Dave Cortright

147 karmaJoined Dec 2018Working (15+ years)


I am a certified professional coach (New Ventures West), with additional experience in crisis counseling (Crisis Text Line), compassionate listening (7 Cups), and peer mentoring (NAMI). I shifted to mental health and well-being after 25 years of working as a designer, manager, and director at various Silicon Valley tech companies. I am passionate about helping others, and by guiding them to find their true calling, I amplify my impact on improving the world.

I have been a serious philanthropist since 2004 and an effective altruist since 2017. I support environmental and animal welfare causes, as well as EA capacity building (through my coaching) and global mental health. I am a member of the International Coaching Foundation (ICF).

How others can help me

I'm looking for partners to work on a peer support group (PSG) program that will help alleviate the global mental health crisis. I'm especially interested in working with students at colleges and universities.

How I can help others

Figuring out what to do next in your life for maximal impact. 

Don’t ask what the world needs, but ask what makes you come alive, because that is what the world needs: people who have come alive.

—Howard Thurman


Topic Contributions

We started a #role-coaches-and-therapists channel in the EA Everywhere Slack.

There will also be a meeting for coaches and therapists to talk about organizing and coordinating at the EASE monthly meeting on January 24, 2024. More details in the Slack.

This is mere speculation, but another group I'm on posited this might be part of it:
Sam Altman's sister, Annie Altman, claims Sam has severely abused her

There will be an EAG Coaching meetup during EAGxVirtual.
Feel free to join if you are a coach, therapist, or anyone in a related personal development field!

Saturday, November 18
8 PM UTC / 3 PM Eastern / 12 PM Pacific / 7 AM Sydney


Or dial: ‪(US) +1 405-356-8141‬ PIN: ‪225 495 585‬#
More phone numbers: 

Thanks for putting this together @SebastianSchmidt and @Amine. I appreciate you being conservative with your conclusions. However, my takeaway is that—even at their lowest ROI, it is still worthwhile for orgs to invest in the mental health and productivity of their staff, at least on a trial basis so they can determine through their own research how impactful the program is.

A couple of more considerations:

  1. It may be more worthwhile for investment from EA umbrella funders that don't care if the person moves to a different org but stays within EA.
  2. I personally believe that these sorts of investments early in someone's career (the first 5–10 years) have compounding returns as that person grows their scope and impact.

Certainly, there’s much worth additional follow-up, but overall this is a great result that will hopefully encourage HR and managers to feel more comfortable making investments here. If anyone wants to have a conversation around what that might look like, please do reach out to @SebastianSchmidt, @Inga, or myself (@Dave Cortright) who are passionate about making this happen. 

I’m not affiliated with this, but I suspect it might be of interest to other folks 

Comedian Gary Gulman recommends GiveWell on Mike Birbiglia’s “Working It Out” podcast

That’s true but in my experience the two are related. Things you care about you’ll be better at and vice versa. The protagonist from Good Will Hunting is the exception, not the rule

Sure, I'm all for trial and error. But the key is to "fail fast." If you're white-knuckling it—or even just drifting along not really engaged—for months on end, it's time to make a change.

I see elements of a common story in EA: I'm ok at X and EA needs more X, so that's what I'll do, even thought I'm not super passionate about it. The value to the world will make up for my lack of enthusiasm. I will make a sacrifice for the greater good.

This is a noble ideal, but in practice, I've never seen it sustained over the long term. There are a lot of ways to contribute to EA, and while some on paper might look more effective than others, intrinsic motivation dwarfs any of those differences. As long as you are choosing from the options within EA (or whatever you feel is effective), finalizing based on your internal compass is the way to go.

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm confident it will help others "fail faster" and avoid spending too long on a path that doesn't work for them.

Big Think just posted a video about improving leader selection by screening for psychopathy including narcissism… 

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