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Public Health and Wellness in the Digital Age

Summary Keywords

becca, call, community, exercise, eyes, focus, health, healthy, impact, important, influencing, kids, leaders, learning, live, love, people, public health, society, stress

Speakers

Becca Yanniello, Narrator, Melissa Aarskaug

Show Notes

In this engaging episode of the Executive Connect Podcast, I welcomed Becca Yanniello, a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in public health and a strong commitment to population health management.

Topics included:

  • What is the fundamental difference between public health and traditional healthcare, and why is understanding this difference crucial in today’s world?
  • What areas fall under the wide-ranging umbrella of public health, and how do they collectively contribute to the well-being of communities and populations?
  • Why is public health important in the modern world, and how has the COVID-19 pandemic brought its significance to the forefront of public awareness?
  • What actions can individuals and communities take to promote public health, and what are some key life hacks that can help improve overall well-being?
  • How can children and young people be educated about public health concepts, and what is the significance of fostering an early understanding of these principles in youth?

Additionally, Becca introduced her book, “A Kid’s Book About Public Health,” which serves as a valuable resource for educating children on the vital concepts of public health.

If you have any questions about today’s show or have a topic you’d like us to cover, reach out to me at executiveconnectpodcast@gmail.com.

Please subscribe so you can catch all our future episodes.

About today’s guest:

Becca Yanniello is a passionate and skilled leader in population health management. She holds a Master’s of Public Health degree and a certificate in population and reproductive health from UCLA Field School of Public Health and a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology and Italian from the University of Southern California. She is currently the vice president of population health at Regional Medical Group and leading managed care organization in Southern California. Prior to that, she worked in the government and nonprofit sectors developing, implementing, and overseeing health programs and services for vulnerable population. Becca continues to mentor undergraduate and graduate-level students interested in pursuing careers in public health and health care. She has two young children and lives in Los Angeles, California.

www.linkedin.com/in/becca-yanniello-4627925

About me:

I’m an energetic executive with 15+ years of experience steering companies to new heights of growth and scale. An engineer at heart (I started my career as an engineering manager on one of the world’s largest concrete bridges), I’ve become a trusted leader and business builder in the technology and cybersecurity space.

www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-aarskaug

Transcript

Narrator 00:08
Welcome to the Executive Connect Podcast, a show for the new generation of leaders. Join Melissa Aarskaug as she speaks to a wide variety of guests that bring new insights into leadership, prosperity, and personal growth. While no one has all the answers by building a community of open minded and engaged leaders, we hope to give you the tools you need to help you find your own path to success.

Melissa Aarskaug 00:38
Hello, and welcome today to Executive Connect Podcast. I’m excited to have my friend Becca Yanniello here with me today. She has over 15 years experience in public health. Becca Yanniello is a passionate and skilled leader in population health management. She holds a Master’s of Public Health degree and a Certificate in Population and Reproductive Health from UCLA Field School of Public Health and a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Italian from the University of Southern California. She is currently the Vice President of Population Health at Regional Medical Group and Leading Managed Care Organization in Southern California. Prior to that, she worked in the government and nonprofit sectors developing, implementing, and overseeing health programs and services for vulnerable populations. Becca continues to mentor undergraduate and graduate level students interested in pursuing careers in public health and health care. She has two young children and lives in Los Angeles, California. Thank you so much for being here today. Becca, I’m so excited to have you with me today. And I love talking about health and what we can do to better our children and other leaders in our organizations. So just kicking it off with our with the first question I’m curious about your perspective on is can you explain the difference between public health and traditional health care today?

