Helen Massy is the founder and CEO of two businesses that may seem quite different but are born from the same life experience.
Medical and Health Writer is a global journalism and content writing company producing reliable health content that can lead to better health outcomes, reduce misinformation, and ultimately contribute to the overall wellbeing of individuals and communities.
With clients such as Pfizer, Novartis, Health.com, Giddy, and more, Helen is dedicated to bridging the gap between medical companies and people, helping them empower individuals with understandable and relatable health information backed by science.
Although covering all medical topics, Helen specialises in opening up conversations around taboo topics such as sexual health, women’s health, and men’s health, endeavouring to normalise them in everyday conversation. Discussing taboo health topics is crucial to reducing stigma and promoting understanding. Normalising these conversations can provide accurate information, encourage empathy, and ensure that individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support, leading to improved overall wellbeing.
In addition, Helen also runs Career Pursuit CIC: a one-stop resource hub to empower UK military spouses/partners through career change. As a military spouse or partner, there can be many job-related challenges: frequent house moves, CV gaps, career shifts, childcare needs, and the pressures of military life.
Finding the right career support can be a lengthy, frustrating process. As a busy military family juggling so many plates, people need access to high-quality information easily and quickly! Career Pursuit brings together all the resources and support into one comprehensive hub. As part of Career Pursuit, Helen produces a magazine to help military families through their career journey, which goes in print to every UK military base, tri-service, UK-wide, as well as being available digitally worldwide.
For her support to the Armed Forces community, this year Helen has been a named finalist in the esteemed Soldiering on Awards, and Career Pursuit CIC has achieved the prestigious Silver Defence ERS (Employer Recognition Scheme) award. Career Pursuit is continuing to make huge strides towards its mission of enhancing the lives of members of the military community.
Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hi, I’m Helen Massy, a dedicated business owner, a resilient military spouse, a mother of three, and a coffee lover.
Over the course of my journey as a military spouse spanning two decades, I have encountered and triumphed over the myriad challenges of harmonising a professional career with the demands of military life. After a long career as a clinical specialist in the NHS, I had to begin a new career alongside raising a young family and moving internationally, which is how I came to set up both of my companies (more on that later).
Yet, even amid the hustle and bustle of business pursuits, it is paramount to acknowledge that my foremost role is that of a mother. My daily life revolves around my family. A delightful interlude in my routine is walking our beloved Irish Setter, affectionately known as Weasley the Wellbeing Dog. He is a source of immense joy and chaos in our lives, offering a sense of equilibrium amid the whirlwind of our diverse responsibilities.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
For over a decade, I poured my heart and soul into my career within the NHS. I worked as a physiotherapist and clinical specialist in respiratory disease. The highs were exhilarating, the lows were humbling, and every moment was a testament to my unwavering commitment to serving others. I cherished the opportunity to make a real impact on people’s lives through my work.
However, life and career do not always neatly intertwine. I am a military spouse and a mum of three young children. The life of a military family is marked by constant change – deployments, overseas relocations, and the inevitable stressors that come with the territory. A move overseas with young children was the turning point that led me to reassess my career. I could no longer work clinically, and I quickly discovered that being a stay-at-home mom was not my calling; my desire to use my clinical knowledge and passion for helping people remained unquenched.
With time, introspection, and extensive research, the pieces of my professional puzzle fell into place. As life led us to the Falkland Islands, an unexpected venture emerged – a blog about our life there. It garnered a surprising following, and I also embarked on a unique side hustle – delivering fish around camp (but that’s another story). But amidst these adventures, a more profound realisation emerged. Conversations with fellow members of the Armed Forces community highlighted a new path forward.
You see, my love for reading, research, and writing had always been a quiet undercurrent in my life. It was a passion that had been simmering beneath the surface. And through these discussions, it became abundantly clear that medical writing, content creation, and journalism could meld all my passions into one harmonious career.
And so, here I stand today, a global medical and health journalist, content writer, and founder of a community interest company. I have two missions. First, to open up conversations about those often-overlooked and taboo health topics. Second, to support military spouses/partners through career change. I am on a relentless quest to bridge the gap between knowledge and understanding to empower individuals with information that can transform lives.
My journey, though unconventional, has led me to a place of purpose, and I am committed to sharing the stories that matter, fostering dialogue, and making a meaningful difference.
Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?
My business model is in a perpetual state of evolution, mirroring both enterprises’ growth, transformation, and advancement. What started off as small ideas from my kitchen table have grown to be much larger than I expected.
Business models need to evolve to stay relevant and competitive in dynamic markets. Adapting to changing customer preferences, technological advancements, and economic shifts is essential for sustained growth and long-term success. Businesses that fail to adapt risk becoming obsolete and losing their competitive edge.
However, although the model has changed, the end goals remain the same.
Have you ever had a mentor? If so, how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?
