Missy Young is the CIO of Switch, and someone who has proven herself as a leader both in business and in the community.  We discuss the challenges of diversity and inclusion in STEAM, mentoring within the community and at work, and explore how we can all do something for ourselves and others in small ways every day.  Missy truly lives a life to bring good to her community and her team through strong leadership and giving back.  

This is an inspirational discussion and really opens up your eyes as to how great organizations like Opportunity Village and FIRST Robotics are creating opportunities and what we can do to amplify the good they are doing.

Opportunity Village:  https://www.opportunityvillage.org 

FIRST Robotics:  https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc 

Photo by NEXT Academy on Unsplash


So the what I love about what we’ve talked about before, you and I, missy. And what we as an industry are starting to tackle is the

The real neat opportunity where we can we’ve gotten ourselves to a point where we can do stuff that’s more than just getting through our own day

And you’ve been a really, really strong part of the community, both directly and just like it community and really opening people’s eyes to what you and the team are doing

But so much more than that is to really like bring people forward into our industry and even just into anything I found you’ve just got such a beautiful sense of

Opening doors and opening up opportunities in such a good way for people, but I’ll let let’s do you can just do your full sort of intro on on who you are, how you got here and

Talk about, first of all, being the leader, you know, a CIO, a well earned opportunity and what it feels like.

You know, I’m not gonna say you’re, you’re a female, you’re not a woman who became a CIO, or a CEO, because you’re a woman that’s such a that’s part of the problem I think right there. Just the fact that I never know what the right statement is you are an amazing person and amazing CIO

You happen to also be an amazing woman, a mother, all of these things right. How do you approach, just that thing like just being you. How would you describe you

Uh, well, I guess I would describe myself as it’s an interesting thing I was challenged at a workshop one time to describe myself about using my title or my job in any way. And I discovered how much of our identity is usually wrapped up in what do we do for a living. Right.

Yeah, so I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a sister and I am also a CIO of a tech company called switch that I have been with for

About 15 years and I was one of the original employee number nine. So I’ve been with the company for quite some time, through its most of its history.

And it’s been an incredible journey. And I would say that I grew into the role of CIO over time.

Having worn all the hats and done all the jobs and you know when you’re in start up mode over those years. That’s what you do as a team. Is everyone pitches in and does whatever needs to be done in order to make the company successful

So most of the core team is all still here. So we have this incredible environment that that really functions well with all the individual members helping out

Assignments and acts as a team is not be a bunch of people who work together a team is a group of people who trust each other.

And over the years. That’s what we built here so it’s it’s been a fantastic place to be for me to grow professionally and also to have a mentor, like our CEO and founder rod Roy, who has helped me

Not just, you know, be excellent at my job, but to transform into a CIO, because that’s a that’s an evolution that has to take place within yourself. You have to be willing to do that work.

On the inside to learn what is empathy and how can I wield empathy, to the benefit of my team and how do I, how do I show confidence to my team in order to inspire them, but without it looking like you’re cocky.

You know, how do you, how do you do all these things in a way that helps your team be better because at the end of the day, a good leader is a good servant. You have to put the needs of your team above your own

And this is the it’s a this is what makes you know you’re arriving into this role so appropriate and again so well deserved because

Very a lot of people see this and they said like, Oh, well, anybody who’s been

In a role for so long. It’s kind of these natural progressive things you are you know you are an individual contributor. Then you’re a manager then you’re a director than your maybe a VP or a VP, and you kind of like track your way up.

But it’s, it’s very interesting that there are many levels are many types of roles that are not ladder paths or there they shouldn’t be.

Because there’s not just functional requirements and skills that are needed to do it but empathy.

Is such a powerful part of so many different parts of what we do. But I would say like you described, more so as a CIO, because it’s not just

You know, CIO, said the old joke, right. See, I used to stand for careers over like that back in the 80s, he would say like, Oh yeah, they are. That was like you’re on special projects.

You hear they’re like, what do we do with Pete, I don’t know. Let’s make him the CIO, and that’ll that’ll push them out in 18 months.

Right.

But then it became a transformative part of how companies operate and survive and thrive in this new sort of it oriented and tech driven field. So the change in that transformation becoming a thing means like, how do you transform. If you don’t have empathy.

And I’ll be straight up. I didn’t have it.

we’ve ever taken the the color code testflight. It’s one of the many different versions of personality tests out there, but so red is the color of power and my test came out 77% read

If anybody saw your office that we just described as being dominant we read

Favorite color. And so it’s a color of my office is the color of the inside of my car and so on. But it means that it much more overshadows the other colors of blue, which are which is emotions and yellow, which is fun and white, which is details that kind of thing.

So I had to work on empathy. It’s something I had to learn, you know, there would be times when my CEO would come into who’s my CEO is very gifted with empathy.

And he would come into my office and say, Do you know how you sounded in that meeting. Just know, and I would say home. I mean just completely abuse and clueless as to

The effects that had the way I had delivered my sentences had impacted a certain person in the room.

And just just no clue. And so I had to. I had to read a lot of books and really work hard on that and, you know, our senior team here is also really good at.

You know, I can ping something off of them say, hey, this happened and I i think i want to handle it this way. What do you think, how do you think this is going to be taken and we all help each other because I think

To build a company like this over time, like we have, you have to have a lot of people with red and their personality. To do that, you have to be a strong team.

But the empathy is also super important for all the people that you’re bringing with you along the way, because they look at you and they see your title and there’s a certain amount of intimidation that comes with that whether you mean it to or not.

