Thinkblot Behavioral Sciences
Thinkblot Behavioral Sciences CEO and Founder Serena Castelda left the teaching profession for a career aimed at addressing the concerns of an anxious world. A key component of that work is screening, assessing and selecting employees in high-trust positions, including public safety and government agencies.
“What we do is important work,” Serena says. “We do a lot of law enforcement, EMT and firefighter screenings. In today’s climate, we need to know that people protecting us are psychologically sound.”
Thinkblot currently provides screening for the City of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Prince William counties, and the smaller towns of Herndon and Vienna. They also serve private security firms in addition to the county and local contracts. The company offers behavioral science research, workforce resilience, leadership development and coaching, mental health counseling, insider threat mitigation, and survey design.
Serena’s husband, Bryan, serves as operations manager and senior psychologist, while Serena manages the business. She does that with the SBDC at her side, leaning on Mason SBDC Director Timm Johnson throughout her entrepreneurial journey.
“When you leave one career for another, you don’t always know which end is up,” she says. “Timm always pointed me up.”
Early on, Timm assisted Thinkblot with an acquisition of another practice in the same industry, advising on the structure and negotiation of the deal, financing and steps for post-integration. He also assisted Thinkblot on soliciting bids through county requests for proposals (RFPs), provided periodic reviews of the company’s accounting, and offered next steps for promising contracts.
“It’s like having a business advisor invested in your success,” Serena says.
However, Timm and the SBDC’s contributions to Thinkblot’s success have gone well beyond that acquisition. Since partnering with the SBDC, Serena has expanded Thinkblot’s mission substantially through capital investments nearing $200,000, the creation of four new jobs, and $165,000 in sales growth.
“The SBDC is one of the reasons we’re here today,” Serena concludes. “At the SBDC you’ll learn things you need to know from someone who has the experience to help your business grow.”