Meet the Mentors: Steve Hess

Steven Hess founding partner of WhiteCap, is an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme mentor who brings experience as an entrepreneur, educator, award winning strategist, creative thinker, corporate and start-up leader. 

Name: Steven Hess

Occupation: Partner WhiteCap

Steven Hess portrait

His private coaching and advisory practice, WhiteCap, aims to help businesses and individuals reach their professional peak through a proven system of goal orientated coaching and support.  

Tell us a bit about yourself 

‘’I’m a mix of exited entrepreneur, investor, advisor and trained yoga teacher.’’ 

Why did you choose to become a mentor on the NHS CEP, are you enjoying the experience and how have you supported your mentee/s so far? 

‘’I was enthusiastically encouraged by Professor Tony Young and I believe helping to evolve an institution like the NHS is an important contribution to make. As you get older the tendency is for your body and mind to become more rigid, less flexible, less open. The flip side of this is experience and perspective but working with new mentees, their start-ups, hopes and dreams encourages an open mind and adaptability. 

When working with a mentee, the key is to work out the foundations – why a mentee has set out on this path. What is the motivation and ambition?  Once we’ve got that, we can then be held accountable to make progress on that path.  That ambition can help reminded us of what’s important when things get tough and to support decision making when moving quickly. 

Mentoring enables you to share some of what you’ve learned and to learn too. That reciprocity is fundamental to a successful mentor – mentee relationship.  Often people think it flows one way but that is just not true, both of us must grow and learn.’’ 

What do you think makes a good mentor and can you see the impact that mentoring is having on your mentee?   

‘’A good mentor is someone who can listen, leave the ego behind, help keep everyone focused on what’s important and take responsibility for sharing the appropriate experience.’’ 

I hope I am making an impact, the feedback, which you should both regularly seek, is good.  Sometimes you’re helping a mentee to find focus, to determine what’s important or to consider change, sometimes its more personally focused – how to overcome the valley of doubt (is this worth it?)’’ 

What is the best piece of advice you have been given in your professional career? 

‘’Luck is what happens when you don’t give up’’ 

What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a mentor with the NHS CEP? 

‘’It will make a difference.’’ 

Steven Hess is one of over 300 professionals that volunteer there support to the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme and support our next generation of innovators. If you are interested in supporting the programme visit our mentor pages


Published by Lucy Dentice

Deputy Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.