Whatever my intentions were I didn’t intend to hurt anybody’s feelings, but they got hurt anyway. And so it’s not

Your intentions that matter. It’s your actions that matter because that’s what’s going to create a result that’s what’s going to create an impact.

So I did. I did have to learn empathy and I will happily confess that I’m a work in progress. I don’t know if there’s ever a point where you say, I’ve reached the pinnacle of empathy.

Maybe Mother Teresa could have said that maybe her but she’s like the only person maybe Maya Angelou. She’s another one who’s really good at that.

Um, but yeah. So I have to always say there’s always a another step I can take to be better.

So the great thing that was because I studied it, I worked hard at it and I’m still working hard at it. I can coach other people in the company who also want to be leaders.

And who are on that same journey of self transformation as well to help them take whatever those steps are the so that they can they can achieve that next level of professional excellence and it just helps you in your personal life too.

Yeah, well it’s the one of the books that I recommend most often to people. There’s one called The Four Agreements and it’s

A neat one is sort of a it’s spiritual, but not religious and and The Four Agreements are very simple.

I recommend it to many people. And one of my favorite things in it is one where it’s and the rule is simply don’t take it personally.

And what’s different about this. It’s a very sort of stoic thing that I use out of it. It’s not just don’t take a person like hey, you know, missy. You are amazing. And you’re like,

I’m pretty I feel pretty good about that right now. You’re like,

No, you can’t. So it’s not just like I I’m very disappointed in you and you feel down, obviously. So you’re not. You’re supposed to not take it personally. So we all do that were like oh no you know shut out the bad

Well, we also have to eliminate the good in a way, or it really very strong peaks of where people are heaping praise.

I recommend I just I dread when people keep praise on me because I’m like, No, no, I gotta, like, I gotta get this on to somebody else. I have to share this I have

This is not me. This is not me. This is a thing. Who else deserve to be here in this moment with me to share this and spread it out. So I’m very mindful of. I call it shaving off the edges.

That I want to stay centered so that I don’t feel because the higher you feel the easier it is to feel the trough.

And when you go about go to baseline. If you’ve been told, like you’re amazing. You’ve done. This is the best day I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a presentation like this.

And then an hour later people like, hey, so the document you did definitely needs a lot of work. You feel like it if you would just come into work and said, hey, so the document you did needs a little work, but let’s work on it together.

But now that you came off this high, you’re at baseline and you feel like shit.

Like you’re here. There’s, like, oh God, because you’ve got this big delta from where you feel so that’s

Sort of the long way to say like when they say don’t take it personally. That means both the the incredible praise and the incredible negativity.

Because you’ve got to sort of shake some of that stuff out and empathy is is definitely something more people need dude. And so if you ever heard of Chris Voss

Oh yeah, I’m actually teaching his book.

Oh, nice. I’ve never seen.

A difference

Oh, yeah.

You should to our sales team and I highly recommend that book. By the way, for anyone in sales, because the techniques that he teaches really work.

My sales team has gone out and implemented these tools as they’ve learned them and they’re experiencing amazing results. Almost immediately, it’s been phenomenal. Yeah. Chris boss was awesome.

Yeah, the yeah i i every time I give 70 the book. Third is, like, wait a second, like high know or you get all your stuff from like

Yes, yes, exactly narratives never split the difference phenomenal and for folks that have got access to master class I masterclass the online and sort of

Tool are really, really neat and Chris does one of the one of the program so it’s it’s effectively a repeat of a lot of the content in the book, but it’s

Neat literally see him, you know, by face. I did the audio book as well. And I was like I was kind of disappointed. It wasn’t him because he’s got just this beautiful delivery.

But tactical empathy is the way that he describes what he does, because it’s very much

You know there’s pure empathy, where somebody falls down on their hurt you want to help them right so your children or have a bad day at school, you want to help them.

Tactical empathy is day to day navigating the the perils of running an organization or negotiating a sale or or whatever it happens to be. That’s, that’s a neat thing. How did you

How did you come about this. It sounds like this is something that you said that you kind of got you, got you found out that you needed a little help. How did it come to to that point where you decided this was it. I’m ready to look around.

I it was it I don’t know if there was a certain one certain point, but there were definitely

A few incidents where you know my my CEO and founder, who’s also my mentor Rob Roy, you know, just brought it to my attention. He’s like, hey, this

You know, if you want to be effective as a leader, you have to change this and I, you know, studied him because he is so good at empathy.

And it helping to build consensus and he never criticizes in public, you know,

He takes you into the room and talks and, you know, how do we, and, you know, it’s very, it’s always very constructive and

Because of that people are just so incredibly loyal to him and want to do their best for him because he’s so good at that. And so I

I said, Okay, that’s a good model for me because I can see in our own team, the effect that he has

On everyone in it and how he helps everyone to be them their best selves. Well, I can’t let that stop with me. I need to

Turn around and do that for everyone else. Also, but because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I have to, I have to learn it. And so I went and started searching out books on that to learn how to be better at it and but

Transformation doesn’t happen unless you can self actualize meaning. Okay, I’m going to do an honest analysis of myself.

And say, Okay, these are the things that I need to work on and then actually take that into action and and do it in real life. You know, one of the great things about Chris bosses book never split the difference

Is these these conversational techniques like mirroring and labeling. I started using them at home with my husband.

Hahaha

And it works. And so he now thinks I’m like the most attentive best listening wife in the world.

Because I’ve learned how to practice these skills, how to be a better listener and how to make the other person feel like they matter to you and that you’re not just sitting there waiting for your turn to talk.