Becca Yanniello 02:16
Yeah, so this is a really great question. I think a lot of folks out there have heard the term public health. And they’re very familiar with health care, and you know, how it’s delivered in the United States. But the difference between public health and health care can sometimes, sometimes get lost. So public health is a field of Science that essentially looks at what makes people healthy, and what makes people sick, what keeps people healthy, what and, and uses that information, to guide policies, and laws and services to support the health of populations and groups of people. So traditional health care, particularly in the United States, really focuses on responsive medical care. And, you know, what doctors and nurses and hospitals do in treating people once they get sick. Now, there is a component of Preventive Medicine, which, you know, is like preventing, you know, long term chronic conditions and things like that, but public health looks at not just how do we prevent disease and health issues and injuries, but also what keeps people healthy, and, you know, really trying to do more of that removing the risks to our health, like a community level, at a policy level, at a national level. So, you know, while doctors and nurses treat one patient at a time, public health looks at groups of people, looks at, you know, everything from communities, to cities, to states, to you know, the entire nation, and how do we do our best to give everyone the chance to be healthy and give everyone what they need to be their healthiest?

Melissa Aarskaug 04:03
That’s fantastic. What are included? I’m curious, what are included under the umbrella of public health?

Becca Yanniello 04:12
So public health is a really big umbrella. And it covers everything from policies, regulations, and laws, to health, education, science, communication, services and programs. So it’s a really, and research as well. So it’s a really, really broad field. And what I love about public health is it really looks at the context for what we typically think of as our health. So it can include everything from our social relationships, to what’s in our environment, how we relate to each other, the information that we have and how we make our choices. And also, you know what we know about the field of Medicine and what we know about what is going to keep people healthy and trying to make that accessible to everyone. So while we know, for example, that going to your doctor is important, and doctors need to, you know, need to be able to provide that medical care that they do public health looks at, how do we make sure that everyone has access to those doctors, and access to the hospitals, access to emergency care? So you know, it’s kind of taking medicine and trying to like contextualize it at a broad level.

Melissa Aarskaug 05:35
Yeah, I am, I didn’t really pay too much attention or realize the difference personally. I just grew up focusing on my health and what I could do to be healthier, and eat my vegetables, as my parents used to say, and then I got older and realized that most people that wasn’t it’s not common to focus on eating well, and, you know, taking care of yourself, it’s a learned skill. And I feel like it’s also a taught skill. And most times, people don’t realize the need to take care of themselves until I go to the doctor and realize something’ s really wrong. So I love you know, and I know, you wrote a book about this, but as it pertains to public health, like, why is it so important to the world today?

Becca Yanniello 06:21
You know, I think the pandemic really brought public health to the public eye, because a lot of public health work goes on in the shadows, essentially. And, you know, so I think that we all realized the importance of taking care of, like everybody, and everybody doing their part to try to promote health. I think that, you know, right now, the there are so many things in our society, that contribute to whether or not we’re healthy, or whether people are healthy, you know, and, and, and also, you know, there’s there are disparities in health as well. So, we know that, you know, poor areas have worse health outcomes than more affluent areas, you know, they even say it, which is, there’s a lot of research on this, that your zip code is actually more influential than your genetic code in your life expectancy and your health outcomes. And so I think it really is important for us all to be educated about what it is that that keeps us healthy, and you know, all of the things that go into public health, and public health doesn’t only focus on, you know, viruses and bacteria, and you know, diseases, but public health also looks at social influences, and environmental influences, and how those things also shape our health and well being, and thinking about health in as more than just, you know, your blood pressure. But thinking about it as your overall state of well being like how you feel mentally, how you feel physically, are you thriving, are you under a lot of stress, and what that does to your health, and how it all plays together. So I think it’s important for everyone to kind of understand these influences, and then be able to make more informed decisions about how to promote their own health and how to support other people in being healthy, too. You know, I wrote a book, a kid’s book about public health, to also kind of bring awareness to the fact that this affects people across their lifespan, you know, for children, babies, you know, pregnant women, all the way through end of life, you know, there are so many things that impact our health, and things that we don’t necessarily think about, right. So being able to have clean air. There’s a recent study that came out of the University of Chicago, indicating that air quality is actually one of the biggest public health issues in our generation, because of, you know, air pollution, because of wildfires, because of lots of different things that are impacting air quality. And they’re really finding out that air quality has a significant impact on our health and on disease processes, on, you know, different disease states, not just asthma, for example, but also like more other chronic conditions as well that go into adulthood. So there are lots of things that we can open our eyes to, you know, in general, and, and learn about, and I think that that can also really influence how we live our lives and how we, how we look at health and how we keep ourselves healthy. So there’s, there’s a lot of substance there, right? I mean, and also the world is changing, as we know, I mean, even if you think about everything from the, you know, like homelessness or technology and using our cell phones so much and you know what that’s doing to us. I mean, there’s literally there’s so many different things going on in society that are constantly changing and evolving and, you know, public health looks at how all of those things are influenced. And all those things are influencing our health. So it’s a constantly changing field.

