or just feeling low energy? Saqqara is here to help. Saqqara delivers science-backed, plant-rich nutrition programs and wellness essentials right to your door. Their ready-to-eat meals are nutritionally designed to deliver results, from weight management and eased bloat, to boosted energy and clearer skin. When you give your body the nutrients it needs, you're able to eliminate brain fog, curb sugar crashes, maximize your efficiency, and just feel your best. And right now, Saqqara is offering our listeners 20% off their first order when they go to Saqqara.com slash built or enter code BUILT at checkout. That's Saqqara S-A-K-A-R-A dot com slash built to get 20% off your first order. Saqqara dot com slash built. I just learned Discover credit cards do something pretty awesome. At the end of your first year, they automatically double all the cashback you've earned.

That's right, everything you've earned doubled. All the cashback from eating at your favorite soup dumpling restaurant doubled. All the cashback from that trip where you sort of learned to snowboard also doubled. And the best part, you don't have to do anything ridiculous to get it. Nope. Discover does it automatically. Seriously, though, see terms and check it out for yourself at discover.com slash match. Hello and welcome to How I Built This Lab. I'm Guy Roz. For a variety of reasons and not always understood, there's been a pretty significant increase in diagnosed rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions in the US and even in other countries over the past decade. Some of it may have to do with better systems of diagnosis, and some of it is still a mystery. But what we do know is that access to mental health care here in the US is not always easy.

For starters, there is a shortage of providers. For black Americans, the challenge is even more acute. As of 2020, only 4% of psychologists in the US were black, which means it can be particularly hard for black patients to find mental health providers who can relate to their experiences. Lorenzo Lewis saw this crisis firsthand while working with young incarcerated boys and men in Arkansas. So he decided to find a way to help black men and boys talk about depression, anxiety, and trauma with someone they could trust, and Lorenzo realized the best person for the job might just be a barber. Lorenzo founded the Confess Project, which trains barbers in predominantly black neighborhoods to become front-line therapists. The project has now trained thousands of barbers across the country, and Lorenzo is getting ready to expand it even further by partnering with insurance companies. For Lorenzo, this isn't just a social enterprise. It's personal. He was literally born in a prison. Both of Lorenzo's parents were incarcerated at the time of his birth.

And as a young boy, he suffered from undiagnosed depression and anxiety. You know, born to an incarcerated mother in jail, my aunt stepped in. This is your aunt Daisy, right? Yeah, yeah, my aunt Daisy, so I stepped in, and from there, I lived the rest of my, you

know, childhood and young adulthood in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is your aunt Daisy, right? Yeah. With Daisy and her husband, T, right? Yes, T Roy, yes, yes. And so basically, they were like your surrogate mom and dad, but from what I understand, even as a kid, I mean, you probably didn't realize it as a kid. You only realized it as an adult. But I mean, just that upbringing took its toll on me, you were depressed and anxious

as a little boy. Yeah, yeah, and I was really lost, and I was confused, and also it really tampered with my self-identity and who I was, you know, not knowing you're having a closer relationship with your mother and father truly can, I believe, rupture your own identity. And so all of that to be said, it did cause early stage depression, simply because of

grappling with the challenges as a young person. I read something that where you described how when you were a kid at school, they would, you know, have like Parents' Day or Show and Tell, and the parents would come in and, or they'd ask what your parents did. And it was always like a moment of shame for you because you were raised by your aunt and

uncle and you felt like, you know, you didn't have a mom and dad to talk about, you know,

you didn't have- And it was always an interesting experience because my aunt and uncle were pretty well off business owners and, you know, I had this like very confusing imagery of myself because one side of me was, you know, a kid that was full of life, you know, you got to imagine I went home and there was always a cooked meal that never went without, you know, water or lights. You know, I didn't live in pure poverty, gratefully. And so my aunt and uncle did a really good job of, you know, being in a time of a middle class family that I think they provided and worked hard. But on the other side of this was, you know, I also knew that my mother and father was not in the picture and the stories I heard of them was not the best stories. You know, my mother had been on drugs, you know, my father was in and out of jail and they didn't have stable jobs and they didn't have college degrees or rather they didn't have a story of building businesses or any type of accolades that I could brag on. So it was the other side of me that looked at myself as a failure, you know, as a kid because of how I viewed my mother and father, you know. And so there was always a very confusing connection between how could I explain, you know, who my parents are and where do I come from. And so I think that in itself was, you know, put me in a, truthfully, in a depressive state.

