Apr 17

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Melanie Rae

‘When I don’t understand something, I break it down. So I wrote a book called the guided social media plan..’ Melanie Rae, Managing Director, Guided Business Plan

More about Melanie..

The color of my soul is….green. It represents growth, health and new beginnings. My green is creativity, determination, analytical and sharing. That translates to business writing, curricula design, financial spreadsheets and technical training. Yes, I have a little green-eye envy for those who do not have to work hard to get lucky.

I met up with this thoughtful, articulate, soft spoken but laser focused entrepreneur at the “What’s Next Boomer Business Summit’. Melanie is the managing director of Guided Business Plan, the author of ‘Guided Business Plan‘ and creator of ‘Boom Entrepreneur’ a boomer based effort to support entrepreneurship.

Guided Business Plan is a Los Angeles based ‘entrepreneur education firm that simplifies the business planning from with classes, book, mentoring and training materials’. The company’s value proposition includes:

  • Write your plan during the class and get immediate feedback from a business development specialist instead of receiving a lot of paperwork to decipher after attending a workshop.
  • Help Desk members receive step-by-step guidance. Focus on your vision rather than getting frustrated trying to figure out where to get the information you need.
  • Simply answer the questions in the GUIDED Business Plan workbook on you own time and at your own pace. With 2-5 word answers, you will end up with a comprehensive plan.


Apr 16

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Kristen Levine

‘Pet video is the most widely watched video on the internet…’ Kristen Levine

I don’t doubt that for a nano second… [with perhaps one, ah hem,  exception] in fact I’ve posted a few of my own cat videos, including the one where my son vacuumed her under belly. He laughed, she didn’t. I reserved judgment.

Yet it was my good fortune to catch up with Kristen Levine, President & Founder of Fetching Communications, an industry marketing pioneer, inventor, journalist and advocate. She’s of course a pet lover who started her PR career in an animal shelter and then turned her attention to pet PR, marketing and branding as a specialty.

Kristen knows the space and well and enumerates the range of health benefits afforded by pet ownership and not just for boomers or seniors. Her website notes:

Pets are ‘love on demand’. They keep us linked to the most basic human needs—love, touch, affection and laughter. You can’t text message your pet, and you can’t e-mail or call them, so you have to relate to them face-to-face, paw-to-foot. I think we sometimes forget how much we need that kind of tangible connection.

While her journey reveals the following:

Like many of us, Kristen Levine developed an emotional connection with animals at an early age. Even as a child, she recognized the importance of making lifelong commitments to companion animals—she sensed our value to one another. Using the human-animal bond as her inspiration along with dogged determination, Kristen turned her life passion into a journey of professional success.

Her drive to do something worthwhile led her to volunteer at an animal shelter. Her feel good hobby quickly led to a fifteen-year career as the Public Relations Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Tampa Bay, where she played a critical role in promoting pet adoption and pet lifestyle education. During those years, she worked hand-in-hand with veterinarians, trainers, pet retailers, and most importantly—pet parents.

Kristen’s knowledge of pet industry and lifestyle concerns coupled with her public relations background led her to found Fetching Communications in 2003. Her goal? To develop the nation’s first and only marketing and public relations agency wholly dedicated to today’s steadily growing pet marketplace.

With 20 years of “paws-on” expertise in the pet industry, as well as the highly regarded reputation as a pet lifestyle professional, Kristen offers her clients a distinct advantage in marketing and public relations outreach. Her unique understanding of the pet industry, joined with the valuable relationships she has forged within the pet marketplace, allow Kristen to effectively communicate her client’s messaging to the public.

Kristen presented on the panel, ‘Where Do Boomers Spend There Money?’ Apparently, a $53 billion spend is one of the answers.


Apr 15

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Donald Jones

A literal fixture on the digital health scene and clearly a visionary with roots beyond ‘tech DNA’ but with a firm grasp on the dynamics of both the payor and provider marketplace Don Jones speaks with both strategic and granular authority.