Melissa Aarskaug 10:12
Yeah, I was just thinking about myself personally, at you know, in Texas, it’s like 106 degrees and is heavily influencing my health. And, you know, my energy levels. And I know here in Texas, we’ve had a ton of people that have never had allergies, that now all of a sudden have allergies, myself included. I’ve never had a day of allergies. And now I’m like, am I getting sick? And it’s not that I’m getting sick, it’s just allergies, because it’s like you mentioned, the air quality here is changed the, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of changes from just the weather alone, that’s affecting people’s energy levels. You know, what can I do? Or what can we do as a community to support public health?

Becca Yanniello 11:01
I think it starts with, with learning about, about public health, and I mean, not not necessarily becoming an expert, right? But just kind of broadening our perspective about what health means, right. I mean, like you said, it could be everything from how your environment impacts your ability to exercise, or, you know, go outside and or, you know, relieve your stress through your normal, like, going for a walk or, you know, going for a hike or whatever that may look like, just really starting to kind of open our eyes to all of the different things that impact impact our health. I think that’s that’s a starting place. And then also, you know, I think that public health is really, in some ways, it’s like, like this grassroots like slash social justice slash, you know, like, just context for life, right? I mean, thinking about what could be better? What is what is going on in our environment? What is going on in our lives, what is going on in our communities, in our offices, in our, you know, professional lives? How are all of these things impacting people? And what could be better? I mean, I think that that’s, that’s the challenge of public health, right? I mean, there’s, they’re just like in medicine that are constantly evolving. You know, diseases like COVID, for example, came out of nowhere. And, you know, with the research, there’s always more research coming out, that’s helping us learn about how what we can do to prevent disease, or what we can do to help impact influence that or medicines that come out. And in public health, it’s kind of, you know, it’s similar, right, it’s like always understanding what’s going on around us and how that’s influencing us. You know, even things like I was having a conversation the other day with with a woman who’s an ophthalmologist, and she was telling me that children now are having more myopia, because they’re looking at screens so much, and that the like, the, the remedy for it is being outside because when you’re outside, your vision has to change between looking in the distance and looking up closed, and your eyes are constantly and your brain is constantly you know, like, accounting for that and, and it’s challenging your eyes a little bit. But when you don’t have a lot of that, and you’re only looking at two dimensional screens for like the majority of the time, it can actually influence the way your eyes develop as a child. I mean, these are things that like who would have thought, but this is another technology is influencing us.

