• eclectic Toolbox

Getahead - Jennifer Cochrane

One of our aims at eclectic Toolbox is to create a visible network of creative industry members that are at the forefront of mental health awareness and helping to shape an informed and healthier industry.

Through this visible network we hope to create change. As part of our commitment to change we are spending time with individuals and organisations across the creative industry who are also advocating mental health initiatives and ahead of the curve in providing innovative pathways to wellbeing.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to self care and creating cultural shifts, so this agenda isn't just about what we are doing - it is about celebrating and amplifying what everyone is doing within this growing landscape.

Jenni Cochrane joins us as part of this growing network and with us on our journey to develop healthier working practices for everyone.

Introduced by one of our ambassadors, Seamus Haji, we had the pleasure of meeting Jenni at our London home The Ministry. After an inseparable hour of talking we soon realised we were embarking on synonymous missions.  

As such, Jenni invited us to speak at Getahead 2019, there we were joined by Poppy Jaman OBE and CEO of City Mental Health Alliance to share an expert and personal experience of mental health whilst working through tools for healthy living.

By reimagining corporate wellness through her startup Getahead Jenni has created a BIG BUZZ. We are delighted to be collaborating with her and Getahead’s cleverly curated team of ambassadors and fellow collaborators.

We caught up with Jenni to find out what has inspired her mission and devotion to creating change.

What do you do in the music industry?

Live events and festivals, however I’m now more in the health and wellbeing space than purely music. A few years ago my focus and responsibilities moved away from being music focussed and my role transitioned into more of a cultural and wellbeing one at the company I worked with. AEI was progressive and forward thinking when it came to employee wellbeing and encouraged me to lead in this area, and implement positive change and best practice to support the mental and physical wellbeing of the team. Much as my core business is no longer working directly in the music industry, my company Getahead does have strong ties with music via our annual festival and events, record label, partners and related content.

What inspired you to want to work in the music industry?

Love of music, desire to travel and meet new people. I was lucky enough to work in Ibiza from a young age, I met the most amazing people and was exposed to a wide variety of musical genres and cultures, and was able to pick up the tools of the trade and learn from the best. I got the bug early and thankfully was lucky enough to make a career out of something I loved and go on to work with incredible brands and artists on a global scale.

What do you do to support wellbeing and promote mental health awareness in the industry?

I run Getahead, a mental health and wellbeing organisation, which has strong roots in music. We have an annual 24 hour festival plus pop up events around London, a podcast, record label and Getahead At Work, our employee wellbeing program.

We work with and support charities and organisations who already do great work in the mental health space for the music industry, and help amplify their message through partnership and collaboration.

We drive awareness through Getaheads initiatives and campaigns both on and offline, with live music at events, releases on the record label and guest features on our podcast.

We work closely with music organisations on their employee mental health and wellbeing strategies and implement bespoke programmes for them with content and speakers across Getaheads pillars;

Health, Development and Fun.

Getaheads ethos is;

Less stress = More focus = Better teamwork = Increased productivity = Better results

Why is this important to you and to the music industry?

Historically there was little or no awareness or support out there for people in the music industry with any form of mental health or wellbeing relates issues, and not just with artists, but at all levels.

The pressures put on the industry are huge- long hours, late nights, peer pressure, fierce competition, you name it. The relevant support and best practice needs to be implemented across the board to ensure people can work hard and love their craft, but thrive and not suffer in silence. It’s crucial we keep the conversation going, help to drop the stigma and offer safe environments where people to open up and share- whether that be in the workplace, on a tour bus, backstage at a gig, or a fan at a concert.

The music industry has so many highs, but offers so many reasons to not look after yourself- we need to protect and look after ourselves. Encourage self-love, healthy eating, exercise and mindfulness where appropriate. These things are not for everyone, but a little change can go a long way and with the right encouragement, support and direction positive change can happen.

Where would you like to see the industry in 12 months time?

More early intervention and support from organisations- mental health and wellbeing support for employees as standard. Mental health first aid training is a great tool so employees can spot the early signs, and understand how to more effectively support and help one another both inside and outside the workplace.

It has to come from the top, business owners have a responsibility to make provision for this, it shouldn’t be seen as an added cost or unnecessary requirement it should be something the industry wants to support.

Some excellent tools to trial are, flexible working hours, option to work from home, quiet hour, leaving your desk and going for a walk, meditation and breath work, these can all have a positive impact on health & wellbeing and don’t necessarily carry a direct cost.

More on hand support at events for fans as well as the artists themselves, more training and support for the people behind the scenes as well as those in the limelight. More support and awareness around the positive impacts of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and the dangers and long term effects of alcohol and drugs- these seems like obvious things to address but there is still not enough awareness surrounding them.

There also needs to be far more signposting and awareness around all of the great services that are out there for those in need of help- including Music Minds Matter, Hub Of Hope, My Black Dog, Mind, and Samaritans amongst many more.

What is the biggest health challenge you’ve faced as a result of working in the industry?

Lack of sleep due to long working hours and travel, and dare I say it ‘burning the candle at both ends’- working hard and playing hard always seems like a good idea at the time, but it takes its toll! I wouldn’t say I was ever driven by peer pressure, but alcohol, drugs, parties and good times were always on offer as I was growing up in the industry!

Thankfully there is now far more awareness around sleep, nutrition, and the impact of alcohol and drugs, and access to information is more readily available so younger people joining the industry these days hopefully aren’t in as much danger of going down a rabbit hole.

How do you keep healthy?

I’m not a gym goer, but I love yoga and find it really grounds me. I use breath work to calm myself down if I’m feeling stressed or anxious. It sounds so obvious but I need to get a good night’s sleep and eat well, the fuel you put in your body impacts your overall health- a healthy gut = a healthy mind. Lots of water and a balanced diet pays dividends and I’ve learned this the hard way in past years!

Best piece of advice you have for those looking to start a career in the industry

Work hard, but make sure you practice self-care to maximise productivity and your chances of success. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise in whatever capacity you are comfortable with. Take plenty of breaks through the day, go for a walk, step away from your desk and take regular breaks from screens (both phones and computers).

Learn to network and build your contacts, your black book can be your fortune- but don’t let this be at the detriment of your health…

Look out for your colleagues- be a supportive friend and remember that a big smile on the outside doesn’t always mean a big smile on the inside.

Getahead returns in 2020 on Friday 11th September and we can’t wait to be involved.

Follow @GetaheadLife #GetaheadLife to keep up to date with announcements and pop up events across the year.