So these are techniques that anybody can learn, but you have to be number one willing to make the change. And then to actually do the work over and over and over again in order to unseat some of those deep seated habits that you already have.

And it’s like a muscle memory as well. It’s a, it’s a neuro muscular memory that you have to create and it’s it’s so funny because that’s

So much of what I learned in that book and and other things and how I’ve like kind of become used to

talking to strangers. Now a lot of times, and when I’m on a podcast with them a little get introduced to them. And that’s it. We record like 90 minutes of really enjoyable conversational content.

And they were like, how did you, how did you know about my business. I’m like, why I read about, about nine minutes before we got on the call, but

You just did such a great job of telling the story and I just helps to pull you through it. And that’s really what it was is and at home. It’s such a powerful thing because

Like you said, it’s, you can just do the simple things, and you feel bad when you’re learning it because you’re like, Whoa. All right, time for some earring. Time for some labeling

But after a while if you practice it enough. It does, it does start to come natural

And it makes sense, it, it actually legitimately creates a true engagement. It really pulls us you together with the person you’re talking to and gives them a incredible comfort.

To share much more of it and some of the early some of the longer really long form podcasts. I did with one fellow, I said, like he was asked. My question is, what’s the, you know, hardest. What’s the most difficult thing that’s ever happened to you that you’re most thankful for.

Hmm.

You know, and so one of those like weird questions. I think it’s like a Tim Ferriss question, whatever.

And it was neat that instead of having like just a gut reaction to it. There’s just this incredible long pause. And that was another sort of vorticism I’ll say is, like, just let let silence rain and and then after like 40 seconds. He says,

No, it’s good question. You know, the day that I and it was like this incredible thing just happened in front of me, from that moment forward and fights cut them off for like tried to make the conversation flow, it would have totally changed the dynamic

And those are those are so magical when you get those. And that’s why I love. So you go and you’re you’re sharing this as well. You’re mentoring other folks in the industry, you talked about mentoring and Rob being one of your mentors.

What do you do in order to create that mentoring relationship as well with some of either peers or folks in the organization. I’m curious how you make that come into play as part of your day to day

So I don’t think you can force that I don’t think you can sort of declare, hey, I’m going to be your mentor now.

But you can start to show a lot of interest in someone’s work and their day to day activities and call them more and

stop and say, Hey, who you’re rooting for in the Super Bowl. You know, things that don’t necessarily have to do with work build that relationship.

And I always laugh because I have a bit of a snarky sarcastic sense of humor.

But if I haven’t known someone here at the company for at least five years, they don’t get they don’t get to see that side of my personality, because I’m not 100% sure how they’ll take it.

I’m not 100% sure if they would be offended or or feelings hurt or not sure if they think I’m being mean whatever

Now of course the people I’ve been working with for 10 years they all know you know How what how my sense of humor works. And a lot of them are the same way anyway. And so we have a ton of fun with that banter.

But i i sheath that sword when I’m around people that I don’t know how they can handle it. And so I think you have to build that relationship. First, get to know each other and build that trust.

I think it’s, it’s different if you, you know, I’ve done the the mentoring programs where you’re mentoring young college students and so on. And that’s a diff very different dynamic.

They’re coming to you for mentorship, they’re coming to you with questions and they want to know, how do I do this, and how do I do that.

And it’s interesting, a lot of them want to, how do I become CIO, right. They want to know, how do I get to the sea level. And I kind of stopped them. I’m like, Well, I, I never had a plan to get to a sea level position. I never wanted to work in a data center when I was

This

This wasn’t in the plan.

Because it didn’t exist right a job that I have did not exist when I was a kid and a lot of the people who are coming out of high school and college now are going to have jobs in the future that don’t exist yet.

And so my goal every day. I really just wanted to earn a living. My goal when I became a network engineer. Well, you know, I got some certifications and became a network technician to start out

And I just, I wanted to make a decent living. But my the way that I approached work every day was how can I be how can I be excellent today.

How can I be my most amazing self today because I can’t do anything about tomorrow because tomorrow is not here yet.

And so that was really my, my focus as I you know worked all over the years was just be my best self today because it’s the only thing I can control.

And that was a great way to try to keep stress.

Off of my back because I can’t you know a lot of people spend a lot of times, worrying about what are we going to do and

Next month and how is next quarter going to go and this and that. I can’t control any of those things. I can only control what I’m doing today.

And so if I go home at the end of the day and go. Yep. I was excellent today than I did a great job and that will take care of itself. And so I kind of backup these younger kids and say, well, hold on a second.

You know, that’s that path forward, you may, you may lay out some path. Now, I guarantee you, I bet you a million dollars that that path is going to change.

Either you’re going to evolve it or life is going to happen to you or new opportunities are going to come up and you’re going to make different decisions.

I don’t I don’t I think it’s very difficult to set some massive goal out into the future in front of you.

And then have that be your be all end all and then if that doesn’t work out, you’ve experienced this huge disappointment or let down

So I just say, do your best. Today, in order to go into tomorrow, knowing that you can do the same thing again. And if you do experience a setback.

Oh. Well, that’s life. I don’t know if you ever saw. The Incredibles the Mr. Incredible would say, you know, every time I turn around the world is in jeopardy again and we can’t just stay saved.

You know the setbacks will happen. They happen to the best of us. And just, that’s okay. That’s life. It doesn’t mean your life’s over the best part about life is Tomorrow’s a new day and you can try again.

