When you open your laptop in the morning do you feel energized? Or do you sit there sipping your coffee dreading the start of your work day? 

This indicates that something might be wrong—but know you aren’t alone. 

Dr. Alicia E. Mckoy is the founder and CEO of Peak Mind, an Indianapolis-based company empowering safer workplaces through innovation and technology. 

Alicia is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur dedicated to making the work environment better for everyone.

For the past 9 years, Alicia has studied neuropsychology and interviewed numerous scientists, therapists, and corporate coaches to find the best ways to transform our workplaces for the better.

Be sure to check out these great clips from the show:

  • [6:19] Mental performance tricks learned in sports
  • [12:00] Early signs of mental well-being issues
  • [19:40] Finding your calling
  • [27:06] How to design strong spaces for your team
  • [29:09] How Peak Mind is bridging ​​company goals and employee mental well-being 

Get IN. is the show focused on the unfolding stories and most extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. Get IN. is brought to you by Powderkeg and Elevate Ventures.

In our conversation with Alicia, you will learn about:

  • Daily habits to help improve your mental health
  • Actionable tactics to make your workplace and workspace healthier
  • How to identify gaps in your company culture (and even ways to fill them)

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Episode Transcript

Matt: [00:00:00] From the Crossroads of America in the Hoosier State of Indiana, this is Get In the podcast focused on the unfolding stories in extraordinary innovations. Happening right now in the Heartland. I’m Matt Hunckler, CEO at Powderkeg, and I will be one of your hosts for today’s conversation. I’m joined in studio by co-host Christopher Toph  Day, CEO at Elevate Ventures and Nate Spangle, who is the head of community at Powderkeg.

Today’s guest is Dr. Alicia McKoy, founder and CEO of Peak. Mind. 

Alicia: Most of our brains are meant to mind. Wonder is to think of all the things that could happen. A focused brain gets things done, right? That’s a mind wondering. Brain is stress. Brain, a focused 

Erica: brain is a productive brain.

Matt: Dr. Alicia McKoy is the founder and CEO of Peak Mind. Alicia is an [00:01:00] author. Speaker and serial entrepreneur dedicated to making the work environment better for everyone. For the past nine years, Alicia has studied neuropsychology and interviewed numerous scientists, therapists, and corporate coaches to find the best ways to transform our workplaces for the better.

In today’s episode, we talk all about it and cover topics like daily habits to help improve your mental health, actionable tactics to help make your workplace and workspace. Healthier and how to identify gaps in your company culture and even how to fill those gaps. I think you’re really going to enjoy this conversation.

Here’s Dr. Alicia McKoy. Alicia, thanks so much for being here. We’re so excited to have you. Happy to be here. I am really excited to talk about Peak mind and what you’re building there, but wanting to start by taking it back a little bit about where you grew up, which was San Antonio, Texas, right? It was, 

Alicia: so if we wanna say where I was conceived, it was actually in Japan.

Okinawa. Japan. My mother and father were both in the army and they [00:02:00] decided they didn’t wanna have two babies. My sister’s 18 months older than me. So once they realized they were having a second child, they both decided that their terms were they weren’t gonna renew. And so they both exited out of Japan into San Antonio.

That’s where you, they officially I don’t know, whatever the offboarding process for the army is, and we stayed there for 15 years before coming to Indiana. What was that like? It was awesome growing up in the melting pot of America. Tell me about it. 

Matt: I’ve only been through San Antonio, so I don’t actually know what it’s like.

Alicia: Because San Antonio has so many army bases, they have a Billy five if they’re still all open. That brings a lot of international traffic through San Antonio. Did you say a bill five? No, they have five different army bases. Got it. And so most people have to either go through basic training in San Antonio or they exit out or it’s a transfer station for a lot of people.

And so that brings the melting pot together. And the river walk is. Pretty cool too. And being close to Mexico, it brings, immigration traffic through, through the Midwest. 

Matt: What do you think all that kind of [00:03:00] immigration and melting pot of San Antonio did for you when you think about your career today and all of that exposure that you had?