You know, my mother had... I'm just reading about how just kids would tease you or, and then you found out your father had died when you were in third grade and there were all these things happening in your life. And so, I mean, not surprising, you were acting out, but you were identified as a kid who was like a troublemaker, essentially, and that, by the time you got to high school, you'd been, you know, skipping classes and there was a, basically, an incident when you were in high school where, I guess, a friend of yours got beaten up by some other kids and you decided that you wanted to go take revenge and you actually had a gun and you were ready to go.

What happened? Yeah, you know, it was, you know, at the time, I always say it was my friend's battle that he had with a gentleman that, you know, we was tied into local gang stuff and, you know, he had got jumped on weeks prior at a basketball game and obviously had got embarrassed. And so it was like it was revenge and it was wanting to take them out and, you know, myself, being new to the gang life, wanting to prove myself, wanting to, you know, show up in that moment. showed up in that moment and everything ended on me and I ended up the one going to jail and they all walked away from it gratefully we did not you know discharge the firearm we didn't kill anyone no one was hurt but it was you know obviously being caught with a firearm underage it did leave me the juvenile detention and

you were and you were I think incarcerated for about three months as a

17-year-old kid yeah it was very short after my release I was you know own probation and almost a sense of house arrest for about six months to a year

mm-hmm you got in a sense lucky because I guess the judge at the time gave you a second chance that they charge you with a misdemeanor not a felony conviction so you were put on probation and that was sort of a catalyst for you that you wanted to figure out how to turn your life around what did you what'd you do

yeah so you know I was you know I dodged a felony conviction you know I think about I was one month away from my 18th birthday and going through that moment really allowed me to look outward and at the time the judge gave me a second shot I told it I would go to college and I looked to get my life on the right track I believe at that time I told I wanted to be a lawyer and I was looking to go to school and explore law and however my path went to a different direction but I had really great intent and I did I did go to college and graduated you know I believed at that moment being in jail freedom taken away it was one of the worst experiences of my life I don't wish it on my own worst enemy but I believe that it allowed me to think graciously about my future and it really allowed me to step into my next evolution after being a part of street

life you decided to go work with kids who had similar backgrounds to yours and who were also in and out of incarceration and in trouble on social services and I guess this work was for the Arkansas Department of Human Services when you started that work what what did you start to notice what did you what did you start to see I guess like the patterns when you were working

with teenagers and kids who were troubled I saw my younger self so imagine there was some kids 16 and 17 in some aspects I almost went to school with them right and so it was very interesting connection that I believe I was a greater impact because I could really relate yeah I understood the music the fashion I understood just everything right and so but what I really noticed deeply that these young people were really hurting yeah that they were facing mental health challenges they were facing poverty they were facing not knowing their fathers and so that was my calling to you know to really work and support young men and it led me to the next 10 years of working in the mental health field working at hospitals and facilities and I was really

propelled to do more. When you started to see these boys, right, that you were working with and it was clear that they were suffering from deep-seated trauma. They were experiencing depression, anxiety, all related to the things they saw in their lives and what they experienced. When you started to talk to some of these boys about things like depression or anxiety, it at first hard to crack that shell? Because these are, you know, these are boys and boys,

sometimes girls too, but boys want to be tough. They don't want to talk about things like that. Absolutely. And, you know, I believe that, you know, what was so, so, so critical about this entire experience was that I felt that I had a way and a connection to their heart and who they were. And so it really, it was very difficult. There was young men there that really had a lot of deep seated issues. But, you know, that it was one thing inside of them and there was a ray of hope. I felt like majority of them wanted to do right. However, their background and their experiences, but truthfully the trauma, the generational trauma that a lot of them were connected to was the reason that some of them couldn't turn the corner.