Yeah, there’s a there’s a reboot every night, in a sense, right and and i i like the

I described it often is like sort of local optimization. You know, there’s a certain I’ve got a 24 hour optimization window. There’s certain things I can affect within 24 hours and truthfully. It’s really 16

You know, even if you’re getting a short amount of sleep you’re looking at 20

So what can you effects during that period of time. And like you said if if it, if you have a terrible 20 hours, you have a little bit of a of a nap, you come back you like okay

Let’s kind of reset the clock a bit and reset the baseline. So it’s, it’s a good it’s something I wish we would teach

Earlier, I think that’s the thing. I tried to give with when I speak, especially with kids and students especially like teens.

You know, it’s that whole sense of like it’s going to get better, which is like kind of like the around suicide prevention. There’s a whole big Crux like if you remember when you were

12 years old and I lose a girlfriend like, that’s it. I’m done. I’m never there’s nothing in life that could make me happy ever again.

You know, I knew, like so.

But I say this, jokingly now because I was able to survive some some those moments right in and

And so sometimes when you’re in those periods of your life you have that experience, they can feel like that’s it. This is the cliff that I’ve that I’m not going to get on the other side of

And when you get through people and you get into jobs and you get into more senior roles you find out that it’s much more like Mr. Incredibly, like, all right, what do we need to sort it today. Good stuffs, not on fire.

We’re good till tomorrow and then it’ll burn again but

Yeah, we’ll talk about the kids, I think, you know, with the stress of figuring out their future. I think that there’s a lot of disservice done to kids when people ask them, What do you want to be when you grow up.

Because they it’ll and you and I, being Gen Xers, you know, we definitely experienced this as kids. We were expected

To have our entire future mapped out we were expected to know what we wanted to be to know. We wanted to go to college and

And all those things. But in today’s world, and everything is changing as fast as it is. And these kids are going to have jobs and haven’t even been invented yet.

I’m a huge fan of the technical and vocational fields, you know, if you’re going to be a nurse or a doctor or a lawyer or some other career where

You have to have a college degree, awesome. I get it. Go to college and get that degree and go down that path.

But if you’re not sure the technical certifications or vocational programs are excellent ways to get into the workforce.

And try it out for a while. Right. You know, and see where it takes you because you don’t know where it’s going to take you. I had no idea.

That getting a few tech certifications and starting out as a network technician in the early, mid 90s was going to lead to where I am today.

How would I could never have known that. And I didn’t have a plan.

I just said, Hey, I’m good with computers. Let’s give this a shot. You know, this was in the.com days, and it was it was a thing and

You know, I said well you know I can. I can do this. I know I can, you know, learn the language of computers because that’s really all it is is a language.

And you know, I already was pretty good with languages. And so I figured this sounds like a natural thing for me and it led me where I am, but I would never been able to predict it ever

Now, the other thing that I was talking about the the thing you’ve created, which is, you know, we talk about you know the past the CIO, people think, oh, that’s amazing this wondrous there’s no possible like they just can’t even imagine. Sometimes what it must be like

Another thing that people don’t necessarily know what it must be like is when you you’re exposed to.

People you know especially you know peer to peer level in high up in organizations. It’s a very different sort of interaction you have with other CIOs and CTOs and CEOs.

You’re very prominent in public service and and doing things with charity.

You know, we’ve talked in the past, but some of the folks here on your, you know, I always joked about, you know, sort of like my my dream magician friends near like I good friends with them good friends with them and if

You are

You know, talk about did you know when you were not yet network certified that you would someday be, you know, on a charity board with maybe the folks who are and let’s talk about some of the work that you do in that area.

Sure, and no i i didn’t even envision, you know, this was in Southern California. So I never even thought I would ever live in Las Vegas. That was not on my bucket list. And I don’t know if it’s on anyone’s bucket list but yeah

Well, I’ve lived in Las Vegas now for 15 years and I moved here from Huntington Beach to join switch when it was a very small company. And it was a huge risk to move here.

And I still have a lot of people today going, how could you leave Huntington Beach. Don’t you miss it. And I always say, Well, no, it’s right there. Like, I can go visit it anytime I want from Vegas. It’s super easy.

But I don’t have to pay the taxes. I don’t have to deal with the traffic and the pollution, etc, etc. I love living in Nevada. I think it’s a great place to be.

And Nevada as a state is really a big small town. Everyone knows everybody. And so when you serve on boards here. There’s actually a lot of change. You can affect, which is really a cool thing.

So I serve on the boards of FIRST Robotics, which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done is to work with FIRST Robotics. It was founded by Dean Cayman

Who invented the segway and whole bunch of other things. I don’t know how many patents. He has now.

BUT FIRST Robotics enables and they have LEGO League for elementary school kids, AND SO FIRST Robotics enables kids to get this kit of parts and they they can create a robot and has specific weight restrictions and

You know, specific limitations that built around to make sure that all the robots are competing in the same arena.

With a theme every year. So this year, Mark Hamill from, you know, Star Wars LAUNCHED THE FIRST Robotics Competition.

And we have our regional competition here in Vegas. And we last year we had teams from Turkey and Brazil and just all over the world.

But so the kids have to learn mechanical engineering and programming and electrical engineering and the kids have to be able to write a business plan.

They have to go and source funding. So they have to go and basically sell this concept of people to get money in order to fund their

Their company or buying the kit of parts and traveling to the competitions. So they essentially have to create a small business around this robot.

So a friend of mine who is an executive at circus Olay kept encouraging encouraging me to come to the FIRST Robotics Competition. He wasn’t selling it very well. He just kept saying the robotics contest.

