Surround yourself with people who share your vision. The importance of a cohesive team that supports your mission can’t be overstated. As I expanded my team, I focused on individuals who weren’t just skilled but also passionately aligned with our mission.
In today’s competitive business landscape, the race for profits often takes center stage. However, there are some leaders who also prioritize a mission-driven purpose. They use their business to make a positive social impact and recognize that success isn’t only about making money. In this interview series, we are talking with some of these distinct leaders and I had the pleasure of interviewing Khwan Hathai.
Khwan is a trailblazing Certified Financial Planner and Certified Financial Therapist, who earned her Master of Science in Financial Planning. As she combines her qualifications and extensive professional experience in the wealth management industry in revolutionary ways, she has become renowned for her innovative approach that merges the robust methodologies of money mindset shift, behavioral financial planning, and somatic breathwork healing. As the Founder & CEO of Epiphany Financial Therapy (https://epiphanyfinancialtherapy.com), Khwan has established herself as a pioneer in the field of financial therapy. With her diverse background and global vision, Khwan provides a new and unique approach to money management that redefines financial health by integrating the wisdom of body and mind with behavioral economics — a departure from traditional financial advice.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Growing up in Thailand, the cultural landscape shaped my earliest perceptions of money in ways that would later become the backbone of my work in financial therapy. In my culture, conversations about money were often shrouded in secrecy and taboo. Money stories like “Success requires hard work,” “Rich people are born into wealth,” or “Go to a good school and land a stable job,” shaped my foundational understanding of financial prosperity. These stories became so ingrained in me that they felt like universal truths rather than cultural narratives.
What truly sparked my journey into redefining financial success was the realization that these inherent money stories were not only limiting but often misleading. I began to see that the traditional paradigms around money — like the virtue of hard work equating to success, or the moral dimensions often ascribed to wealth — were hindering many from achieving a truly holistic sense of financial well-being. This was particularly poignant for high-achieving women, who despite their accomplishments, felt trapped by these societal constructs around money and success. Unpacking these deeply-rooted narratives became my mission, and it was a catalyst for starting Epiphany Financial Therapy. I wanted to offer a more complex and humane approach to financial health, one that would consider not just the numbers but the psychological and emotional dimensions of wealth. That’s why we focus on the transformative power of shifting money mindsets, understanding behavioral financial planning, and employing deep somatic breathwork healing for our clients and audience. This multi-faceted approach doesn’t just promise financial freedom, but delivers a more profound, all-encompassing prosperity.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Certainly! Since launching Epiphany Financial Therapy, one particularly riveting journey has been the creation and refinement of our signature Trifecta Financial Therapy Framework. What started as an endeavor to empower women to shatter both internal and external glass ceilings has transformed into a collaborative venture that’s expanded my own horizons exponentially. While developing this unique approach, not only did I deepen my knowledge, but I also attracted a community of like-minded experts who contributed invaluable insights and innovations. In the midst of this creative synergy, something astonishing happened: I found myself inspired to write not just one, but three books, slated for publication in 2024. These books aim to encapsulate the essence of our framework, making it accessible to a wider audience who might not be ready or able to invest in our one-on-one signature program. The writing process itself turned into an intellectual odyssey, adding layers of depth and nuance to our established practices. The most exciting part? These upcoming publications have the potential to change the game in our industry, providing a more holistic, accessible path to financial and emotional well-being. This unforeseen accomplishment has become one of the proudest moments in my journey with Epiphany Financial Therapy, showcasing the organic, expansive nature of our work.
We often learn the most from our mistakes. Can you share one that you made that turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?
Absolutely, one significant lesson came early in my entrepreneurial journey. Initially, I was enthusiastic about the innovative framework we had at Epiphany Financial Therapy. I thought our approach could be a game-changer for every single human being. However, this broad approach led us to attract a wide spectrum of clients, many of whom weren’t fully prepared for our comprehensive methods that encompass financial planning, emotional well-being, and somatic healing. The turning point came when I recognized that this unfocused approach was not only draining our resources but also affecting the quality of service we could provide. This realization led us to sharpen our focus specifically towards high-achieving women. Despite their high-earning status and impressive job titles, many of these women were still experiencing anxiety, stress about money, and even burnout. By narrowing our client base to serve this specific demographic, we could offer a more targeted and effective service. This strategic shift had an immediate positive impact. We started attracting clients who were fully aligned with our unique value proposition and were psychologically and emotionally ready for the transformative journey we offer. Since then, client satisfaction has soared, and we’ve been better positioned to fulfill our mission of enabling both financial and emotional well-being. This experience emphasized the critical importance of understanding exactly who we can best serve for mutual benefit and long-lasting impact.