And I guess what you started to notice is that the therapists and the psychologists that were working with the boys might be, you know, perfectly good at their jobs, right? But they were professionals, right? But they weren't always well equipped to relate to the boys because their experiences were so different. And so the mental health services that they were able

to provide there, if there were any, were, I guess, oftentimes inadequate, you know? Yeah, absolutely. And I believe, you know, that it was, there was a true disconnect between providers and the patient population. You know, when you think about 4% of psychiatrists are African Americans in the United States. And so I even think about 10 years ago, 15 years ago then, when I was first starting the industry, imagining that if it was 4% now, I can imagine it was way less then. And so as I became more educated about the field and systemic challenges in the field, that's why I became an advocate in supporting young people and families and adults, particularly in the black community around mental health.

Hmm. Yeah. So essentially, from what I understand, in 2015, you had this idea, you're thinking, look, there's very little access to mental health treatment for black men and black boys. Why don't we bring it to them? Why don't we figure out a way to get therapy to them in an easy, accessible way? And you landed on this idea of starting with a barbershop. How did you come up with that idea?

First off, I was very interested just in seeking freedom. And to be honest with you, I was seeking freedom from my corporate job at the time. And I was over the day to day of going to work from eight to five, believe it or not. And that's how it really started. I felt like I had so much more to give. I hadn't been empowered on how to really show up and be creative because of all the trauma and challenges I went through. No one ever told me I could really be creative and really do more. And luckily, I had a colleague who had worked in the social enterprise space and was doing amazing work and really encouraged me to think deeply about how could I utilize my story in helping young men and helping people. And I kind of blew the idea off. But however, I had an idea to really want to impact men and men that looked like myself. And I went on this journey, you know, and starting off with wanting to have one simple focus group of men to come around a table or so and talk about their problems. And it was just about how do you package this?

And it just it started with, let's just start here. And that was a focus group at

a library. We're going to take a quick break. But when we come back more from Lorenzo about how he took one small focus group and turned it into a fully fledged social enterprise now servicing 1000s of black men and boys across the country. Stay with us. I'm Guy Roz and you're listening to How I Built This Lab. This episode of How I Built This is sponsored by Instacart. With Instacart, I can easily order my groceries and other weekly essentials. Shoppers help deliver the order right to my door in as fast as an hour, giving me time back to hang out with my family. Instacart helps to deliver items from over 75,000 locations across the country. Get whatever you need now from grocery items, household essentials, electronics, home improvement, alcohol, pet supplies, beauty items and more. Instacart shoppers provide support while they shop, share real time updates and deliver your order with care. Visit Instacart.com or download the app to get free delivery on your first order.

Offer valid for a limited time. Minimum order $10. Additional terms apply. This episode of How I Built This is brought to you by New York Times All Access. For the best in news, analysis and culture, there's only one New York Times. And now you can enjoy Times level expertise in the areas of games, cooking, product reviews and sports. With a New York Times All Access subscription. In addition to original reporting from journalists worldwide, you can unwind with spelling bee, wordle, the crossword and more. Enjoy delicious recipes and daily inspiration from cooking experts. Explore independent reviews for thousands of products and wire cutter and discover in-depth personalized sports journalism from the athletic. New York Times All Access, everything that Times offers all in one subscription. To subscribe, go to nytimes.com slash All Access.

Welcome back to How I Built This Lab. I'm Guy Roz. My guest is Lorenzo Lewis. He's the founder of the Confess Project. It's a company that's using the power and network of barbershops to change mental health for the better. So when you took the first step in in trying to gather men and boys together to talk about their mental health, you I guess you initially tried to get them together at a library, but but not a lot of people showed up. Was it was it just

a few people? Yeah, yeah, just a few people. So it was definitely not the best turnout. One marketed heavily, but a few people showed. And I think that that in itself was the motivation behind just really taking it to a place where I knew that men really could explore in a deeper wave. And so just had this wild idea about what about talking about mental health in a barbershop. And I looked up. There was a few things going on across the country. But you know, I'm standing in deep south in Arkansas, you know, and no one had, you know, truthfully in the southeast, I believe, had really pioneered an idea of such. So I went forward. I went to my first barber that I knew that I had a pretty good relationship with. This is in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Yes, in Little Rock, Arkansas. And the first thing he told me was, man, I don't know if that's something