Oh, okay, fine. You know, so I went down there and they were holding it in the Thomas and Mack arena, which is a pretty big space and I go in there and it was like NASCAR.

It was high energies.

Huge stuff.

Out music and all the teams have like their own machine shops where they have all their parts and they’re working on stuff and the kids.

I’ll have all the teams have created their own theme. So like one of the team was a Harry Potter theme and

And so they’re all running around. But the great thing is not just are not only are they being judged on how the robot.

competes but each team has to compete in collaboration with a couple of other teams and then every single team gets judged on their gracious professionalism.

So they all have to be kind to each other. So these are not mean, nasty, you know, terrible competitions, where the kids are all

fighting it out know if one kids in one teams robot has a problem. Other teams will offer parts to help and that is gracious professionalism.

So they’re also being taught to be kind and to be professional and to be well mannered adults, while competing with this robot is the most fantastic thing I’ve ever seen. So we were talking to a young lady.

At the Vegas competition. A couple years ago, and as a freshman in high school. She envisioned her her life after high school as she was just going to work and fast food.

Because that’s what her parents did and her parents were barely legal in the US and there is no American dream for her. That does not exist in her eyes.

She has a very different upbringing very different life very different experience and very different hopes and dreams that people who

You know, their families are born and raised in this country and have different options.

So she just figured, I’ll just work in fast food because there’s no money for me to go to college or do anything else. And so as a freshman in high school. Another girl encouraged her to join FIRST Robotics.

Because of how much fun. She was having so she said, Why not, and she gave it a try. And she discovered. You know what I’m really good at this.

I can learn the language of the computer because I already know two languages. I know English and Spanish. And so this is just another language to learn

And so she discovered that she was very good at programming. And by the time she graduated high school she had received a full ride scholarship to Cal Poly.

Because of how FIRST Robotics not not only changed her as a student, but opened her eyes to the possibilities that were in front of her.

That if she could just take hold of them that they were real, and they were available.

SO FIRST Robotics is just an absolutely incredible organization and anyone anywhere can start a team and in your kids school

First Robotics makes it very easy for people to start teams. They have all those pathways and programs laid out and training and all that so that I do that I’m on the board of opportunity village which helps to provide jobs for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Yeah, this is a really good one. I, I had gotten turned on to opportunity village years ago pen gelatinous I caught on to it because it was one of

The that was actually when he was on the apprentice. I think that was what the his, his charity money went towards and I’d already kind of known about that so so big shout out to opportunity village in particular I’m a fan of

Oh, well, they give back and all that you do for that as well.

Yeah, it’s a pretty neat thing that a lot of city. I think there, it should be implemented in every city across America because of how many people are out there with intellectual disabilities.

And when you turn the day you turn 22 the school bus does not come for you anymore.

And so at that at that moment, you are not too old to partake in any programs that are offered by the public school system for people with intellectual disabilities, meaning autism. Down syndrome. It’s about brain injuries, all those kinds of things. So what happens to them, then

What do they do, what do they do for the rest of their lives. What do their parents do with them.

And so opportunity village has a team of people that goes out and finds work that these folks can do so great example is I came out to opportunity village one day and they had all these huge pallets of cereal boxes.

And so, Costco had been selling a three pack of Rice Krispies. So it was like Cocoa Krispies Rice Krispies and frosted Krispies all in this shrink wrap three pack.

And at the end of the promotion all the boxes that didn’t sell all those shrink wrap packages were sent over to the warehouse that opportunity village.

And the OH VIP. That’s what we call these folks with the intellectual disabilities. Oh, VIP package them and then repackage all the frosted Christmas together all the Cocoa Krispies together and all the rice krispies together for shipment to stores for individual sale.

Oh, wow.

So yeah, but so that’s a job that like you and I will lose our minds doing that over and over again for hours and hours and hours people intellectual disabilities can do that and they can receive private purpose and a paycheck.

For doing this work that needs to be done. So they’re also the, I think the third largest paper shredder for the state of Nevada.

Like Nellis Air Force bases is opportunity village to do all their documents reading because none of the OB IPS can read the documents.

This is the the thing of

Like you said, it’s things that we assume you know you see people especially elementary school programs and even high school programs.

Then that’s it once, once they’re out of that age system they’re aged out of all these programs.

Because, for whatever reason, people think, like, Well, like I said, it’s kind of like, why do people eat so much chicken. The world.

Not because baby chickens are cute because adult chickens aren’t like they’re ugly awful things see very easily. Like, I’m good, I’m good with eating that. But if every, every chicken look like a baby chicken. We would never eat chicken.

And so what do we do with all of these programs as we create these beautiful opportunities and beautiful programs to help people through but at some point we lose sight of the fact that they will age out of those programs.

And not just what happens to them, what happens to their parents, you know, for the parents have someone with an intellectual disability or a brain injury, their job never ends. That is it. It’s another

Responsibility forever. And for that, that parent and they didn’t, you know, and those kids. Nobody signed up for that it happened to them and we need to help them all of them you know and and that’s an incredible way to do it.

I can also tell you one other VIP. She was a normal functioning adult and she was in a terrible car accident terrible brain injury and she forgot everything

Through the accident, how to talk on a walk and cetera but the one thing that she did. Remember that wasn’t damaged from the accident was how to do embroidery.

And

So she now makes him because opportunity village has a whole big Art Center. And so she makes embroidered works of art that patrons in Las Vegas will pay big money for

And then the money goes into an account that opportunity village manages and then at a time that comes where she needs a new wheelchair, whatever it is.

They take money out of this account for her.