I caught up with this maestro of sorts following his keynote talk at the ‘What’s Next Boomer Business Summit‘ in San Diego California, see program description below:

Don Jones Keynote Session

What has always intrigued me about this man is besides leading the digital health visionaries’ at Qualcomm (a disruptor company in wireless communications), Don Jones seeded and supported a tapestry of digital health and related innovations via a portfolio of companies’ that afforded him a very interesting seat in the house of healthcare transformation.

Scripps Translational Sciences Institute | STSI

Don in his close to the vest style is in ‘stealth mode’ on a soon to be announced start-up, so ‘mums’ the word at the moment.

Meanwhile, life is about looking forward, not back and Don’s passion is squarely vested in the Scripps Translational Science Institute with his superstar innovation colleagues Drs. Eric Topol aka @EricTopol and Steve Steinhubl aka @SteveSteinhubl.

Listen as Don enumerates on the key trends impacting the senior demographic but also specific insights one where innovation is most likely to originate in the healthcare provider sector.






Apr 14

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Jody Holtzman

t/h/o/u/g/h/t | l/e/a/d/e/r/s/h/i/p

Thought can refer to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that result from thinking, the act of producing thoughts, or the process of producing thoughts. Despite the fact that thought is a fundamental human activity familiar to everyone, there is no generally accepted agreement as to what thought is or how it is created. Thoughts are the result or product of the spontaneous act of thinking…. Thinking allows humans to make sense of, interpret, represent or model the world they experience, and to make predictions about that world. 

Leadership has been described as a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task…. Some understand a leader simply as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others, while others define leadership as “organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal”. - Wikipedia

This is a big job Wikipedia root word definitions notwithstanding, and this man lives and breathes the mission on behalf of the largest association of boomers (like me) and ‘seniors’ (arguably defined by life stage and life style categories) in the U.S. today.

When I first met Jody Holtzman ( follow him on twitter via @jholtzman ) at the Boomer Summit and saw his title of ‘Senior Vice President of Thought Leadership’ of AARP my first reaction was, ‘wow, what a cool title’, this must be an interesting job. We spoke shortly after his keynote, described below:

Jody Holtzman Keynote | Boomer Summit 2014


My projection of cool was later affirmed by first hearing Jody discuss several initiatives – some newly launched as in the Innovation @50 initiative, while others previously introduced, i.e, an econometric analysis of ‘the longevity economy’, support the narrative of a senior demographic group that contributes in many ways to U.S GDP. But my projection was actually sealed when I heard Jody outline his ‘dream job’ of ‘parachuting’ into communities of smart people trying to make a dent in the innovation universe (paraphrased) which is exactly what this man gets to do (sans parachute).

Listen in as Jody enumerates the business case for the longevity economy, and weighs in on some missed opportunities for major retail players in the consumer space.

For additional context on the ‘longevity economy’ see AARP President Shares View of ‘Longevity Society’ or Jody’s interview ‘Opportunities in the 50-plus Market’ on VentureBeat with Jolie O’Dell. Jody addresses the needs, wants and opportunities for entrepreneurs in the 50-plus market.




Apr 11

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Robert McCray

Before there was Health 2.0 and a swarm if not stampede of ‘me too’ digital, mhealth or wireless health themed ‘innovation conferences’ competing for mind and ‘seat share’ at their respective events, there was the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance (WLSA) and its principal venues including the landmark ‘Convergence’ and more recently ‘Wireless Health’ Summits.

rob mccray_wlsa_headshot

Assembled principally from leadership and innovators ‘outside’ the traditional healthcare stakeholder domain, but squarely tethered to the life sciences, wireless infrastructure manufacturers and bio-medical ecosystems this association of stakeholders arguably stands as perhaps the ‘grand daddy’ in the space (sorry Matthew!).

At the ‘What’s Next Boomer Business Summit’ in San Diego, California, I caught up with co-founder, President and CEO of WLSA Robert McCray shortly after his introduction of Don Jones and David Inns keynote session: ‘The Exploding Consumer Health Market… how big companies and entrepreneurs are engaging consumers and challenging established healthcare models’.