I would want to do. I don't want my clients to get offended. And well, fair enough. Well, fair enough. Right. Because he's thinking I don't want to get in their private lives and I don't want to

like start to poke and prod and it's not my business. That that's a normal reaction. I don't. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. It is. But it really encouraged me when he said that because I had already seen this take place years of working in private facilities and I knew that it was possible, you know, beyond the barbershop, I had already been hosting groups before and I knew, you know, how to how to start these conversations already. And so it was just needing the environment outside of these hospitals and outpatient or inpatient facilities. Because one of the things that always takes place inside of these hospitals and facilities is that there's a stigma to that because of the locations involved, people being seen or people not wanting to. Being in like the waiting room. Yeah, absolutely.

You know, nobody is proudly want to walk into a hospital and say,

hey, I'm getting help for my brain. Yeah. I got to tell you, in my twenties, when I used to go see somebody regularly, I was always scared that one of my colleagues would see me in the waiting room. I was always nervous about that. It's a terrifying feeling. Like what if someone sees me and knows I'm going to seek help and stuff and obviously things have changed today. But yeah, I mean, it's like this feeling like of, I don't know, right? And so here you've got this opportunity to do in a barbershop. How did you do it the first time? How did it work? Like you got this one barbershop to agree to be sort of the guinea pig and what did you do? Did you train the

barbers or did you start by you going in and talking to just people, just customers? Yeah. Yeah. So my first opportunity was in Little Rock, Arkansas at Goodfellas barbershop and great barber by the name of Matt Dillon that he was really involved in the community, giving away backpacks, doing free haircuts. I mean, he was the epitome of a community barber. And so he bought into the idea. It was like, hey, let's try it. You know, and to be honest,

a lot of his barbers I believe were a bit caught off guard. They were like, I cut hair. I'm not a

therapist. Yeah. But you know, honestly, God believed that one of the things that really stood out was that I just went in and say, Hey guys, I just don't want to have a conversation about life. And I just began to tell my story that as I've told you here on this interview, I've told my story about being born to an incarcerated mother and going to jail and, you know, having family members who were strung out on drugs and interactions with the police. And, you know, these guys kind of looked at me and some of them kind of stopped their clippers and nodded their head at the time. And I could tell they understood. And so I made it about life, but then it went into, well, Hey guys, I really want to talk about mental health as well. And there's some resources that are available. There are some things that, you know, we can do to conquer these challenges that we've been faced with. And that's truly when I believe the can open and we had tons of people talking, right? I never forget. We filmed it and it was, it's like they didn't want to stop.

And so it was contagious and I fell deeply in love with it. Fell in love with it enough to start traveling all over the country talking about it. So, but that's how it started. It was just a, it was a story in the barbershop and it was, it was in the middle of four to five barbers and clippers are going, the TV is on and it was unscripted. It was, it was just real. It was wrong.

It led to what became the confess project, which is, which is what you run now. And the idea is to train barbers in things like active listening and asking open-ended questions and giving positive feedback to, to the customers just as a, just to be there, just to listen, right? And how

do you train them? How do you do the training? Yeah, absolutely. So it is, you know, it's a four tier model, four point model rather that's focused on active listening, which is tied into being empathetic, validation, you know, which is validating one's feelings, emotions, positive communication, you know, teaching barbers as to how to communicate with others. What are terms, lingos that could be deteriorating to someone's emotional health? What are positive affirmations that can be uplifted when talking to someone? And then the last one is stigma reduction. Like how do we dissolve stigma? How do we know to say, Hey, therapy is not taboo and how to have conversation around it. So it's really a peer intervention that barbers have between the 30 to 45 minutes of cutting someone's hair. It's like a conversation that they've been having, but now it's structured. And someone is saying that they're having a rough day.