To pack to buy the new wheelchair but they don’t give it directly to her because then she would lose Medicaid, she would lose those types of programs and funding that she gets because of her status, but the money is still there and reserve for her.

And so this is just, it’s just the coolest program. And then one of the other ones that I’m involved in is I’m on the board of Nevada School of the Arts.

Which phenomenal program for kids who play the violin sing. They’re an orchestra all the art side of the house. It’s a really fantastic program here.

They, they have great programs for kids who have any kind of musical abilities whatsoever. And they partner with all the schools across the valley to deliver these programs Valley wide.

And I’m a huge fan of keeping the A in steam because them without the arts has no soul.

We have to keep the arts involved in these steam programs, not STEM programs because the arts is what keeps us in touch with our humanity and if we don’t support these arts programs, kids are going to lose out on a very vital part of their development, in my opinion, so

There’s a surprising crossover to have just the, the actual neurological patterns of people that are in creative in all forms, they tend to work together the best pro programmers. I know come from psychology degrees.

More so than coming from com site degrees because they understand how humans interact with systems, not how systems interact with systems.

So they they tend to build differently than a pure program or which is a phenomenal and challenging trade into itself, but it’s like he said, so the creative mind.

extends into pushes into the arts and those arts need to be part of, you know, everything like he said look at the robotics program robots programs, they’re teaching incredible systems thinking but write a business plan.

Teach them how to do marketing teach them how to empathy have empathy for each other you know and and competition with empathy. Good golly,

You know, there’s not an organization on the on this earth that couldn’t use that to come into their, you know, org for a couple of days and get people to think that way between

So true.

Now, how did you, how did you decide that that was an area that you wanted to put your own personal focus to because you

You talked about just two and three there, but there’s there’s many more. I know that you you help to contribute to and you promote

Like did. Was that a calling for you or did it just you saw it happening. And you said, I finally have an opportunity to to create something with these programs and I want to help.

I think that, you know, Uncle Ben and spider man said it best. With great power comes great responsibility.

And I think that if you are lucky and blessed enough to get to a position of power and influence. Then if you are given the chance to help make the world a better place you you have to do it.

You are obligated to do it i mean i am i’m really blessed that I got to achieve this, this level of of a career, but so that means I need to take that influence and help

help make the world better. You know what, what can I do to influence others to help make things

Help their world improve because you know I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that there are children in their girls in middle school right now who is attention is being diverted away.

From science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

That’s, you know, site. The data shows that, you know, boys and girls have the exact same interest and compassion and capacity for

All of those subjects in elementary school, middle school is where it diverts you know girls seem to lose interest, are they

Is it teachers that are that are steering them away is that their parents. Is it culture. Is it social media is it hormones. Is it just the differences between boys and girls at that age. I don’t know the answer.

But we can’t sit by and let the young girls not feel like they can do with the boys can do in these fields.

And I I’m a huge fan of making sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, you know I am.

I am always going to be a proponent of women not being Victims, victims of any kind of abuse, but I also don’t want anybody to think that men are the enemy.

Because I’ve definitely experienced that in my lifetime in my, in my career of, you know, for every one man who was a bit of a stumbling block for me. There were 10 who wanted to help

And so, Mr. Rogers was right when he says look for the helpers, they’re always there. And I found that to be 100% true

In every situation. There’s always people who want to help you if you just open your eyes and look or or open your mouth and ask for the help

That’s a lot of time. I think our pride gets in the way of us taking that next step is admitting that we that we need the help and then asking for the help

From the right person. And so, yeah, I definitely feel very obligated to to work in these in these fields because I i got put into a position where I could do that. And then this state in Nevada.

You can affect change here because everyone knows everyone, which is just one of the coolest things ever

You know, might someone asked me, you know, later on if you retire, will you move away from Nevada. I said, Well, I definitely travel but I’m never going to leave without it, because

I can, I can make things be better in this state. There are things I can do to impact the communities that I live in. And that’s just, that’s awesome. And I love that.

That’s very rare.

There is a rare treat to be able to feel and see the impact and. And I think that’s what I think a lot of people lose faith.

In their ability to affect change because they don’t see the outcomes in the impact directly or even indirectly, they, they lose sight of of what it can do.

So it’s it’s challenging you brought up a really good points and an interesting point about sort of like a 10 to one, like if we if you seek hey if you seek negativity, you’ll find it in spades.

But if you keep positive positivity negativity won’t go away but it becomes less of the focus of what you’re finding and I think

You know, have you been able to bring other people and you know through that mindset change of, like, Hey, I know you’ve had a tough time and you had a bad really difficult experience. But, you know, have you seen people you’ve been able to bring through that turn to that that mindset.

Ah,

There have been people in my private life yes that I absolutely have helped to bring through that mindset at work. It’s an interesting thing, because

I think everyone who has gotten

To work in the tech field has experienced some sort of hardship to get there. And I mean, male or female. I think everybody who works. It’s sort of a non traditional thing, right.

I mean, I know my, my parents still don’t understand what I do. I mean, I don’t know if any of you.

Out there have ever tried to explain cloud to your mom, you know, it’s not it’s not an easy task. And so when I meet people who aren’t in the tech industry. They say, Well, what do you do for living. And they’ll say, Oh, I’m in tech and they go, oh, you know,

Bed.

Please, please, that’s the nice smile that says, Please don’t say

Anymore.

And so I drop it. But if they go, oh, what do you do, and then. Okay, cool. Now I’ve met I’ve met a comrade. Right. Someone who gets it. So then you go into all the details and it’s fun.