The program description notes:

San Diego is home to the pioneers in the cellular wireless industry and a magnet for innovative companies focused on health and biotech. It was inevitable that these two industries joined forces to address the needs of an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy society. Join Qualcomm’s Don Jones and GreatCall’s David Inns as they share their insights regarding innovation in wireless and mobile products and services that will help us remain independent and active as we experience the effects of aging. They will offer two perspectives. Don is a pioneer in opening healthcare ecosystems to entrepreneurial companies leveraging wireless technologies. David has successfully grown GreatCall from a small telecom start-up to the leading provider of mobile health and safety services to older consumers. What are the keys to success for companies in the space? How will innovation change the way we think about our health?

The WLSA Mission ‘envisions a future in which healthcare is connected, consumer centric, distributed and integrated seamlessly across all providers irrespective of the venue.’



Apr 11

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Janet Taylor MD MPH

Life Reimagined

Life re-imagined‘ sounds good, no? In fact I first remember this line from a Frank Zappa and the ‘mothers of invention’ tune ‘who could imagine’? Well, fast forward a couple of generations and who doesn’t want to be on purpose and in mission in life with one’s passion, interests and alignment with what matters?

Certainly this is not a question unique to boomers, seniors or even millennials, but anyone who wants to process these sometimes existential questions and experience this important journey of discovery for themselves.

In this exchange I chat with ‘Dr Janet’ aka Janet Taylor, MD, MPH a talented and passionate community psychiatrist practicing in New York City, the Bronx and Queens, to get some insights on this vital program sponsored by AARP.

Dr. Janet’s breakout session description notes:

Boomers have a bonus round of thirty more years and many are reimagining their lives and crafting new paths. Discover new tools and communities to help you navigate this process while learning how boomer entrepreneurs are building businesses that provide income and fulfillment. Discover the brands, tools, and resources that help them succeed. If you’re about to pivot your career, attend this session to gain the knowledge to reinvent, repurpose, and explore entrepreneurship in the next phase. 

Meanwhile we learn more about Dr. Janet from her bio below:

The practice of Community Mental Health is extremely rewarding to Dr. Taylor, because “being on the frontline with individuals and their families battling the emotional and economic impact of Mental Illness is where I can make a difference”. She attended the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky for Undergraduate and Medical School. An internship in Internal Medicine at the Miriam Hospital-Brown University followed. Her psychiatric residency was completed at New York Medical College -Westchester Medical Center. She received a Master’s of Public Health in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention from Columbia University. She was a recipient of the 2008 Woman in Medicine Award (National Medical Association- Council of Women’s Concerns).

Her medical experience is also international. While living in Vancouver, British Columbia, she practiced Community Psychiatry at Greater Vancouver Mental Health. During that time, Dr. Taylor developed an interest in Life Coaching and became a Certified Professional Coach through the Coaches Training Institute.

She is a frequently invited speaker on the subjects of Minority Health, Stress Management, Parenting and Work-Life Balance. She is a frequent contributor to CBS “ This Morning,” and NBC “The Today Show” and Good Morning America on issues of motherhood and parenting. Dr. Taylor is also regularly featured on CNN, MSNBC and ABC.com’s regular webcast’, “Mom’s Get Real”, Her column in Family Circle Magazine is titled, “Ask Dr. Janet”. Dr. Taylor has also been featured on three television shows, Celebrity Crime Files- TV-One, Discovery Health/Own- “Facing Trauma” and a syndicated talk show, “The Jeremy Kyle Show”.


Apr 06

First Annual HealthIT Marketing and PR Conference

We’re broadcasting live from the first HealthIT Marketing and PR conference from Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, April 7th & 8th 2014.  The full conference agenda is here and the complete faculty here.

To join the broadcast register here.

The conference venue is the ‘The inNEVation Center‘, which describes itself as:

the first public / private economic diversification effort of its kind. We bring together entrepreneurs. Business leaders. Mentors. Investors. Educators. And government agencies. In other words, everyone it takes to build an economy of superheroic proportions.