I’ve had several mentors and coaches over the years. I’m lucky to have access to mentoring programmes through the military, and the support they have provided has been invaluable. Alongside this, I have chosen to hire life and business coaches at different stages depending on where I feel coaching may help.
Working with mentors and coaches has benefitted me enormously in business and life. They help me navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and set strategic goals. I find a mentor’s experience and perspective can accelerate my personal and professional growth, increasing the chances of business success.
Recently, I even went on a caving expedition with a coach to help transform my mindset. Caving is not just an adventure; it’s a transformational journey that moulds an unyielding mindset. Navigating tight spaces, darkness, and unpredictable conditions helps develop problem-solving skills, adaptability, and the ability to face discomfort with resilience. It was exactly what I needed to change my perspective and get a boost to strive forward again.
What outlets do you use for marketing?
I predominately market through social media and in-person networking. Although I shied away from networking for some time in the beginning, I soon learned it fosters personal connections, immediate feedback, and increased credibility. It also enables word-of-mouth marketing and targeted networking while providing opportunities for learning and collaboration. The majority of my clients find me through word of mouth and recommendations.
What or Who has inspired you most recently?
Gabby Bernstein has always inspired me due to her empowering and transformative messages. She shares personal stories of overcoming challenges, anxiety, and addiction, which resonate with people at all different stages in life. Her teachings on self-love, mindfulness, and spirituality provide practical tools for personal growth and wellbeing. I find her relatable and appreciate her guidance in leading a more fulfilling and authentic life.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Success often requires persistence and resilience. Stay committed to your vision, even when facing challenges and setbacks.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
There’s no doubt about it that balancing parenting, a personal life, and a business is a huge juggle. However, being an entrepreneur offers the invaluable benefit of flexibility. You have the autonomy to design your work schedule and prioritise and adapt to your children’s needs and personal commitments.
As I can work in the evening when the kids are in bed, I often choose to network, socialise, or take some time for self-care during the day. Then I pick up work in the evening if I need to. I do the same if the kids are sick or my husband has a day off work. Working 9 am-5 pm doesn’t suit my lifestyle, and there is no need for me to stick to those hours. Finding a flexible schedule has been key to finding balance.
Name a seminal point in your career so far?
This year has been a big year for Career Pursuit CIC with three key achievements:
- Winning essential funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust
- Achieving the prestigious Silver Defence ERS (Employer Recognition Scheme) award
- Being a named finalist in the esteemed Soldiering on Awards
It has been incredible to be recognised for the work we are doing and also to be able to reach and support more military families.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
My main goal for both businesses is to drive systemic change. Working toward and being part of this change is what gives me satisfaction.
The need for systemic change in addressing taboo health topics is imperative to break down barriers and improve overall wellbeing. Taboo health issues, such as mental health, sexual health, and addiction, have long been stigmatised and under-addressed. By driving systemic change, we can promote open dialogue, research, and accessible healthcare services. It is not just about addressing specific health issues but transforming the way society views and discusses these topics, thereby fostering healthier and more inclusive communities.
Alongside this, traditionally, the military family was made up of a stay-at-home parent (predominately a stay-at-home mum in the past). However, this model is no longer sustainable or practical in today’s rapidly changing world. Military spouses, who play a vital role in supporting their service member and maintaining stability during frequent relocations, now seek opportunities to build careers and financial independence. Supporting military spouses in their career aspirations is not only a matter of fairness and equality but also essential for the overall well-being of military families. I now sit on the Ministry of Defence Partner Employment steering group to help drive this support and systemic change at a policy level.
Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire, and if so, why?
I’ve always admired Sara Blakely due to her journey from humble beginnings to becoming a self-made billionaire entrepreneur. She founded Spanx, revolutionising the shapewear industry through innovative products. Her resilience in the face of rejection and adversity, along with her commitment to philanthropy and empowering women, sets a compelling example. I’m inspired by her presence as a prominent female entrepreneur in what was a male-dominated field.
How do you define your own success?
For me, success is not defined by professional achievements but by finding the balance between the demands of my career and the joys of family life. Achieving professional milestones is undoubtedly significant, but the ability to nurture meaningful relationships, be present for family moments, and foster a supportive and joyful home environment is equally vital.
Finally, what can we expect from you next?
Exciting times are on the horizon for both businesses as we gear up for a transformative 2024. At Medical and Health Writer, I’m both re-branding and diving headfirst into thrilling new projects. Next year, you will find me contributing to an innovative cancer care app and unveiling a one-of-a-kind women’s health journal.
Meanwhile, Career Pursuit is expanding its reach to touch the lives of even more military families, and our sights are set on the launch of a game-changing event app and a fresh, dynamic young person’s career magazine. Stay tuned because there’s a whirlwind of excitement brewing in both companies.