But we we work in something that wasn’t really a thing when when we were kids, especially if you’re in the data center industry or if you’re a programmer and all that. And so I think that

Every one of us here has endured some sort of a challenge to get here. So you can either let those challenges become a blockade to you being happy.

Or you can go. Cool. I overcame that. That’s awesome. And I think the majority of the people that I meet are like that. And I will say here at switch. We’re huge fans of positivity.

We always talking about put good in get good back that sort of our mod our logo, the karma wheel. You know what goes around comes around, but that and that’s a sort of more of a negative way to say it, but we like to say put get in, get good back

Yeah, no good effort brings good result, you know, whether it’s inside your heart or on the people around you.

So we we don’t tolerate negativity here, you know, we’re going to try to help you be, you know, focus on the positive and, you know, not, not like it rose colored glasses on. But if you look for the good. You will find it always

I and so we’re not going to let a poison pill. Bring the rest of us down.

I think the society needs a little bit of a boost on on that reminder. Sometimes, especially with just the the advent of social media and the hyper awareness of everything.

It brings the noisiest bits forwards to the top and unfortunately the noisiest bits are usually the more negative bits.

That’s right, when I posted it was a few several weeks back with something about how

I took a photo of the sunrise. Hey beautiful sunrise de Las Vegas. And then one of my friends commented yeah until Trump starts World War three. I was like, Okay, this was

This was a post about his sunrise, not about anything else but that’s that’s a person, and I know this person in real life is definitely always focused on how can I find the negatives in any situation. And that’s just, that’s just not a good way to live in my opinion.

Now the the thing that I’m looking to do better at and you touched on it here. We can only create that opportunity for somebody when they know they need it.

And first of all, is your, your, your own immediate network reaches is x, right, so we’ve got a network reach of

peer network immediate is one and two and you get into the sort of third third you know network. It’s a pretty broad set of people, but when we see people you know in your Twitter timeline, who are negative, and I’ve got lots of friends were like this. And there’s a point where I’m just

You know, just like my

bow my head, I’m like,

Oh no, not again like

You know,

And and sometimes I’ve tried to reach out and said like, Hey, uh, I know things must be must be pretty heavy right now you got a lot going on there’s anything I can do to help you know

And but when that doesn’t get anything like when, when does my empathy. Just need to like when, when am I no longer is it valuable for me to be able to help that person. I’m curious in your thoughts on

That because you’re probably

You probably bumped into that a lot, especially

When

I don’t think that you can win a single battle by arguing on social media. I mean I name one like you’ve ever seen on Facebook or whatever you see two people just going at it.

And each one is just digging their heels and further and further and sniping and being snarky and, you know, back and forth. And, oh, I’m going to get the last word. And I’m going to up you want you know all that stuff. You just go

Okay, this is completely in a non constructive argument. This is complete waste of your time. THIS IS LIKE WATCHING DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or you know something, you know, they’re just

It and it always devolves into name calling and insulting and it’s so it’s just not worth it. And the interesting thing is when I post up on social media. I know that I have very far right friends and I have very far left friends. These people should never meet.

Ever

But occasionally they might start to converse with each other on one of my posts and so I don’t shut it down, just depending on what it is because

I don’t want to waste my time dealing with that negativity, especially when it’s completely not constructive neither one of them are going to change the others mind.

So I’m not going to entertain it sometimes if somebody post something that you know like the sunrise pick and then they say something about Trump. Well, my post wasn’t about Trump

So I’ll hide the comment or delete it, because I know it’s not worth it to me.

You know, and if you want to go on your page and post about whatever political. I don’t care. But my post was not about that as my page and so

You know, I just kind of look at it that way. But I’m not going to entertain. I’m not going to get drawn in to any battle on social media. It is just not worth that you’re not going to change anyone’s mind not worth it.

Yeah, and I think that, then this translates to how we can do you know better outreach in general is we have to go into the forums where it’s welcomed and known.

And it’s i just i get frustrated when smile, I think, how can I reach people that don’t know they need help. And I guess the real answer is you can’t

Can’t. It’s no different than an addict who hasn’t hit rock, rock bottom, and admitted their need for

Treatment of rehab or whatever, if. And that goes back to my earlier comment about being able to self actualize if you cannot do an honest internal assessment of the work that you need to do on yourself.

And then actually take steps take. Do you know make choices and create actions and activity in your life to make those changes consistently over time, then you can’t you can’t be helped.

I mean, I know several people where I go. Okay. They cannot self actualize they cannot see the impact that their choices that have made on themselves and the people around them. They just think that they’re a victim and everyone else’s fault. And so I go, Okay, I can’t help you.

But there’s a lot of people that I can help. And so I’m going to go focus on them because maybe person hasn’t hit

That, you know, and maybe they never will. Some people just walk through their entire lives without ever thinking that anything they did requires any improvement. Okay.

But there’s a whole lot of people who who can change. And who wants to change and want to be better and want to do that work. Those are the people that I would rather work with

You. I think

Like

We have to we have to direct our activity to where it’s going to have the most benefit. You know, it’s like the Twitter battle, whatever. I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to go and raise millions of dollars for opportunity Village. I’m going to go to that.

Raise money for the Nevada School of the Arts. I’m going to go concentrate on you know getting more people involved in FIRST Robotics. Why would I waste. The next 20 minutes of my life on some Twitter battle. I won’t do it.

Yeah, I watched it just just watching the commercials for anything on like musty Thursdays and NBC there’s like this one show called a million little things.