Melissa Aarskaug 13:44
So true, I’m so glad you said that, because you know, personally, you know, I go from call to call called call everyday like so many people that work you know, from their home these days, or even in an office role on Zoom calls and teams calls and I have to remind myself to look my eyes to look away from my computer because, you know, I’m not sure I believed in the Zoom fatigue, but I will tell you now, I definitely believe in the Zoom fatigue for my eyes and my body and the way I sit and so it is it’s so true. But I always tell my kids at the end of the night I’m like, give me your phone or your iPad, I’m going to take it away so your eyes can readjust before you go to bed and it’s I think it’s something you’re right we’re not we don’t even think about it’s just you know, our kids today are I know my kids have laptops that they get they do their homework on and they are in on screens all day at school and so I love that you said to go outside because, it makes me feel like I’m you know doing the right thing. I’m like go outside, talk to somebody you talk to somebody else, but the computer because it’s true. We don’t think of those things. We think we’re doing the right thing and so it’s I think it’s it’s being mindful too right, and, and reading some of these things I know every year I set my goals at the end of the year and one of those always every year is health, like, what can I be doing better for my health or, and one of the things that you mentioned, cell phones, like I’m around multiple computers a day, I’ve, you know, a personal phone and a work phone and putting my electronic device and the TV and all the things down and walking away from it and stepping outside. So that is a huge win. I’ve noticed just for my own mental health and well being that I’ve had to force in my life. And so just with that, you know, with that, like what can we do, you know, adults, kids, people in other countries, everybody, what can we do? And where can we go from here from your perspective?

Becca Yanniello 15:53
Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I think there’s, there’s so much work to do. Again, I think it starts with learning and just being mindful and aware, like you said, and kind of shape shifting how we think about health and our mental health, and, you know, how all of these things play together? And then, you know, I think, from, from my personal perspective, and my my focus in public health, and population health, I, you know, my biases, I think, like understanding the disparities, understanding why some people have more health issues than others, and what’s behind that, and how can we help mitigate that? How can we, you know, reduce those risks? You know, I think so there’s, there’s a parable that’s like, really commonly told in public health. That’s, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard it, it’s like called the, like this, like this river story. Where there are these two, they’re these two people who are, you know, walking along a river that’s like a rushing river. And they noticed that somebody is in the is in the water, and they’re crying for help. And so one of the people like, jumps in the water swims over to them, and, you know, gets them and saves them brings them back to shore. And then they hear another cry, and the person, you know, runs, jumps back in the water, swims back out to them, grabs them, brings them to shore and saves them and they hear another cry, and another and another and he keeps running, you know, going back in the water and swimming and saving these people. And he finally turns to his friend and says, Why aren’t you helping? Aren’t you going to come help, like, come swim out and helped me save these people? And he says, I’m gonna go upstream and figuring figure out why all these people are falling into the water. And that’s what public health is, right? So it’s like thinking about things differently, not just how do we? How do we remedy like sickness, but like, how do we just live our lives in a way that prevents it to begin with? Right? Like, what can we do to give everybody the chance to be healthy and be their healthiest? And I think part of that is opening our eyes. And part of it is understanding the disparities, like why you know, women have certain health outcomes that men don’t, and why are some groups of people like some, you know, some women have worse, like pregnancy and birth outcomes than others? What’s behind that? Why is that? Like, that’s clearly not fair. What can we do as a society to support that and make the playing fields a little bit more level? So you know, I think there’s, there are so many different things we can do. Right? But it’s just I think, generally, it’s just about kind of opening our eyes and learning about that. You know, and I think that there is a push right now, particularly for adults, like in the workplace, thinking about work, wellness, and about people’s mental health at work. And, you know, how can we be mindful of that work life balance and understanding that, you know, the way that we’re balancing our lives will impact our health or even just like, like you said, even ergonomically, like, how are you’re sitting at your desk, or how your teams are feeling, you know, or, you know, what you’re like, whether or not you’re, whether you’re inside all day, every day, and you know, all of those things, too. So there’s so many different places to go. And for kids, I would say, just learning, you know, there’s, I think kids are so they’re so smart. You know, they’re so creative and so smart, and they pay attention and they notice things. You know, my kids are almost two and three and a half and I’m always shocked at what they notice and what they see and what they remember. You know, and I think kids can can connect dots that we as adults can’t, because we’ve always lived, you know, we’ve grown up to think a certain way about problems about what we see in our environment, about, you know, how people react and relate to each other. And I think kids bring such a fresh perspective. And I think even just giving them information, and talking about things can really help kids, you know, become really, you know, astute observers about what’s going on around them and also kind of come up with creative solutions.