Are there some things that you learned in those first 15 years of your life that you still carry with you 

Alicia: today? For sure. Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Growing up in a melting pot, diversity is just something you’re, you don’t think anything of. And so coming to Indiana, it was not the most diverse city state.

Tell me about San 

Matt: Antonio. What were some of the things that you learned? In those first 15 years growing up there. 

Alicia: Yeah. Having access to just so many diverse people and types of ethnicities and languages. I spoke Spanish when I was a kid. I called the babysitter Bolita which is little grandma and grew up eating amazing foods.

So I remember eating Indian as a kid. I may not have loved it. My mother and sister can tell you that, but I was exposed. And I’d be hard pressed to say when Indiana got the first Indian restaurant, I don’t know, maybe any of you guys know, but I don’t, 

Matt: that’s too funny. Before I was born, definitely before I was born I [00:04:00] loved Kahana Onna Grill.

I grew up in West Saia where Purdue is and there’s, I don’t know if you remember that place too. Oh yeah. Cause you went to Purdue. Yep. Kahana, Onna Grill was just fire. So good. That’s my favorite Indian restaurant in Indiana. Nice. 

Toph: What’d you dream about when you grew up when 

Erica: you were a kid?

Alicia: That’s a good question. That I don’t know if I remember. And I 

Matt: don’t mean an 

Toph: actual dream. Dream what’d you wanna do? And what, I wanna do this 

Alicia: someday. Yeah. I would think if I had anything that I really thought of was a doctor or veterinarian. I’ve always been a caregiver.

And so taking care of people, that probably would’ve been the path that you’re taught in school, right? What do you wanna be a doctor, a nurse, a veterinarian, one of those standards. 

Matt: Love that. So then what ended 

Nate: up bringing you and 

Alicia: your family to Indiana? My mother’s family was here. And so when she got out of the army it was military bases and friends, not family.

And so just, she hit a point where she wanted to be closer to relatives and and so we came up and we visited one summer and she realized how nice it was to be around family and decided that she wanted it to [00:05:00] be an everyday thing. Were you still in high school? I was. I was just finished my ninth grade year.

Matt: Got it. So you still had several years 

Alicia: left. Three years of high school here. And then I, when I got to the college portion, I had to decide, okay, do I go back to San Antonio because I’d only known Indiana for three years and I went and toured University of Texas, San Antonio and it was a hot, muggy like day and it was just like so desolate and barren, no grass.

And I was used to grass from Indiana for three years. And so I was like, can I do this? Sure. 

Matt: Yeah. That’s awesome. And. Maybe jump in a few steps here, but I think you ended up at Ball State and not San Antonio, correct? 

Alicia: Yes. I actually had my University of San Antonio id. Wow. And so they had mailed it to me.

You’re close. I was supposed to be down there in two weeks. Oh, wow. And I just said, I can’t do this. Can’t do it. You’re and. You 

Erica: were gonna be a road 

Nate: runner. I was Instead you chirp, chirp with the 

Erica: cardinals. I did. 

Alicia: So I, I said, okay, who can I get into here locally? And and it, another funny story is that I [00:06:00] also chose my college because I was so burnt out of being a three sport athlete and an academic athlete that I honestly might have said, what school can I go to that nobody’s even paying attention to?


Toph: We need to check that out. You were a three sport athlete. 

Matt: I was. So what were those three? Sports, 

Alicia: basketball, volleyball, and track. Yes. 

Matt: What were some of the mental performance tricks and hacks that you kinda learned in sports before you were, deep in the mental wellness space? I’m sure you learned some things.

Alicia: Yes, I’m sure I did somewhere, but I’ve always naturally been a leader. That is one thing that I look back that I didn’t realize then, but I was almost always a captain, right? And so looking back, now that I’m helping coach my niece in basketball, I see the traits that she has because she is the one that says, Hey guys, let’s you know.

Come on, get together, start shooting the ball. She’s naturally taking the lead and I always had those traits where I learned it. I’m not sure. I’m sure having two Army parents who are strong, sophisticated, intelligent people helped. Yeah. I have some [00:07:00] good dna. Yeah. 

