Talley – Revolutionising mental wellness as we know it

September 25, 2020

talley app

Talley is founded by Lara Cena, and an accomplished Business Analyst with 5 years of experience working in tech. Her continuous efforts to create a stance for women in tech-led environments led her to join the Women in tech Forum at 20th Century Fox and volunteer for women in tech-driven events such as Ada’s List. 

After going through a few traumatic situations in her personal life, Lara was inspired to create Talley. In 2016 after receiving a demotion at work and experiencing money issues and extreme sadness as a result. Within the space of a month, Lara realized her reference group could not relate to her issues, and that she couldn’t speak to friends or family for fear of judgment. She needed a platform where she could anonymously speak to people who had experienced what she was going through but couldn’t find any safe space where she could connect based on experiences.

Talley, the mental wellness startup and peer-to-peer therapy platform were born in November 2019. Talley helps communities discuss personal issues in a safe space where someone truly listens to them. Through Lara’s work and recent crowdfunding campaign, Talley aims at becoming a mental wellness application that people can turn to when going through emotional distress stemming from real-life situations. With Talley, people are connected to real individuals who have been through the same distressing experiences, and professionals well equipped to help.

Lara is a trained mental health first aider and has become a champion for mental wellness, through her work as Founder of Talley and her social media presence. She often speaks on the importance of mental health, as well as the need to help people become self-aware and take control of their own lives. As a result, she started the Vision Board Workshop, a non-profit workshop session series to help people assimilate their goals for the year ahead and put in actionable plans. 

This is only the beginning for Lara, as she is a woman on a mission to give back. She aims to do so not only through championing mental wellness but also female empowerment and tackling period poverty in the future.

How would you describe Talley to a 3-year-old?

As a safe space where you can go whenever you’re feeling like you can’t talk to family or friends about life situations you may be going through. At Talley, we connect you to other people who understand what you’re going through because they have been in similar life situations and you’re able to have anonymous conversations with them. They are basically there to listen, you can get an understanding of their experiences as well.

What is the story behind Talley?

The story behind Talley is my own experience: I went through a tough experience where  I felt like I couldn’t speak to family or friends. I was experiencing issues at work, with my finances and in my relationship, I felt alone in my struggle, and that was when I had an epiphany. I thought that it would be nice for people to be able to actually have an outlet, especially when they feel like they can’t or don’t want to speak to family and friends. Surprisingly speaking to strangers is quite easier than speaking to people very close to you sometimes, especially when you don’t want to revisit the issue over and over again.

How is Talley different from your competitors? What is your unique selling point?

Talley is different because we connect you based on experiences to other people who have been through similar life situations as yourself, so we’re not just connecting you to random listeners, we try to connect you to people who have close experiences to yourself. Empathy amplifies our experience as humans.

What is the most difficult aspect of running your own company?

The most difficult aspect I guess is funding, getting that funding hurdle, and doing it right. Also, for us at the minute a lot of the people who work with us are volunteers, so it is also about managing volunteers and people who are willing to give whatever time and skills they can – and it leads me back to the funding because if we had enough money we would pay people and would be able to get their full time. It’s a journey, but we’ll get there.

Tell us a curious fact or an anecdote related to Talley

Talley is run on a team of volunteers: we are a very tight-knit team, we’re like a family I guess. It’s so much fun, when we do our team meetings we start with a check-in and we do a checkout as we do on our TalleyTalks. Also, every two weeks we all watch a movie together and discuss it during our team meetings, it kind of keeps engagement – because we are a mental wellness community, the team’s mental wellness is paramount. It is important that we walk the walk we talk about. So, when we do our check-ins, our check-ins are not about the work we’re doing, it’s more about our personal lives, like how we are really doing, so it could be positive or negative as much as people are willing to share.

Talley is given $1 million, how would you spend/invest them?

I think if we’re given one million dollars, the first thing we would do is get full-time staff, pick a few people to work full time. We would also get our app up and running, and we would basically get more people attending TalleyTalks because they are very helpful, and we get so much good feedback every time.

Where is Talley headed now? What’s the next big thing you’re striving to achieve?

The next big thing for us after finishing our crowdfunding is the development of our application.

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