They can tap into that active listening tool. If someone is argumentative and they're agitated, they can validate their person and not argue with them further. They have tools, they have these steps. And so now it's no longer just a story. It's now a curriculum that we train barbers and stylists on how to have a conversation about life, family, business, and politics. But at the same time, it's a tool, you know, that can be used. And that's how we train barbers and stylists on how to use this framework to essentially how to be empathetic. Yes, absolutely. And it's, um, a lot of them believe that they were already therapists before now in their own rights. They are because they've helped people to put guns down, to, to go back and rebuild marriages, to build relationships with their children. And they've watched people to having children, to bearing family members. And so it's a, in our retrospect, this is something that they've been doing.

And so we've just provided them now a tool that's scalable and it's, it reads well,

and it's very simple. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I'm curious, Lorenzo, obviously this is a first step, right? Like if somebody really needs help, um, what happens if somebody opens up to one of the barbers and really is in need of, you know, sort of a greater level of intervention? What,

what happens then? Yeah, absolutely. So, um, if someone, you know, makes a mention that I don't want to live any longer, they're able to pivot to giving their resource about 9 8 8 or, you know, calling the suicide lifeline or, Hey, calling this therapist. So, you know, we have two real life things that happen. One piece is we had a barber in Philadelphia that, you know, had a client sitting this chair and said, Hey, this is my last haircut. When I get out of the chair, I'm, I'm, I'm going to, um, walk in traffic and take my life. Um, and you know, at that time the barber had no idea how to respond. He had no prior training and the guy went missing, you know, he had a psychiatric episode and, and he was just lost. Ended up, they found the guy. Luckily he was safe. But on the other hand, we have a similar scenario rather of a client that didn't want to live any longer, made a mention to the barber, but we had trained him two weeks prior. He was able to utilize the tools and was able to get a therapist to respond to the call.

And so two different stories, two different reasons, very similar situations. Um, you know, the training was able to help elevate that gentleman to getting that client connected to services. And so that's

why it's so important that we continue to do this. Yeah. It's like, I mean, these barbers are the first line of defense. I mean, not, not to take this analogy too far, but it's like, if you were to train millions of people in CPR training and they could save a life until

EMTs arrived, that's essentially what this is. Correct. That's exactly what it is. And so I'm glad that you said that guy, that is the model that I had in mind as we began to grow was that anybody could, you know, go through this training and they would be an advocate, not an expert, but an advocate of someone who can help to revive in that moment and to get someone to actual therapy. So that's why I call is a peer intervention tool. If they've been an advocate, we need more advocates that can, you know, have these tools because there's not enough culturally competent therapists. And so having a neighborhood barbershop, a barber that everyone knows that works with our homeless neighbors to our principals, to our city officials, rather, this is someone that anyone can go to, to get the resources from. And that was how we thought of

this model. Do you encourage the barbers to like engage and to start conversations? Because sometimes, I mean, and I've all experienced this, like, and I'm, you know, because what I do, I'm an interviewer, I'm always asking people questions. And sometimes I get the sense of people don't like it, you know, that they'll say, why are you, why ask me personal questions? So it's not your business. Like, what happens? What do you, how do you advise the barbers when the customer's like, business? What are you asking all these questions for?

You know, honestly, it's because it is a conversation that they're having with their clients anyway, like they're talking with them about how did your week go? And, you know, how's your children doing the house? How's life going? Right? Or they're, they're getting in the chair and they're telling them about, you know, I had a fender bender, right? You know, like, I got a family member that's in and out of the hospital, you know, someone that's, that's not doing well from COVID. They already having these conversations, right? And so these tools and this framework that I've discussed is in place to pivot and help to train them in a talking manner around supporting their clients. And so is there the probe questions when someone makes a comment that may be detrimental to their mental health, or maybe they notice, Hey, this person is not grooming like they normally would have, or maybe they notice that this person has just not been themselves, right? And so now they're able to assess the situation and say, okay, you know, let us reach out to the confess project and let us reach out to these resources in our local area. Because in normal aspect, these are business owners who are just trying to make a living. So in their wildest imagination is that they never have to do this, right?