As a successful leader, it’s clear that you uphold strong core values. I’m curious what are the most important principles you firmly stand by and refuse to compromise on. Can you share a few of them and explain why they hold such significance for you in your work and life?
There are four uncompromising core values that guide me in both my personal and professional life.
First and foremost is integrity. This isn’t just about being honest; it’s about creating a congruent and ethical environment that extends from our internal team right to our client interactions. In an industry that can sometimes prioritize profits over ethics, it’s imperative to keep integrity at the forefront. It serves as the foundation of the trust we establish with our clients, especially since we operate at the intersection of financial and emotional health.
Next is a growth mindset, a principle that’s not just about tackling challenges but fostering an ethos of progress, not perfection. This mindset guides our team and clients alike, encouraging risk-taking, learning from various outcomes, and incessantly fine-tuning our signature Trifecta Financial Therapy Framework. It also speaks directly to the needs and ambitions of our high-achieving female clients, reframing their financial planning as a transformative journey rather than a static checklist.
Alongside these are innovation and empathy. Innovation urges us to defy conventional wisdom and pioneer new approaches in the financial therapy landscape. Empathy, on the other hand, enables us to connect deeply with our clients, allowing for a more holistic approach that considers emotional and psychological dimensions, not just financial numbers.
Collectively, these four values — integrity, growth mindset, innovation, and empathy — are the pillars of my leadership philosophy and the bedrock upon which Epiphany Financial Therapy stands. They’re not merely guiding lights but essential components that allow us to transcend the boundaries of traditional financial planning. Our aim is a more comprehensive, impactful approach that leads to sustainable financial and emotional well-being.
What inspired you to start a purpose-driven business rather than a traditional for-profit enterprise? Can you share a personal story or experience that led you to prioritize social impact in your business?
The catalyst for launching Epiphany Financial Therapy was deeply personal, stemming from the intersection of my own experiences and the unmet needs I observed in the world of finance. As a first-generation immigrant woman of color, I’ve navigated both systemic obstacles and cultural expectations, all while recognizing the immense emotional weight that comes with financial decision-making. This led me to ask a crucial question: Why should financial planning exist in a vacuum, isolated from the emotional and psychological realities that influence it?
I recall a pivotal moment when I sat across from a client — a high-earning, high-achieving woman who, despite her professional accolades, was grappling with financial stress and emotional burnout. Her story was far from unique; it was a narrative I had heard repeatedly, one that was conspicuously absent from traditional financial planning narratives. This was the aha moment when I realized that focusing solely on profit would be an ethical disservice. I chose to integrate financial planning, emotional intelligence, and somatic healing into a unified framework — our signature Trifecta Financial Therapy Framework. — to address the often-ignored emotional and psychological components of financial success. In doing so, we’re not just aiming for profit; we’re driving toward a larger social impact. We’re contributing to a shift in the paradigm of what financial success means, because, let’s face it, if we don’t evolve our understanding of financial health, the next generations will be at a loss.
So yes, Epiphany Financial Therapy is a purpose-driven enterprise. It’s designed to fill a void in the market, certainly, but it’s also meant to fill a void in people’s lives — a void that, until now, has been largely overlooked. We’re not just about numbers; we’re about nurturing holistic well-being, breaking down internal and external barriers, and setting the stage for generational financial health and emotional prosperity.
Can you help articulate a few of the benefits of leading a purpose-driven business rather than a standard “plain vanilla” business?
