More than a year after first stepping back from his official duties with the British royal family, Prince Harry has two new American jobs, focusing on mental health, employee coaching and fighting misinformation.

BetterUp, Inc. announced Tuesday the Duke of Sussex would be joining their team as its first chief impact officer, in a role in which he’ll aim to “lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations.”

“My hope is to help people develop their inner strength, resilience, and confidence,” Harry wrote in a blog posted Tuesday to the company’s site. “I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritising our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us. As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us.”

And if you think this is a publicity stunt, think again.

Chief Executive Officer Alexi Robichaux told the Associated Press Wednesday that although the attention and press from hiring Harry “certainly helps” bring awareness to the company, it wasn’t “the driving motivation here.”

Robichaux said the role emerged out of months of conversations he and Harry had after they were introduced by an unnamed mutual friend who rightly thought the two thought alike.

“There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm on both sides around this mission of how could we use technology, how could we use science, how could we use human experts to help people go through a personal growth and transformation journey?” Robichaux said. “And so that was the start.”

Robichaux told the Wall Street Journal Harry’s role would be “meaningful and meaty” and that the royal would spend some time in the organization’s San Francisco office once it’s safe to do so, though he won’t directly be responsible for any employees. And the prince is leaving the formalities at the door.

“In the workplace, he prefers to be called Harry,” Robichaux told AP. “So we address him as Harry. He’s extremely approachable and accessible, and he certainly is very stately and dignified. But I think one of the coolest things is he likes to roll up his sleeves and be helpful and very focused on adding value.”

When asked about Prince Harry’s compensation for the role, a representative for BetterUp directed USA TODAY to Robichaux’s WSJ interview, in which he declined to comment.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan exposed royal friction during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Harry also has another role: He is among 15 people tapped for the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, a six-month study “combating America’s urgent mis- and disinformation challenge,” the Washington, D.C.-based organization announced Wednesday.

“As I’ve said, the experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in,” Prince Harry said in a statement provided to USA TODAY. “It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue – and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders.

“I’m eager to join this new Aspen commission and look forward to working on a solution-oriented approach to the information disorder crisis.”

Co-chaired by journalist Katie Couric, cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs, and racial equity leader Rashad Robinson, the commission will meet “regularly” beginning next month, discussing a variety of ways misinformation impacts society, “from the 2020 election and vaccine safety, to the ongoing risk to communities of color, to threats from state and non-state actors,” according to a press release. This fall, they plan to publish recommendations for actionable and long-term solutions.

Harry has spent the past few years championing mental health services and opening up about his own struggles. Last May, he joined forces with the British Ministry of Defence to launch HeadFIT, an online platform of resources to help troops deal with mental-health problems, including consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Prince Harry’s bio on the organization’s website mentions the couple’s foundation, Archewell, and notes he is “focused on driving systemic change across all communities through non-profit work as well as creative activations.”

“The mission across Archewell…is united behind the deeply held belief that compassion is the defining cultural force of the 21st century,” the bio reads.

In other Sussex news, the royal couple announced several staffing changes at their production company at Archewell, including Oscar-nominated producer Ben Browning as head of content. He will oversee their film and audio projects under their Netflix and Spotify deals.

Browning is one of the four producers of “Promising Young Woman,” up for a best-picture Oscar next month in addition to multiple other film nominations. He also executive produced HBO’s limited series “I Know This Much Is True,” for which Mark Ruffalo won an Emmy and Golden Globe for acting.

In a statement issued by Archewell, Browning said Harry and Meghan are building “a next-generation production company” with powerful partners and global reach.

BetterUp’s announcement about Harry’s new role comes a few weeks following Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which the couple cited their declining mental health and a lack of help and resources from the palace as one of the defining reasons for stepping back from the royal family.

“I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she said, tearing up. “I was ashamed to admit it to Harry, but I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. It was clear, it was real, it was frightening, and it was a constant thought.”

Meghan couldn’t get any help from “the institution” of the monarchy, because she wasn’t an employee, she was told. She couldn’t check into a hospital because that wouldn’t look good. “You can’t just call an Uber to the palace,” she half-joked.

“It was a really difficult environment, as I think a lot of people saw. We all know what the British press can be like. And it was destroying my mental health,” he said on Corden’s “The Late Late Show.” “I was like, ‘This is toxic.’ So I did what any husband and father would do… I need to get my family out of here.”

He continued: “But we never walked away – and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side – I will never walk away. I will always be contributing – my life is public service, so wherever I am in the world it is going to be the same thing.”

 

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