I am CEO

Founder and Therapist Promotes Mental Health while Building a Successful Business

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM2014

Dr. Mahogany Hall's entrepreneurial story began as a solo practitioner in 2013, driven by her passion for helping others. Recognizing the need to reach as many people as possible, she expanded her practice into a group practice called Hall Counseling Services in 2017.

Driven by a mission to create a safe space for everyone, Dr. Hall and her team provide individual therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy. Their approach focuses on understanding and addressing clients' unique needs, making them stand out in their field.

Dr. Mahogany Hall's journey as an entrepreneur and mental health advocate demonstrates the power of passion, purpose, and perseverance.

Through Hall Counseling Services, she is making a lasting impact on her community by providing high-quality mental health services to underserved populations.

Dr. Hall's commitment to creating safe spaces, breaking taboos, and ensuring holistic well-being sets an example for current and aspiring business owners alike. By emphasizing mental health in the business realm, we can build successful ventures while fostering a healthier society.

Website: hallcounselingservices.com

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Full Interview:


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Mahogany Hall Teaser 00:00

Then we also provide family therapy. So we have people, so it may be two parents and a child that come in and they're having some issues within the household and they want us to help them navigate that.

Intro 00:10

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

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Gresham Harkless 00:39

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Dr. Mahogany Hall. Dr. Mahogany, excited to have you on the show.

Mahogany Hall 00:48

Thank you. I'm happy to be here.


Gresham Harkless 00:49

Yeah, me too. And we're actually recording live from the Intelligent Office in Alexandria, Virginia. So super happy and grateful that they bless us with the opportunity to do the recording here. So I guess just to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock here a little bit more on how you got started, what you do and all the awesome impact you're having.

Mahogany Hall 01:05

Sure, sure. So I am the owner of a mental health practice. It's called Hall Counseling Services. And we specialize in treating the LGBTQ plus community as well as racial trauma. So, something that I, I've had this practice as a group practice, so I have roughly 15 clinicians on my team and started the practice since 2017 as a group practice, but I've been doing it individually since 2013, which I was a solo practitioner at that time.

So, yeah, we're here to help people in the community. And, essentially, when I started I, I always saw myself being a therapist. So, I was like, I know this is something that I want to do. I really want to help people to make people feel good. Right and to make sure that people are healthy in the way that I know this.

And so, that's what made me start as a solo practitioner. And then the referrals just kept coming, coming and coming. And I was like, I have to, my goal has always been to reach as many people as possible. So started hiring clinicians tested one or two and in a group. So here we are now. So, yeah.

Gresham Harkless 02:14

Yeah, they always say anytime you're doing great work and you're great at the things you do, just watch out, hold your hand and hold everything else because it can take off from there.

Mahogany Hall 02:21

Yeah. Yeah. I was someone that told me that ahead of time because I never wanted to manage people at all.

Yeah, and it's funny because, now, as an adult, I know that you should always think as big as possible. So if you're thinking a million, change it to a billion, et cetera. But, yeah, I was just wanting to do this 1 on 1 didn't want to work with couples, groups, families, nothing. And I definitely didn't want to be responsible for anybody's payroll.

Yeah, but again, here I am.

Gresham Harkless 02:47

There you go. There you go. It's not somebody's payroll. You're paying for NASA. There you go. So you still treat that. So I guess take me through a little bit more on like how you're working with and serve your clients. What that looks like, what that process looks like.

Mahogany Hall 03:01

Yeah, absolutely. So we provide I would say essentially 3 types of services.

So the 1st one is the main one is individual therapy. So, we hear people talk about being in therapy all the time. They're like, Hey, my therapist helps me through life challenges, et cetera. So that's just a 1 on 1 service.

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Then we also provide family therapy. So we have people, so it may be two parents and a child that come in and they're having some issues within the household and they want us to help them navigate that.

And then we also do couples therapy as well, which it's interesting because there are parts of the year where that ramps up a little more. It's interesting because right now I think we're actually seeing it more in the fall. But you would think it would be summertime. It seems like that's when a lot of breakups occur, but there's a huge influx right now.

Gresham Harkless 03:49

Interesting. I guess you end up spending, maybe it's like that pandemic carry over where you're spending more time around each other. It's colder outside of you.

Mahogany Hall 03:54

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Probably it's the result of the pandemic, maybe that transition of seasons. So yeah.

Gresham Harkless 04:01

Yeah, absolutely. I love that you work in, help out clients in so many different ways.

Do you find I guess that has expanded as you start to bring on more people on the team and had so many clinicians?

Mahogany Hall 04:12

Oh yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. We've grown pretty quickly again. When I initially started out, I think I was seeing maybe seven clients a week and we're well over 500 clients at this point, so, we've grown significantly.

Gresham Harkless 04:27

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And do you feel like that's your secret sauce? And this could be for yourself, the organization or a combination of both? Is it your ability to be able to serve? Which might be like a not as I guess I don't want to say underserved. That might be an accurate word communities.