But the reality of it is they may have to, and they will because of the amount of people that are facing issues every day that are in and out of these barbershop facilities. So, you know, I think that that's how we're really helping them to show up is that they're still having normal conversations and they're still giving a haircut, giving them a trim, putting a raise around them, you know,

making them feel good. And that's when these tools are put to use. We're gonna take a quick break. But when we come back more from Lorenzo Lewis, the founder of the confess project, stay with us. I'm Guy Roz, and you're listening to How I Built This Lab. Reading minds is hard. Good news is you don't have to remove the guesswork and build products with greater confidence by including direct customer feedback using user testing at each stage of the product development process. Companies are being asked to do more with less. They need to move quickly to build experiences that meet changing customer expectations. And they need to do so faster than ever, all while minimizing risk and costly rework. With user testing, you can get rapid feedback from your target audiences so that you can make higher confidence decisions earlier, faster and throughout the product development process. Design, develop, deliver and optimize products and experiences with confidence and less risk.

Start your free test today at usertesting.com slash hibt. That's usertesting.com slash hibt. Workforce challenges, supply chain hiccups, digital finance, there's no shortage of volatility in business today. But volatility isn't the problem. Doing nothing is. Crow believes that within all these challenges lie hidden opportunities and better ways of doing things. With specialized experience in audit, tax, advisory and consulting, Crow can help you embrace volatility in today's economy. Visit embracevolatility.com to see how Crow can work with you. Once again, that's embracevolatility.com. Welcome back. You're listening to How I Built This Lab. Today, I'm speaking with Lorenzo Lewis.

He's the founder of the Confess Project. It's a social enterprise that trains barbers and hairstylists across the country to become mental health advocates. What is it about the barber's chairs? I was thinking about the experiences I had with my barbers when I lived in Washington, DC. I got to know my barber well and know his life story. I mean, he came across the border and came to the U.S. and under treacherous circumstances and eventually built this incredible business. My barber here in the Bay Area was addicted to drugs and almost dead and turned his life around and now owns this very successful barbershop. I know that because I've just gone there and we just talk. There's something about sitting in that chair where you, I don't know, you pour your heart out to people or

they tell you their stories. What explains it? Why? Historically, barbershops were known for so many things. If you go deeper back, there's literature there, The Black Barbershop. It talks about as one of the first jobs that even back as modern as slavery is that men were able to shave even the slave owners. There was one of the few jobs that they could have. It goes as even far back as you think about the civil rights era and the Malden brothers and Dr. Martin Luther King and the NAACP utilized barbershops as an organizing arena for voting. As you even think about now, with shots in the shop during COVID, there was vaccines given at the barbershop to keep people healthy. It's been a long tenure of connection to the barber chair historically. That's the history behind The Black Barbershop. It goes very deep.

I believe that we're just taking on the lineage that is provided for so many years and what has been provided for the public for so many years.

Yeah, but it is so intimate. You're sitting in that chair, it's just you and that person. Even though there's other people around you, you feel like there's an invisible wall around you where

what you say is just between the two of you. Yeah, you're so spot on. I always tell people it's probably one of the most intimate channels that allows men to get as close to them with a razor without being offended. It's an interesting caveat for sure. How many barbershops are now part of this network of The Confessed Project? I've lost count. Our team is constantly training by the day, but I do know as of December 31st, 2022, we had trained 2,000 barbers across 48 cities and 28 states, probably composing over three to 400 barbershops and schools. So we do train schools, but definitely each barber can reach up to about 100 patrons a month, and that's new and existing clients.

Let me ask you about the business side of this because of course, for Business Show, and this is a social enterprise, it's nonprofit, but you also are transitioning into a different phase of The Confessed Project in part because being a nonprofit means you have to spend a lot of time raising money to finance this project, but you have a new model that you're working on. Can you talk a little bit about that and how you're going to implement that?

