Equity Spotlight: Meet Omar Davis, Founder of CrashBell
EquityCoin’s Director of Community Engagement, Michael McConnell, had the honor of connecting with Omar Davis, owner of CrashBell to discuss how he built a successful corporate wellness company in the midst of the recent pandemic. Listen to the interview on Youtube or check out the transcribed version at TheEquityReport.com
CrashBell is a BIPOC organization founded in Brooklyn, NY with an overall goal to help individuals from all parts of life cultivate awareness, self-accountability, and mindfulness as part of their daily routine. For more information about the company, go to CrashBell.com
Q: All right. Please tell us your name and give us a little bit more information about yourself and your background.
A: My name is Omar Davis. I am originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. I lived in Brooklyn, New York, for the majority of my adult life, where I not only learned how to be my best self but I was also challenged by the streets of New York, particularly as an entrepreneur and business owner, understanding how to move forward with the pace of New York while also learning how to put myself in a position to truly succeed. Additionally, New York’s intense competitiveness taught me how to operate not only as a businessperson, but also as a community organizer. I’m a mixed-race man. My mother’s family is Native American and Jamaican. My father’s family is Mayan, Indian, Honduran, Guatemalan. And that’s about me.
Q: Let’s talk about CrashBell. It’s an aggressive name. I love the fact that it has nothing to do with sports or hunting… So, what is the CrashBell and what does it offer?
A: CrashBell is a health education company. That was how it all started. Honestly, I got this idea when I was in a medical sports rehab massage therapy practice where I learned how people’s trauma and their stress was actually lodged into their muscle fibers. As a result, I assist people in healing themselves from the inside out, from the mind and the emotions from the body and their physical tension. That’s when I realized that I needed to really start educating people and providing awareness.
So, CrashBell was created to let people realize that this is what is happening to their bodies. It started off as a concept that we shared on YouTube. Something that we really wanted was to focus on data, while also providing a practical understanding of what this means. When we’re using terminology from the field of anatomy, the language is not relatable to the everyday person. We wanted to find a way to connect medical science and anatomy to the general public so that people may learn more about their bodies.
We initially started producing curricula for schools, but eventually changed our focus to writing curricula for mental health, wellness, and stress management in organizations.
And that was one of the things we knew at the time, that it would be our new platform, that it would be our new way. We went from simply informing people to discussing it publicly and on the Internet. We began to offer these curriculums to schools, focusing on anatomy and physiology as well as emotional intelligence and stress management. We also provided the same opportunities, information, and education to corporations and the workforce because parents needed to understand this concept as well.
Q: Awesome. Then, even though your company is only a few years old just like everyone else, you must have a COVID story. So, how did COVID affect your company?
A: Oh, man. To be completely honest, COVID impacts CrashBell in a very minimal way. On the flip side, COVID had a complete impact on my medical sports rehab massage therapy business, and thankfully, I had already begun the process of building CrashBell by 2016, so we had some momentum. But, to be completely honest, COVID made it strange because we were dealing with issues of mental health and child education also when it comes to attempting to teach children online.
We didn’t necessarily lose the ability to produce, but we did lose connectivity, which had a significant impact given that many of our in-school programs were literally in school. Then we had to pivot and do a virtual setting online. And for the first week and a half, everything went well. However, as time went on, we noticed a decline in student participation, as well as the fact that circumstances in the students’ homes were increasingly contributing to the issue. For example, the lifestyle and the reality of the child’s life at home were not as pleasant nor comfortable or as secure as we would like to see.
So, it really affected the kids because there were times where their parents would do something or come in or just be completely inappropriate on camera. And it would not only make the kid feel embarrassed, but it also takes away their desire to be a part of something. We also realized that the kids were exhausted from spending their entire day staring at the screen and trying to interact with people while also going through an emotional transition in which they don’t know what’s going on.
They were scared, they couldn’t see their friends, and they couldn’t interact with others. The depression will eventually start to set in and so it had an impact on us in the end. But even in corporate settings, we were able to pivot in such a way that we gained more corporate clients because everyone really needed to understand how to manage their mental health, how to manage their stress, and how to integrate this new world where work-life balance isn’t a thing. It seemed as if your life and your work were integrated and people started to develop really bad habits during that time. So, for us to be there for them at that time was truly amazing. However, the impact on relationships and connectivity with our clients and students was incredibly awesome.
Q: Thank you so much for your insight. You mentioned briefly about corporate – we’ve all witnessed corporate firms experiencing what is known as the great resignation and losing personnel. The next question is, given your background in corporate wellness, what are some strategies that employers can use to keep employees during this period?