The inNEVation Center is the brain child of Switch founder Rob Roy. As the most successful technology entrepreneur in Nevada’s history, Rob is extremely passionate about enabling a more diverse Nevada economy. The inNEVation Center is a commitment to “pay forward” the success of Switch by helping to empower Nevada’s next generation of economic leaders.

Meanwhile, follow the conference tweets via the hashtag #hitmc below:

Apr 04

Boomer Summit: A Conversation with Mary Furlong

Last month I had the opportunity to attend my first ‘What’s Next Boomer Business Summit‘ hosted by Mary Furlong and Associates supported by a generous mix of trophy sponsors including: AARP, the American Society on Aging, United Healthcare and GreatCall - to name only a few in the ‘Gold’ supporting class.

This was my first boomer summit, but the 11th for Mary Furlong, et al who notes she’s been active in the space for some 30 years. In this chat and despite that Mary was losing her voice, and no doubt exhausted from planning and hosting the event, we hear direct from her about the gathering, key takeaways and the upcoming Boomer Venture Summit, June 24th & 25th in Silicon Valley - more later!

The list of interviews to follow shortly include:

Kristen Levine, President/Founder
Fetching Communications

Donald Jones, Principal
Cardiff Ocean Group
Scripps Translational Science Insitute

P.K. Fields, CEO & Founder

Melanie Rae, Managing Director
Guided Business Plan

Cynthia Mackey, CEO
Winning Strategies

Jody Holtzman, SVP, Thought Leadership

Janet Taylor, MD, MPH
Dr. Janet

Robert McCray, President & CEO
Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance

Andy Tubman, Co-Founder

In addition to partnering with the Summit for on site interviews, I was also privileged to participate on the ‘Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Trends’ panel with moderator Veronica Combs of MedCity News and co-panelsts Steve French, Managing Partner, NMI and Bruce Daggy, Ph.D, Chief Science Officer, Shaklee.

The session description notes:

Health and wellness is an important trend among boomers and those companies supporting them. New data from Natural Marketing Institute and AARP’s Oxford Study uncovers the latest consumer research and trends relative to health and wellness. Join us to hear from the experts cover the many drivers of healthy lifestyle: caregiving, healthcare, leisure activities, financial challenges, jobs and retirement. Discover how the mHealth revolution is empowering consumers to lead their own care plan with self tracking and personalized care and how fitness technology and platforms are leading the way


Apr 03

HiMSS14: A Conversation with Joanne Rhode, CEO Axial Exchange

We met up with thought leader and committed healthcare transformer Joanne Rhode, CEO of Axial Exchange (and former COO of RedHat) who’s company tagline asserts:

‘Axial Exchange is passionate about making healthcare more effective’

Their website further notes:

Axial Exchange is a leader in mobile patient engagement — focused on the 99% of the time the patients are away from the health system.

Axial offers a patient-facing mobile application, a provider-facing population dashboard, and consulting services.

Axial has 12 health system clients,representing more than 50 hospitals and is backed by Canaan Partners and Mayo Ventures.’

We chat with Joanne outside the Press Room at HiMSS14 in Orlando, Florida.

I first met her in 2011 at the Morgenthaler DC to VC Conference hosted at the Microsoft Tech Center in Silicon Valley where Axial was one of the Series A finalists, and have witnessed several of her previous presentations at health 2.0 Conferences. Listen in as Joanne describes the company’s vision, her ‘skin-the-game’ calling to build it, and core technology capabilities including some results generated to date via client reported outcomes.

For Joanne’s presentation at DC to VC see: Axial Exchange, Finalists in Series-A Round

For Axial’s ’Patient Engagement Primer for Health Systems’ visit their website and download a copy.



Apr 01

HiMSS14: A Conversation with Molly Joel Coye MD


A veteran of the health innovation circuit Molly Joel Coye, MD, (aka @mjcoye) Chief Innovation Officer, UCLA Health stewards the transformation of one of the nation’s most complex academic health center’s into the new age of value based medicine. Among her primary duties Dr. Coye leads the UCLA Institute for Health Innovation, while also serving on multiple boards Including one of the nation’s most progressive health insurance companies Aetna.

We caught up with Molly outside the Press Room at HiMSS14.


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