Leading a purpose-driven business like Epiphany Financial Therapy offers distinct advantages that go beyond the limitations of a traditional for-profit enterprise. One of the most significant benefits is the opportunity to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with our clients. Our mission goes beyond mere transactions; it’s about transformation. This allows us to foster a sense of trust and embark on a shared journey toward holistic financial health. Our focus on purpose also creates a work environment that’s aligned with values like integrity and growth mindset. This in turn elevates both our internal culture and the services we offer. Our team is not just motivated by financial success but is deeply engaged in the impact we make. They understand they are part of something bigger, something that can change lives, and this shared sense of mission brings about a high level of job satisfaction. Moreover, being purpose-driven propels us to be continually innovative. It pushes us to not just stay ahead of market trends but to create them. This leads to thought leadership in the field, as we are not just delivering a service but are actively contributing to a new way of thinking about finance.
Financial resilience is another aspect where our business model shines. In times of market uncertainty, clients see the value of a service that goes beyond financial advice to offer emotional and psychological well-being, making them more likely to stick with us through the ups and downs. Furthermore, the long-term impact of our purpose-driven model extends far beyond our balance sheets. What we’re doing has a ripple effect that can influence broader societal conversations around money, success, and happiness. We’re not just building a business; we’re creating a legacy of empowerment and well-being. Lastly, our business ethos attracts stakeholders who share our vision and values. This kind of alignment doesn’t just create good business relationships; it often leads to synergistic partnerships that amplify our impact. All in all, the benefits of leading a purpose-driven business enrich not just our bottom line but the essence of who we are and the change we aim to make in the world.
How has your company’s mission or purpose affected its overall success? Can you explain the methods or metrics you use to evaluate the impact of this purpose-driven strategy on your organization?
The essence of Epiphany Financial Therapy’s mission goes beyond mere revenue and profit margins. We’re not simply looking at traditional financial indicators to gauge our success. Instead, we use a multi-faceted approach that aligns closely with our overarching purpose. One vital metric for us is the holistic improvement in our clients’ lives. We look at financial literacy, emotional intelligence surrounding finances, and stress reduction, among other factors, including sleep and relation quality. Our client retention rates and increased referrals indicate that this focus on transformative growth resonates deeply.
In addition to client-centric metrics, we also focus on team engagement. Regular feedback loops and quality interaction assessments help us ensure that our team members as committed to our mission as we are. This translates directly into enhanced service quality and ultimately improves our financial outcomes. And while they may not fit neatly into a spreadsheet, the personal stories we hear from clients who’ve experienced transformative change offer perhaps the most meaningful proof of the value we provide. These qualitative narratives reinforce the importance of our work in a way that standard business metrics simply can’t.
In sum, our commitment to a purpose-driven approach enriches the business not just in financial terms, but also in terms of its broader societal impact and sustainability. We’ve successfully navigated the complexities of financial and emotional well-being, and in doing so, have carved out a unique position that sets us apart in the financial services landscape.
Can you share a pivotal moment when you realized that leading your purpose-driven company was actually making a significant impact? Can you share a specific example or story that deeply resonated with you personally?
The defining moment when I realized the depth of Epiphany Financial Therapy’s impact was during weekly one-on-one sessions with a client. She was an accomplished career woman who initially sought only financial guidance. Over time, as she became comfortable with our unique approach to financial therapy, she started to discuss the emotional stress and anxiety she had been silently carrying for years. When she said, “You’ve given me a new language to comprehend my money relationship and the tools to rewrite its narrative. Financial decisions now feel like growth opportunities,” I understood the real value of our mission. It was more than just financial planning; we were fundamentally changing people’s emotional well-being and empowering them to live more fulfilling lives. This experience reaffirmed my commitment to our purpose-driven strategy, reminding me that the work we do isn’t just good for business, but it’s also crucial for impacting lives on a deeper level.
Have you ever faced a situation where your commitment to your purpose and creating a positive social impact clashed with the profitability in your business? Have you ever been challenged by anyone on your team or have to make a tough decision that had a significant impact on finances? If so, how did you address and reconcile this conflict?