A: Well, that’s a really challenging question for a lot of reasons. But I would say that the one thing that employers and corporations really need to do is to switch their mindset from controlling fear mongering and shaming people to get them to do work or making them feel as if they’re not a part of a team through microaggressions, the corporate culture. And, we’re all aware of this. The corporate culture was never really a healthy place. It was a place where people actually acquired the majority of their stress. They really have to start switching their perspectives toward empathy and understanding, especially since the employee is younger than the CEO. They also don’t have the same mindset. Employees today are looking for ways to have more balance and healthier lifestyle. They keep searching for ways to be more effective whenever they’re working, but they are also very aware that this is impossible whenever they feel tension, stress or maybe even a little bit of resentment towards a boss who didn’t speak to them like they mattered.
Employers must convince their clients that their employees are important. They need to put them first and realize that without a healthy mind and healthy emotional team, then anything can happen within their brain. People may experience rage, resentment, bitterness or simply a loss of self-worth as a result of someone speaking to them in a way that didn’t make them feel validated.
And so right now, it’s very important that employers make a shift and pivot in that direction, so that they can understand how to see their employee as a whole person rather than just a number who gets the job done.
Q At EquityCoin, we often discuss generational wealth. And I would like to know, how does all this play into generational wealth?
A Oh, it goes hand in hand! Generational wealth is more than just about acquiring a lot of money. It’s also how you are affecting your community. Let’s say, you are mentally and emotionally ill, you will not be able to positively affect your communities. You won’t be able to do anything because you’re coming from a place of scarcity. You’re coming from a place of uncertainty about who we are.
In order to actually have generational wealth, it must not only affect your life but your community as well.
Q: What are some programs that you offer through CrashBell?
A: We have a couple of different programs. For our schools, we work with these programs called The Empowered Seeds and the Empowered Youth. They are geared towards different grade levels, but each program is based on teaching children about anatomy.
Also, teaching them about how to actually look for cues whenever they’re starting to move into the arena of anxiety or depression. Because your body will tell you. It will give you cues before you get to that point where you’re either anxious or depressed.
And with that, we also provide courses that focus on social and emotional learning. And that is not only for the students, but also for the teachers, who must be aware of both the students’ emotions as well as the possibility that they may lack the vocabulary, resources or even the instruments necessary to express themselves in a healthy way. As a result, it’s usually a reaction or a blow up. Now, let’s talk about corporations. We apply the same principles, but we just do it in a different way.
Now, we teach people how to recognize their feelings, thoughts, biases, and judgements while communicating with others, as well as to apply empathy to all situations because everyone is going through something. These courses are called compassionate communication and are taught in corporations. It allows you to not only reflect, but also communicate in an optimal and effective way
From there, as a massage therapist and as someone who worked with medical conditions like cancer, lupus, and hypertension – I designed a specialized program for corporations. I mean, you name it, I’ve seen it. The program is called Etsy Project. A program that not only teaches people to become more conscious of their bodies but also gives people an understanding to see how they sit. What exactly do you do at work? How are you sitting? Are you sitting in a position that actually reflects someone who may have been depressed? Or do you sit in a position where you’re reflecting someone who has confidence? Then we show people how that interacts with neurology and chemical processes of the brain. And when it comes down to it, we want to show people that whatever they are thinking or what is going on in the back of their mind will play a really big part of their day to day process, as well as give them the tools on how to remove themselves from that.
Giving them tools and techniques for motivating themselves, soothing themselves, coping and removing themselves from a specific space incorporates the part of accountability and self-inquiry. And we’re trying to get people to realize that their self-inquiry and their accountability to themselves is the first step toward mental and emotional health. And because it’s a corporate environment, we teach them in that specific program how they can then apply the same principles to their team, and how to motivate their colleagues to also be in a place of mental and emotional freedom.
Q: Lastly, how can we support CrashBell and how can we find you guys?
A: You can reach us at CrashBell.com anytime. We are currently forming a nonprofit organization in order to begin raising funds and remove some of the stipulations that we run into when it comes to schools and gaining access to those necessary resources. A lot of times because mental health is not actually a priority, they give a really small budget for said programs. So, we decided to skip that and start the nonprofit, get funding, and get this going so that we can support a container, hire all our own practitioners, staff, and move into the schools and companies that would not hurt the company’s overhead in that budget. And with that said, if you do want to support us by bringing some of our curriculum into your school and for corporations, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.