And I’m like this is a million little horrifying things like it really is just like everybody’s like got 18 brands of cancer and then they got

They got

Their cancer on their cancer and then their cancer got aids and then someone

Cheated On somebody

These are the most horrible, but it’s, you can see why it’s mesmerizing to the psyche, because

People just want to detach into this very surreal world and it will pull you through it’s it’s like any good Shonda Rhimes, you know, drama, it is meant

To really pull you into these stories and these things and but I watch it and it’s, it makes me ill, because I’m like this is not what we should be putting our efforts into watching like there’s like get masterclass all buy it for you don’t want to just

I would much rather read a book then watch TV. These days, I mean, because I don’t think that

I don’t feel like now not I am a huge movie buff, especially sci fi movies, but I am not necessarily wanting to get all wrapped up in the latest next Netflix series or whatever that is, except it’s great. I do love me some ships.

And rightly so, but for the most part, I would much rather read a book and come out a better person on the other side. I mean, this is I just constantly feel like I’m working progress and I feel very deeply the responsibility that

I have 800 employees all looking to me to do the right thing, whatever that is.

I should know what that is. I should be constantly working on myself to try to figure out how do I

How do I do right by them. How do I show them the respect by constantly trying to get better so that I can serve them well because being a good leader means being a servant and

It’s not about having power. It’s not about having control. It’s not about having money if you want to accept the mantle of leadership. You have to get right with the fact that you are now a servant to whoever looks at you as the leader.

You got 100 years on this, on this earth if things go particularly well, many of which are not usable. This is a rare moment.

Of clarity that people need to listen to. I’ve i i door every opportunity we get a chance to talk. Just because you You inspire me to always do more on the other side of every conversation.

What’s, what’s your, what’s your big thing for for this year we’ve officially entered a new decade or depending on how people count. They think it’s a year, but that’s

A different story.

What, what do you feel that you want to get done this year that you didn’t know that you could do last year.

I would say my role as a public speaker has evolved quite a bit for the company so that that’s a little bit of a

More of a another part of my evolution in my career to be on stage, a lot more. So I want to look at how can I help

How can I help women see their influence and see that they are leaders and see, you know, see themselves differently, but then take those steps to involve themselves and to become better leaders and to wield that influence and have more empathy and so on.

And to also to do the same to say you know this, we can have such a divide between the men and the women, you know, yes. Men have had much more advantages and technology and many

Many fields, you know, I watched my mother beating her head against the glass ceiling in the banking industry for years. When I was a kid. So I grew up watching that.

But men are not the enemy. And so how can we all work together to create this awesome future, you know, because, you know, for every one bad apple. There’s a million great ones. And that goes true for men and women, you know, it’s not like all women are super nice. Some of us aren’t

So, you know, let’s, let’s just not forget that. And then how do I help kids who don’t think that they are part of the American dream or kids who

Aren’t cut out for a four year college or kids who came from a broken home kids who

You know, were born in the inner city of of a terrible, you know, in the slums into a drug addicted mother and they’ll never know who their father is how can we show them that they have opportunities and they don’t have to go down that same path.

You know, how do we make sure that the kid who has a talent for playing the violin gets the right training.

You know, how do we reach into those problems and create solutions and actually put them into place so that we can change lives.

You know, those are the things that I want to focus on. And I’m very blessed to work at a company that enables me to go in and do those things, you know, because we have

We have the ability to make change and to spread that change far and wide. So yeah, those are those are all things that are that are on the docket for this year and the years coming

It’s a good year.

It’s a good year, and also the other thing is getting my youngest son. He’s a junior, and so he wants to go to West Point. And so we’re doing all the preparation for that is a lot of work and getting your kids ready for college, good grief.

My older son went the vocational route. And so it was actually much, much simpler. So I have not prepared for all the stuff that we’re going through to help get my younger son ready to go to West Point. So that’s a, that’s an interesting thing.

And not a, not a simple school to just jump into so

As a mom, I would, of course, prefer that my son, not be in some sort of combat. However, it’s been his dream forever. And so I have to support his dream. You know, I have to do everything I can to help him achieve it. Otherwise, you know, I’m talking about one side of my mouth right that’s it.

That’s it.

Well for folks that want to get ahold you Missy and sort of follow along with what you’re doing.

Where’s the best place to reach you online and how would people be able to find out where you’re going to be at heading into this amazing year

Sure. So on social media ON TWITTER, AND INSTAGRAM. I’M AT Missy bite. Am I SS, why be y te by was my avatar name when switch was an earlier when we were a younger company. We had a comic book artist on staff.

Who would draw all of us and create comic books with our characters and action sort of saving the internet. And so because of my

Sense of humor, my superpower was sarcasm. And so that’s where the name bite created for the carrot was created for the character so

All of us who were here in the early days, our license plates are our avatar names and so on. So, but Missy bite is where you find me on social media and anyone is free to email me anytime Missy at switch calm.

And I’m always happy to be contacted

And we will be updating my speaking schedule on our website. As soon as we have things finalized for this year, but yes.

Excellent. I hope to be putting a couple of items on that list. I’ve got some things coming up in the fall, especially at interrupt. We’re in Austin and September, so I’ll reach out to

Boston. So it’s in this is definitely I would, I would be honoured to have your voice there to be able to tell some of these stories and share these experiences because it’s, it’s something that you know we need more. We need more. We need more Missy in the world. So

That’s so kind. I appreciate that.

It’s been an honor to

Be here. Thanks for asking me

Excellent. Well, thank you very much.

My pleasure. Eric, have a great one.

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