Melissa Aarskaug 20:28
Yeah, I love that. I know, I have, like, five health buckets that I focus on, it’s, you know, what am I what am I putting in my body? You know, my exercise, you know, expending you know, my any kind of activity. So I do different, you know, yoga, and I do hit workouts and walking and all those things. But then, you know, the third part that I pay attention to you nailed it is like, I always say, is there such thing as balance and, you know, I always shoot for a balanced meal and a balanced life, and everything’s got to be in balance, but mindfulness on your emotional health, you know, a lot of times people say, are you okay? And I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m okay. I’m great. Everything’s great. And I’m saying that, but I’m not looking like, you know, I forget who it was. Maybe my husband said this to me. He should tell your face to your okay. Okay, face, we’re okay. Right. So I think, you know, the emotional the emotional side, like we talked a little bit about and, and then just, you know, I always say like, one of my favorite saying is Carpe Diem, and seize the day, and really, you know, enjoy life, having that, you know, don’t live to work, work to live, and that kind of those two approaches to life and getting out enjoying your hobbies, and your family and your friends. And so that side of it, and so there’s kind of different buckets, I self assess, and make sure I’m doing the right thing. Any like top five things, or maybe, let’s call them life hacks that people can do to, you know, that maybe weren’t raised with a mom that told them to eat their vegetables, any like, areas that you can suggest to people like quick and easy ways that they can gain some personal wins?

Becca Yanniello 22:18
Gosh, that’s a tough one. You know, it’s like everybody’s in such a different place. But I do think I mean, you clearly are on to something, I think the things that come to mind are, you know, when you think about, like, they have these, this new Netflix show about Blue Zones, right? There are these, like, there are these places in the world where people live, to be over 100 more than like the rest of the world. And like thinking about what it is that they have in common, I think can teach us a lot. Right? So your question. So part of it is social connections, like you were saying, just really also focusing not just on our work, but also on our families, on our friends, and friendships and, or just, you know, practicing gratitude or just, you know, like having some kind of social connection can actually take a lot of stress away from people’s lives, and can really enrich people’s lives more than, you know, specific accomplishments. And I think that one of the things that they say is like, common in these communities, where people like are really healthier and live a long time is their social connection. Also, obviously, like eating well, and exercising. I mean, I think exercise is so important for so many different reasons. I mean, you know, we live in a society that’s like, very vain, right? So like, there’s, there’s the exercise, you know, there’s this, like, association with exercise and like the way that we look, but it’s also very functional, right, to be able to grow older and be able to be independent, and do things independently and like lift objects and like reach for things and, you know, not fall easily. I mean, there’s so many things that exercise does for us in our longevity, obviously, you know, trying to eat eat well, I mean, I think that not stressing too much, but you know, like trying to be healthy in those ways. And I think honestly, spending time outside. And that kind of ties into managing stress. I think managing stress is such a it’s so hard for so many of us, particularly, you know professionals and professionals with families. It’s very hard to balance it all people with demanding jobs. But I think that managing stress is is critical. I mean, stress is so toxic. For us as human beings, like stress is associated with all kinds of bad things that can happen to our health raises our blood pressure. It can you know increase our risk for heart disease. It can lead to you know, weight gain, which has its own issues associated with obesity. So I mean, there are just so many things that stressed as it also ages us faster, like on a genetic level. So, not to stress out about it, but like reducing our stress is, is, I think a huge one. So, and it looks different for everyone, right? I mean, everybody has different outlets.