Do you feel like that part of?

Mahogany Hall 04:46

Yeah, yeah, we actually took the words, right? Yeah, no, that's absolutely right. So I think I think that the intersectionality of, the people that we serve really makes us unique and it makes us stand out from other businesses. It's not every day that. You go to a business and they're like, hey, we want to work with people of color people who are in the queer community.

Women sometimes and we serve everyone to be clear. So our motto is that we're a safe space for everybody. So we see any type of client. You can imagine comes through our doors, right? But these are just our specialty areas.

So, yeah, I think that makes us stand out and we hear we get pretty good feedback from our clients to well, good and bad, bad, and it has taken them a really long time to find us because they have been looking for, therapists that they feel they can relate to, or who might be able to relate to them sometimes who look like them, have sharing that same cultural experience.

And so, I hate that it takes them so long to find us, but once they find us, I think we're, we do pretty well with them.

Gresham Harkless 05:46

Yeah, that makes so much sense. Do you feel like part of it is, especially in these underserved communities sometimes, therapy or having those conversations are for lack of a better term, taboo, and they don't have it.

Or do you think it's just something that they're just searching and looking for their actual safe space? And they just haven't found it.

Mahogany Hall 06:01

Yeah, I do think, I think it's. I think it's less taboo than it used to be than it once was. Which I'm grateful for, because I think we're starting to talk about the importance of mental health and, across cultures.

And particularly in communities of color. It's a lot less taboo, but I think that. We've gotten over the hump of mental health being so extremely taboo. And now people are just like, okay, I'm on board with therapy, but I need to make sure that I have the right fit. I don't want to walk into a room, share all of my personal private details of my journey and my life with someone.

Who I feel that there's a disconnect with,

Gresham Harkless 06:36

right? And it sounds like a lot of for a better term vulnerability around having those conversations. So, I love that you talk about that safe space and have that imprinted and everything that you all are doing, because I think when you are having those vulnerable conversations, you're those intimate detail, all those things is to me, it would be hard to do that.

If you don't have that safety or security.

Mahogany Hall 06:56

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 06:59

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have or what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Mahogany Hall 07:09

So, it's funny, because I think about this quite a bit. But I, so it's not a book. And it I guess it is an app right now, but so the foundation of the app is it's called Earn Your Leisure. So I'm not sure if you're familiar with Earn Your Leisure, but these 2 brothers.

That started this like media company from New York and their goal is to reach as many people and teach financial literacy, right? And so, they have a platform that's called EYLU. So it's earned your leisure university. And as a part of that platform, which, it's a paid service, but you pay for the service and you get webinars and information on so many different things, business related.

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So, it's like from, learning how to get into real estate to starting a business to paying taxes to starting, an LLC, the difference between an LLC and being a sole proprietor. And the thing that I love the most about them is that even though it's not their specialty area, they see the importance of mental health.

Because I think they understand that you can have the business. You can have the money and everything that you want. But if your mental health isn't intact, then it's all in vain. It doesn't really mean much. And so, as a part of this platform, they actually have a mental health section and I was fortunate to be able to meet them a couple of years ago.

So I'm actually now the chair of their mental health club on this platform. So it's great. It's it's just well-rounded. It's like a one-stop shop.

Gresham Harkless 08:39

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that a lot of times as you said so well, I've heard the phrase and I'm sure the phrase thrown around like health is wealth.

And I think that health includes that mental part. And I think that I don't know if it's been like, during the pandemic, or you've seen that after the pandemic that people are more open to have those conversations, but it feels it's a lot less taboo, a lot more conversations than it would have been before.

Mahogany Hall 09:02

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yes, and I think the pandemic actually contributed to that largely because people started struggling so much during the pandemic. So, a question that we get a lot is, like, how does your business do during the pandemic? And the answer to that is we did extremely well and it's there's the advantages of it as a business owner, but then the disadvantages that we're watching so many people struggle.

And so, people being tethered to their homes, to their households, to their spouses, to their children, not having that personal space made a huge impact on. And not in the best way. . But because we're a mental health service, we were able to provide telehealth services or what we call virtual therapy.

And that, allowed us to guide and help people through the pandemic, so.

Gresham Harkless 09:49

Yeah. That's a beautiful part about, the work that you all do, but I feel like anybody that has a gift or a talent expertise and knowledge to be able to share that in so many different ways.

I appreciate you for being able to share so much there.

So what would you consider to be what I call a CEO nugget? This is a little bit more word of wisdom or a piece of advice. I usually say it might be something that if you were to hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business off or potentially tell your clients.

Mahogany Hall 10:10

I think make sure that whatever you choose to do, you have a passion for it, right? Because I think that, a lot of times. I'll say, I'll use the example growing up, I think many of us have heard oh, my goodness, you should be an engineer. You should be a lawyer. You should be a doctor, et cetera. And those things are absolutely wonderful professions to go into, but it doesn't align with everybody's personality and what they want to do what they're good at.

