Psychologists Buford and Schaefer join from OppFi, Twitter to shape mentally healthy People strategy 

Spring Health, the most comprehensive global mental health solution for employers and health plans, announced today it has hired Karishma Patel Buford as its new Chief People Officer and Candice Schaefer as its Head of Employee Health & Performance. Buford is based in Chicago, IL reporting to CEO and co-founder, April Koh. Schaefer is based in Seattle and will report to Buford.

“We want Spring Health to lead the way in being the mentally healthiest and highest performing company in the world, and Karishma and Candice will be my partners in making sure we deliver on that,” says CEO April Koh. “As psychologists by training, they bring a wealth of experience in building out People teams while also bringing out the best in employees.”

Buford will join the executive team and lead the strategy for Spring Health’s People & Talent functions, building and expanding employee onboarding, training and development, compensation analysis, benefits, organizational planning, organizational engagement, DE&I efforts, talent/recruiting and culture.

“When you are at your mentally healthiest, you do your best work,” says Buford. “We want to build a culture where our employees’ positive mental health fuels their high performance, rather than managing mental health after the fact as a consequence of performance exhaustion.” 

Schaefer will drive the strategy for the firm’s new People framework—which considers employee mental health and high performance as combined strategic priorities—to evaluate all People benefits, policies, and practices. To support this strategy, she will lead a multi-disciplinary team encompassing data science, operations, and psychology to form a center of excellence and innovation within the company.

Buford joins from OppFi where she led various teams including People, Communications, and Customer Success. Her team drove key business transformation initiatives including building the organization’s HR infrastructure and transitioning its succession and total rewards practices to those of a public company. Prior to OppFi she was at Groupon, where her global team, across 15 countries, owned talent development, DE&I, employer brand, and recruiting. Previously, she worked at BAE Systems where she built globally consistent and locally customized talent management initiatives.

Schaefer joins from Twitter where she served as the Director of Global Wellness focusing on increasing employee resilience and decreasing occupational burnout. Prior to that she was a consulting psychologist at Facebook where she created and delivered resiliency programming for employees working with graphic and sensitive content. Before pivoting to the tech space, Schaefer spent 10 years as a practicing clinician in medical settings and private practice.

Buford earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D) from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology.  Schaefer is a board-certified licensed clinical psychologist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.

About Spring Health

At Spring Health, we are making mental health fundamental by eliminating every barrier to care. Our comprehensive digital platform provides employers and health plans with diverse, inclusive care for individuals and families. 

Using clinically-proven machine learning models, we accurately assess an individual’s needs and then our experienced care navigators guide the individual to the right care, whether it’s coaching, meditation, therapy, medication or more. 

Today, Spring Health serves over 150 companies, from start-ups to multinational Fortune 500 corporations, and is a preferred mental health provider to companies like General Mills, Bain, DocuSign, and Instacart.

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Spring Health

April 19, 2022


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