Melissa Aarskaug 25:25
Yep. So true. So that I’ll be adding that to my list. Now back here reduce stress live longer. Because you know, we don’t even realize it sometimes, like the stress is one you mentioned earlier with the weather, the seasons, how that impacts our body or not sleeping and all that all of its tied together. Yeah, it’s makes me think I need to add stress in that, that, what’s my scale from one to 10? And so, I love it. Um, do you want to do a quick plug for your book and tell our listeners a little bit about your book? And how we can find it? And the name of it?

Becca Yanniello 26:08
Yes, definitely. So I wrote a book called A Kid’s Book About Public Health. It’s published by A Kid’s Co, which is a publishing company that publishes books for kids about a lot of different topics that adults sometimes don’t necessarily have the shared language to talk about with kids. My book is, it’s, you know, it’s short, it’s easy to read with kids and discusses for ages five and up. And it really is like an introduction to what we’ve talked about today. What is public health? Why does it matter? The fact that it’s all around us, and we don’t even realize it. And it’s available on Amazon, Target, Barnes and Noble and Walmart online, you can also find it through A  Kid’s Co. publishing website. Yeah.

Melissa Aarskaug 26:59
Thank you so much for that I you, you make me think I need to make some changes. Personally, I love that information. I’ve shared it with my kids, they love it. We’ve had really good dialogue about it. For kids is always a challenge, right? Less sugar, more moving less electronic time. So I know I am using it with my kids. It’s been very helpful. So thank you so much for reading that book. Thank you so much for being here today. I love everything about what you’re doing. I’m so excited to have you on again and buy her book, follow Becca. She’s got a world of information to take from and thank you so much for being here today on the Executive Connect Podcast. Have a great day. Thank you so much for having me.

Narrator 27:44
You’ve been listening to the Executive Connect Podcast. If you have questions or ideas on how to bring leadership to the next level, email us at executiveconnectpodcast@gmail.com And don’t forget to subscribe, so you can catch every new episode. Until next time.

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Bryan Hancock Headshot — Founder of Integrity Development

Bryan Hancock

Founder of Integrity Development

Integrity Development

Executive Biography

Bryan Hancock has been managing real estate investments—and overseeing development and construction projects—for nearly two decades. He has deep roots in Austin, Texas, and comprehensive knowledge of the opportunities and challenges in this fast-growing market.

Through his development and syndication companies, which he built from the ground up, Bryan has developed 50+ urban infill projects and managed $25M in real estate sales with approximately 35% return on investment at the project level. He also co-founded two private equity funds.

Bryan brings in-depth industry awareness, sharp business acumen, and extensive in-the-trenches experience to his work as co-founder and principal of Integrity Development. He partners with a team of professionals and industry experts (many have been involved in Austin real estate for 40+ years) to identify value-added and opportunistic investments that protect capital and reduce risk for lenders—while delivering outsized returns for investors.

Earlier, Bryan founded and directed Inner 10 Development, a residential development firm focused on Austin’s top zip codes and surrounding communities, and H2i, LLC, a real estate syndication company. He steered these organizations for 17+ years, overseeing the acquisition, buildout, and sale of single-family and multifamily properties, including a 350-unit urban infill joint-venture project.

Bryan was successful in delivering strong returns while minimizing risk for bankers and investors by taking a targeted, data-driven approach to opportunity analysis, due diligence, and strategic decision-making. He zeroed in on potential risks and developed proactive mitigation strategies to protect and grow investments.

Concurrent with his work at Inner 10 Development and H2i, Bryan established Gentry Lending Group, a private-equity debt fund. He also served on the board of Bullseye Capital Real Property Opportunity Fund. These experiences provided Bryan with a grasp of both investor and banker viewpoints, including an understanding of risk and liability on the lending side. This aspect of his background continues to shape his real estate decisions to this day.

There is another unique aspect to Bryan’s career—a corporate history that differentiates him from other investors and developers in this field. Bryan has built organizations, controlled multimillion-dollar projects, and supported billion-dollar programs for some of the world’s largest companies: Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Dell, CACI, and Charles Schwab. He managed teams and vendors in the US, China, France, and India, and often balanced up to 10 projects at a time. He was trusted with a Top Secret Security Clearance from the United States government.

