I can’t live without some quiet solo time. Several years ago, I started getting up an hour before the rest of the house, and that’s become the best time in my day. I take some time to drink coffee, meditate, go for a walk or journal, which helps me calm and center myself before the stresses of the day begin.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Misty Frost,CEO of Carrus. Misty drives the vision and strategy behind the company mission.
Misty’s 25-year career includes extensive global experience at a senior executive level, including serving as SVP of global marketing at Instructure, where she led the global growth strategy and drove value from a private startup to a publicly-traded business valued at over $1 billion. Prior to this role, she served as VP of delivery services for Datamark and worked with various global brands, including Intel, Nortel Networks, Hyatt Hotels, and Disney.
In addition to leading the charge at Carrus, Misty serves on the board of directors for Marketware and Equality Utah. She’s also an active member in the Women’s Tech Council and Utah Wonder Women, a group dedicated to developing women’s executive leadership.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Istarted in ad agencies in the ’90s and was fortunate to get to be on the front lines of the rise of both SEO/SEM as well as eCommerce. Those have both become blocking and tackling today, but it was a pretty heady experience to work on those before they became foundational. Eventually, I joined a marketing services company that, at the time, was doing breakthrough things with marketing analytics. I found my love of data and how it can tell the story of how experiences drive results. Eventually, I moved into corporate marketing where the creative and the data came together, and I was fortunate enough to be part of a high growth executive team. Today I’m a CEO, and I think that my background in marketing offers me a unique perspective on understanding market challenges and how to drive growth.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Picking just one story is hard, but one of the more visceral experiences that I had was reasonably early in my career. I was working at an ad agency assigned to a non-profit as one of my accounts. Harrison Ford was on the board of this non-profit, and we were invited to a meeting held at his house. It was a huge opportunity, and I was pretty star-struck. Once we got there (via private jet!), I was struck by how human he was. Here was a guy who cared passionately about this cause and wanted to understand how to motivate other people to contribute. It didn’t matter that he was famous or had a public persona… at that moment, he was someone who was trying to do good in the world.
I realized listening to him that we all, no matter what our jobs or where we are in life we are, we are all motivated by what we feel. It sounds simple, but so often, companies lose sight of their customer’s humanity, and that ends up costing them in terms of revenue and reputation.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The worst mistake I’ve ever made as early as a manager. I had inherited a gentleman who had been promoted into a job he was not performing in. The rest of the team were deeply unhappy with the dynamic, and overall performance was declining due to the tension. I tried coaching but was too indirect out of fear of offending him or making the situation worse. That choice meant that the team spiraled for several months while I tried ever harder to drop hints. Eventually, it got so bad I had to fire him, and it was the worst firing of my career because it was a shock to him, and he had a very ugly exit. What I learned was that not being direct on performance problems is not a kindness to the individual or their co-workers. If I had just provided direct, honest feedback in the first place, we could have avoided months of spiraling and could have either put him in a better position or allowed him to improve his performance truly. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten and informs much of my management style today.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There have been many people who’ve helped along the way. One that stands out is a former manager of mine. During the time I worked for him, we did not get along. He had a very structured style and needed a lot of reporting, and I felt overly constrained and micro-managed. After I quit, he sat me down and told me that he had learned a lot from me and encouraged me to trust my instincts. Even though we had very different styles, he saw something in me of value, and having that validation from someone who I frankly thought didn’t value me at all made me much more confident in my decision making.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our primary focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a more significant impact in the world?
Carrus, where I’m the CEO, trains people to enter and progress their healthcare careers. So not only are we helping to get more people into healthcare jobs, We’re helping people improve their economic options by allowing them to enter higher-paying jobs. If people have economic improvement, then that reduces stress and opens the door for them to improve other aspects of their lives.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- My best lifestyle tweak is meal kits! It’s crucial to me to have family dinner and way too often that was either not happening or turning into fast food. Meal kits allow me to cook with my kids without the stress of needing to run to the store for the “missing ingredient” or spend hours grocery shopping on the weekends or after work. Because they’re self-contained and come with instructions cooking with the kids is easier, and then we can all sit down and enjoy what we’ve made together.
- I can’t live without some quiet solo time. Several years ago, I started getting up an hour before the rest of the house, and that’s become the best time in my day. I take some time to drink coffee, meditate, go for a walk or journal, which helps me calm and center myself before the stresses of the day begin.
- Podcasts on my commute are a way of staying in touch with topics that I have interest in but don’t have time to pursue. Time in the car or on the train passes so much more quickly when I’m listening to something I find entertaining or intellectually stimulating. I don’t often listen to things about work, and I mostly use that time for topics that help me be more well rounded.
- I have always hated exercising! However, as I’ve gotten older, I find I need to move an essential part of my day. Because going to the gym is almost impossible, I try to walk every morning, work at a standing desk, and I make it a point to move around the office every hour or so. I find I feel better with a lot of low impact movements like walking than I do trying to do more strenuous things, and it’s much easier to fit into my day.
- One on one time with my family. I make it a point to have at least some (even if it’s only 5 minutes) one on one time with each of my kids and my partner every day. I was finding that as my kids were getting older, staying connected to them in an authentic emotional way was hard. Taking a few minutes out of every day to focus and be present with them has made a world of difference in the kind of conversations we have and what they’re not only willing but excited to share with me.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Economic options for women! I have seen too many examples of women living in terrible circumstances because they could not afford to leave. Every day at Carrus, I talk to my employees about how we’re changing people’s lives because we’re giving them the opportunity for greater economic control.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started”, and why?
- You’re beautiful just as you are. You do not have to be anything you are not to be successful. I spent too many years trying to fit into some ideal mold of “a professional woman” that wasn’t authentic and held me back. Learning that doing things “my way” really does work best for me has accelerated my career.
- Mistakes are gifts. Success is not nearly the teacher’s mistakes are. Making mistakes and being accountable for them is what makes you suitable. If you never make a mistake, you will never grow.
- Very few things are crises. Many people mistake something important for an emergency and give it so much energy and drama that it’s unhealthy. We all know the “firefighter” at work — the person who turns everything into a life or death situation. The reality is that you can’t do your best work or best problem solving when you’re in crisis mode. Take a breath, get some perspective, and solve the problem as it is.
- Be kind. I thought for many years that people would not take me seriously if I didn’t appear aggressive. The reality is that I get much better results in working with people when they can feel that I genuinely care about their success. Being kind isn’t the same as being passive. I can have high expectations and still treat people with dignity and respect.
- The right kind of conflict is the best driver of growth. I was very conflict-avoidant in my early career. Over time I’ve learned that constructive conflict is the thing that creates smarter solutions and better results. It’s critically important to me now that my teams actively disagree on a topic to get to better, more thorough answers.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health. Too many people are not living to their full potential because of mental health issues. It’s tragic that shame is preventing people from seeking help that would not only help them lead fuller, more productive lives, but also improve their families, friends, and co-workers. Mental health has such a far-reaching impact on our social structure, and our economic well being I think any improvement there has an exponential impact.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I don’t do social media. I found that for my wellness, it’s essential for me to have time off the grid.