Yeah, absolutely. So we've formed a joint venture that will help to lift up us working with insurances and Medicaid and Medicare, helping to navigate people to behavioral health services, helping to get people to, whether that's housing and transportation needs. We noticed that in our research guide that we've done, we worked with Harvard University, we worked with Georgia State University, and in our research, the barbers and the clients have stated that we can provide the services that they will come and that they will follow through better. And so we're not doing that through this new model. There's also going to be a sustainable financial model. So we're pitching this barbershop, someone leave there, they've talked to a barber, they're feeling good, they want to get help. We have a model now in which we're having interest all across the country, obviously, but we're really honing in in the city of Atlanta, where this would be our first clinic to provide these services through care coordination and patient navigation. But it will allow us to do billing, particularly and to be reimbursed for our time beyond the barbershop. And also, we're even looking at opportunities where the barbers can be reimbursed for their time, because there are selected states where they can be seen as healers, because they're already doing the work, they're doing peer intervention work. So there are funds out there that allows us to even reimburse our barbers. So that's a longer picture that we're working on. But in the short term, this model is becoming a healthcare model, essentially, where we'll provide these case management care management services to people that are coming out of these facilities.

And it will allow us to have a much more sustainable model outside of raising for grants and sponsorships and donations. We've been grateful over the last few years of partnering with people like Gillette and really foundations who've given us sustainable two to three year rows of capital. But however, we know that this new model will allow us to always bill for our time. And so that's really going to be exciting, a lot of growth. A lot of people have always wondered, well, what happens or what if the barber can't make the connection? Well,

now we have people who can make the connection. Lorenzo, in 10 years time or 20 years time,

what do you want TCP to look like? What's your vision? Honestly, I see TCP being a thriving ecosystem, whether it's not taking the road of what Kaiser may be, but a thriving health ecosystem to support people of all walks of life. And now as we get into this new model, we will serve more than just people of color. You know, obviously, you know, a lot of these different financial sources are geared towards supporting more people outside of just black people. So the Confess Project will continue to serve its primary audiences. But as we develop the new joint model that we're developing now, it will serve people of mental health for all and supporting people of all different backgrounds and walks of life. I'm really excited about that because, you know, you know, as we all are better and connected, we can do so much more together as well. And so I'm really excited about providing that value to the general public as we grow. But I see this being a pretty big ecosystem that provides value around the quality of life, whether it is housing, transportation, health, really seeing that people are stronger and better, but also with a very intentional connection to seeing people for who they really are. And it's my story where I've come from being seen and heard and building a safe space is so important. And that's one of the threads that I feel that's going to separate us from a lot of other models is that we will see people for who they really are identically because of just the people that we hire and our morals

and principles in our organization and companies. Lorenzo Luis of The Confessed Project. Thanks so much. Thank you. Hey, thanks so much for listening to How I Built This Lab. Please do follow us on your podcast app so you always have the latest episode downloaded. If you want to follow us on Twitter, our account is at how I built this and mine is at Guy Roz. And on Instagram, I'm at guy.raz. If you want to contact the team, our email address is hivt at id.wundery.com. This episode was produced by Karla Estevez with editing by John Isabella. Our music was composed by Ramtin Aragluhi. Our audio engineer was Stacey Abbott.

Our production team at How I Built This includes Alex Chung, Casey Herman, Chris Messini, Elaine Coates, J.C. Howard, Sam Paulson, Kerry Thompson, and Kira Joaquin. Neva Grant is our supervising editor. Beth Donovan is our executive producer. I'm Guy Roz, and you've been listening to How I Built This. Hey, Prime members, you can listen to How I Built This early and ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today, or you can listen early and ad-free with Wondery Plus and Apple Podcasts. If you want to show your support for our show, be sure to get your How I Built This merch and gear at WonderyShop.com. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at Wondery.com slash

survey. Toy Story was the first fully computer animated feature film, but its genius laid not in just its groundbreaking graphics, but also in its storytelling. Viewers became emotionally invested in the journey of the characters Buzz and Woody. The stakes were high for Pixar because a new rival animation studio was gathering strength. Dreamworks was fueled by founder Jeffrey Katzenberg's quest for revenge against Disney CEO Michael Eisner. But Katzenberg's not alone in his desire for retribution. Pixar's Steve Jobs also wants to outmaneuver Eisner and his magic kingdom. Hi, I'm David Brown, the host of Wondery Show Business Wars. We go deep into some of the biggest corporate rivalries of all time and in our latest series. Pixar has to contend not only with Dreamworks, the new kid in Hollywood, but with Disney's hunger for more control. Follow Business Wars wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen ad free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app.