A business-savvy leader and lifelong learner, Bryan holds an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bryan founded the Wealth Investment Network, co-founded RealStarter (a crowdfunding platform for real estate investors), and was a member of the Urban Land Institute and Central Texas Angel Network. He has been a guest speaker at 20+ national events, including conferences and meetups through the Information Management Network (IMN), SXSW, Rice University, Bay Area Real Estate Summit, Soho Loft Conference, Texas Entrepreneur Network, and many others.

Featured In

Melissa Aarskaug Headshot — Founder of Executive Connect

Melissa Aarskaug

Founder of Executive Connect

Senior Executive, Board Member & Advisor

Vice President of Business Development
Bulletproof, a GLI company

Executive Biography

Melissa Aarskaug is a global executive and business leader at the forefront of the technology/cybersecurity industry. She shapes strategy, leads teams, and partners with Fortune 500 companies and other enterprise clients to protect their organizations from risk and noncompliance—while improving operations and accelerating growth.

For 15+ years, Melissa has taken the reins to propel organizations to the next level of performance. By combining business acumen and revenue optimization with the sharp mind of an engineer, she uncovers and seizes opportunities for profitable growth in the US and around the world.

Melissa has established a distinguished career with Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), where she is a key member of the senior executive team. Throughout her tenure, she has assembled teams, developed new markets, and influenced P&L impact, ultimately positioning GLI as the #1 provider of testing, certification, and cybersecurity services to the global gaming and lottery space.

After achieving this feat—a big win for GLI and game-changer for clients worldwide—Melissa steered both GLI and Bulletproof (acquired by GLI in 2016) into untapped verticals: finance, government, healthcare, higher education, hospitality, and retail. An enthusiastic, knowledgeable growth driver who cultivates partnerships and rallies teams, she led GLI/Bulletproof to dominate these markets as well.

Before joining GLI, Melissa shaped and executed strategy as Vice President of Business Operations for LV Investments, where she built and optimized a portfolio of commercial and industrial properties. Earlier, in a very different role as Project Engineering Manager for Fisher Industries, she directed and mobilized a team of 550 employees and contractors to develop the world’s largest concrete bridge. Previously, she headed a major engineering project for Pacific Mechanical Corporation.

A curious, lifelong learner, Melissa holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering with minors including Business and Mathematics. She is a Karrass Master Negotiator and C4 Executive Coach who actively pursues ongoing education and inspiration as a member of Chief, Austin Technology Council, Austin Women in Technology, and Toastmasters International. In addition to her own personal and professional development, Melissa is committed to helping other people thrive both inside and outside of the workplace. She actively mentors and empowers team members at GLI/Bulletproof, and is an executive leader and coach for Global Gaming Women. She founded Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Austin and is a current or past board member of many organizations, including Emerging Leaders in Gaming, Ballet Austin, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, the Society of Women Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. She has been a Junior League volunteer in Austin, Las Vegas, and Reno for 15+ years.

Throughout her career, Melissa has inspired individuals, teams, and entire organizations to think differently about innovation, cybersecurity, leadership, and business development. She was honored as one of the “Emerging Leaders in Gaming: 40 Under 40” and she continues to share her ideas and expertise through publications, podcasts, webinars, and presentations.

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This is the Executive Connect

A show for the new generation of leaders. Join us as we discover unconventional leadership strategies not traditionally associated with executive roles. Our guests include upper-level C-Suite executives charting new ways to grow their organizations, successful entrepreneurs changing the way the world does business, and experts and thought leaders from fields outside of Corporate America that can bring new insights into leadership, prosperity, and personal growth – all while connecting on a human level. No one has all the answers – but by building a community of open-minded and engaged leaders we hope to give you the tools you need to help you find your own path to success.