Certainly, leading a mission-oriented business like Epiphany Financial Therapy often means navigating complex decisions that balance impact and profitability. I recall a moment when we were contemplating the launch of a cost-effective financial education initiative aimed at a more diverse audience. One of my advisors felt that investing time and resources in a lower-margin offer could compromise our more lucrative services, specifically designed for high-achieving women. It was a difficult choice. We were torn between extending our beneficial impact and sticking to the higher-profit models that were already successful. After careful deliberation, I decided to proceed with the more affordable initiative, but in a reduced capacity. This decision was aligned with our fundamental mission to make comprehensive financial well-being accessible to a broader population. The financial returns were not immediate, and the upfront costs were considerable. However, this new offering led to meaningful collaborations with like-minded experts, which not only helped cover the initial expenses but also enriched our long-term revenue prospects. This episode reinforced the critical role of our core mission and demonstrated that societal impact and commercial success are not mutually exclusive; they can indeed harmonize to foster both ethical and financial growth.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs who wish to start a purpose-driven business? What are your “5 Things You Need To Know In Order To Create A Highly Successful Purpose-Driven Business.”
For entrepreneurs eager to make a positive impact while also achieving business success, here are five vital things to consider:
Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll not only build a successful business but also make a meaningful impact.
I’m interested in how you instill a strong sense of connection with your team. How do you nurture a culture where everyone feels connected to your mission? Could you share an example or story that showcases how your purpose has positively influenced or motivated people on your team to contribute?
Our commitment to a mission-driven culture is more than a mere declaration; it’s the backbone of our work-from-anywhere operations. While traditional metrics and meetings have their place, our mission resonates in every interaction and decision we make. Each virtual team assembly begins with a Mission Moment. This allows team members to share touching anecdotes or significant events that emphasize the essence of our work. Whether it’s a client’s journey to financial insight or an individual taking charge of their fiscal future, these shared stories solidify our unified aim: assisting high-achieving women in unravelling the nuances of financial health. Central to our remote team dynamics is the ethos of open communication. We believe that clear, transparent dialogue bridges gaps, fosters understanding, and nurtures a cohesive environment. In essence, our mission isn’t just spoken about; it’s actively lived and breathed. The result is a cohesive, remote team, deeply aligned with both their personal growth and the holistic success of our clients and the wider community.
Imagine we’re sitting down together two years from now, looking back at your company’s last 24 months. What specific accomplishments would have to happen for you to be happy with your progress?
Two years from now, in a hypothetical catch-up, we’d be reminiscing about a groundbreaking phase for Epiphany Financial Therapy. A paramount achievement would be the unveiling of our digital learning platforms, taking our signature Trifecta Financial Therapy Framework globally. In our mission to cater to a diverse audience, the successful publication and subsequent translation of our book series into various languages would stand out. These translated works emphasize that achieving financial and emotional well-being is a universal desire, transcending boundaries and cultures. Another feather in our cap would be the organization of financial freedom retreats in exotic, serene locales. These retreats would be designed as a haven for women to converge, celebrating and working towards their shared and individual financial goals. All these feats would transcend mere quantitative growth. They would represent a shift in the overarching narrative of financial well-being and stand testament to the gravity and resonance of our mission.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could catalyze a societal shift, it would be to encourage women to embrace their unique femininity — qualities like receptivity, softness, compassion, collaboration, flexibility, adaptability, nurturing, empathy, and intuition — in the workplace, as opposed to conforming to traditional masculine norms such as overwork, hustle, dominance, stoicism, and competitiveness. The aim would be to revolutionize how women engage in their professional lives, fundamentally changing the paradigm that often leads to burnout and emotional exhaustion. Imagine a professional landscape where women leverage their innate skills of caring and communication to bring about innovative solutions, where emotional intelligence is as valued as technical proficiency. In this new paradigm, success wouldn’t be gauged solely by long hours and cutthroat ambition, but by the quality of work, the well-being of team members, and the positive impact on the community and the world at large. This movement would alter not just the individual experience of countless women, but also the culture of workplaces everywhere. By valuing traditionally feminine qualities, we can create a more equitable, holistic, and healthy work environment for everyone, thereby contributing to the overall well-being of society.
How can our readers further follow your work or your company online?
For those who are keen to follow my work in more depth, I invite you to explore the following avenues:
This was great. Thanks for taking time for us to learn more about you and your business. We wish you continued success!