And so I think that it's really important to make sure that you're doing something that you love to do, that you enjoy, because, as a business owner, you, I love what I do, but there are still challenges, right? It's hard work, right? Because you're always going to go the hardest for yourself, right?

It's hard work and there are challenges that come along with it. And it's the passion that I have for what I do that keeps me going during those challenging moments. So if I'm, selling doughnuts and I hate doughnuts, then that's not going to be too helpful for me when the business goes down.

And I'm like, you know what? I never wanted to do this anyway. So, yeah, I think that is really important and just always being true to yourself. On the business end, I would say, make sure you have, a good there are some, some things that you definitely need there because there are people, especially during the pandemic.

A lot of people started to go into business for themselves, right? And, but they didn't really know how to do that or what that looked like. So, my background is mental health and psychology and social work. And so no one ever told me how to start a business, how to be successful in that taxes look like a corporate taxes, et cetera.

So I think that it's important to make sure that you build a team around you that can help you through those things. Because the truth is that we're just, we're not going to be an expert in every area. But if you have people around you who have the knowledge, then it'll help you to be successful.

Gresham Harkless 12:01

Yeah. It helps to support each other and be able to stay true to your lane. So how do you find that discovery, find that awareness of itself and that journey?

Mahogany Hall 12:07

Yeah. I think there are several ways that you can find it. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I think that it's a privilege to have opportunities as a young person to be able to explore what you like and what you don't like.

So, I think we have to 1st, acknowledge that there's a socioeconomic status component to this. So, if you do have the opportunity to try different things as a child, definitely do that anytime you see that there are, like programs that you can become, be a part of participate in jump on those.

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There, I think there are opportunities that come along the way in schools, maybe programs outside of school. But the wonderful thing is now we have Google. So, if there's anything that you think you may be interested in Google and find something that you're interested in meet-up groups, there are just so there are ways to find people who are interested in the same things that you're interested in so that you can learn more about it.

Maybe they have resources that you don't have. But I think just being open-minded if you're open-minded, and you're willing to try and explore different things somewhere along the way, you're going to find something that you really like.

And it also goes back to self-awareness, like being able to tap into. So, what is it that moves me? What is my gut telling me? That really excites me.

Gresham Harkless 13:23

Yeah, that makes sense. And I think the beautiful thing, and sometimes it's going to be the thing that makes you pull your hair out is that sometimes that thing that makes your heart sing, so to speak, and the thing that you As you're calling purpose and things, it's sometimes difficult for other people to tell you.

It's that sometimes you can confirm it. But I think sometimes when you look on the outside and someone says you should be X, Y and Z, if it doesn't resonate with you and you have a self-awareness, then that's not going to connect as much as you won't know that. And sometimes the person may not be able to tell you.

So I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Dr. Mahogany, what does being a CEO mean to you.

Mahogany Hall 14:03

So being CEO for me means that I am now responsible for helping and reaching as many people as possible, but to do that not only through my direct work, but through the people who are on my team who work for me. And so I really see it as a huge responsibility. I take it very seriously.

And I would hope the other CEOs do as well. But that's my goal to reach as many people and to do it effectively, right? To do it in a way that is really touching people. We have a lot of I look at YouTube and there's so much material out there. Some of it is great. Some of it, not so much.

And I think if people really focused on being effective and, perfecting their craft and being great at what they do, we would have a lot more quality material out there. So we also have to be careful with the information that we put out.

Gresham Harkless 14:55

Yeah, absolutely. I think that speaks definitely to being like a better term, a steward of what it is that you are, either going through that journey, being open around that you're continuing to perfect your craft, which we all are to some degree. But I think.

But you have to be very careful. And that's why I love that word responsible around what you are putting out there sometimes, because some of that information and that narrative isn't necessarily always true. And I think, people can sometimes listen to that here that take that and run with it.

And that's not always in a good. place.

Mahogany Hall 15:24

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Awesome. Dr. Mahogany, truly appreciate that definition and of course, appreciate your time even more. So what I want you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our listeners know. And ofcourse, how best way we can get ahold of you and find about all of you and find about all the awesome things, you and your team are working on.

Mahogany Hall 15:41

Yeah, absolutely. So I am again, the owner of Hall Counseling Services. So our office is located in Virginia. We're about, I would say, 15 minutes outside of DC. metro area and I can be reached on Instagram at the Mahogany Doctor. So, that's usually how I connect with people, but also if people are looking for services, check out the website, hallcounselingservices.com.

There you can leave your contact information and let us know what type of services you're looking for. And yeah, we're here to help as many people as possible. So let us know what you need.

Gresham Harkless 16:06

Absolutely. And to make it even easier. We'll have the links and information to show us as well, too, so that everybody can follow up with you, find out about all the awesome things and of course, get any services they need, truly appreciate you for taking some time out.

Mahogany Hall 16:19

Thank you for having me.

Outro 16:19

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify. Google podcasts and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


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