Nate: So having Army parents in the background, was entrepreneurship a part of your home life 

Alicia: growing up?

My father did, but I don’t know. I’m subconsciously, I would imagine that I recognized it right? At one point, I do remember seeing a bunch of jewelry on a table. It was like this African wood jewelry, right? And so I remember seeing like, why do we have this? And he was selling it. I don’t know what if it was a chain at the time or what it was, but maybe those small, subtle things were creeping in without me knowing.

Matt: Do you think the military background played a part in your elite performance, both in academics and in sports? 

Alicia: Not directly, but I think just genetically, because they both were out, so I never got to experience being a military brat as people say. Yeah. They were out before when I could realize.


Matt: I, but I would imagine though both your parents are. Maybe a little bit more regimented than your average 

Alicia: adult. Yes. Did you have to make your bed every day? No, thank goodness. 

Matt: Oh really? Wow. Nice. [00:08:00] Wow. What was your first kind of memory of that desire to be an entrepreneur? 

Alicia: It would be, I would say when I moved to Los Angeles, so I graduated from Ball State in 2003.

I worked here for about a year and a half. I was already working while I was in college. I was blessed enough to go through two fantastic internships. My high school guidance counselor who was a friend’s mom of mine, she basically handed me an application when I, my senior year of high school and said, fill this out.

You’re doing it. Wow. It wasn’t an ask. It was a town, which I’m thankful for because what it was is at the time, Indianapolis had what was called the Inroads program, and it was a group of companies like Lilly and Kroger and other corporations that volunteered and or pledged, what we’re doing now with indie what is it, employee Indie.

Where companies say I will and write Tech Point is doing something like that where I will spend $5,000 on an intern. And for the summer they’ll come and they’ll, get to experience our corporate cul culture and learn something. And so I did Kroger for two years. [00:09:00] So my first year summer of college, I was working at Kroger in what was now or at the time it was a top 10 management training program in the country.

So I was interning alongside 55 year old people who were learning to be general managers. And so I was, every two weeks I would rotate through the meat department. I’d rotate through produce, I’d go then, through the corporate office, I’d sit in hr. I had to order. It was really stressful. One week I had to order all the food for a store.

Oh, can you imagine that? So you don’t wanna mess that up? No, I’m glad I didn’t have to take the calls when I didn’t order enough Cheaps cheese puffs or something. Yes, 

Nate: hoosiers do enjoy their cheese puffs. 

Toph: Yeah. Was that in Indianapolis or was that in 

Alicia: Cincinnati? No, Indianapolis. Indianapolis. And I did Kroger for two summers and then I said Okay, the third summer, I was like, okay guys.

The meat department’s getting a little, what else can we do the next it’s game a little bit. Let’s change it a little bit. And so since I was studying interior design and marketing, they said we have nothing in interior design, but the closest would be construction. And so Duke Construction was one of the corporate pond [00:10:00] partners and Duke took me in.

And so I worked the junior to senior summer. And then basically my senior year of college, I was driving down to Indianapolis and I was working as a, an employee for Duke. And I just continued that for a year and a half after graduation, and then I said, okay. I’m tired managing middle-aged people and telling the painter to keep the paint off the carpet.

Unfortunately, that’s your job when you’re a project manager in a construction company, so that’s fair. Yeah. 

Matt: Did you have a mentor 

Alicia: early on there? Rich Presto was over the pre-construction or. We were the interior construction division. And so he was our manager and, he was great for the first six months.

That first internship, the first summer, I went on all his calls with him, and then at about six months he said, you know what, Alicia, you’ve got this. You don’t need me. Here’s your set of projects. And they handed me my first, small jobs, right? Take a room this size and change the paint out and change the carpet and keep it in budget, yeah. You start little and you continue to progress that from there. That’s 

Matt: awesome. 

Toph: That’s near and dear to my heart 

Erica: [00:11:00] because that’s how my career started. Nice 

Toph: as well was in 

Matt: commercial construction and real estate development. That’s awesome. Mine was if you count tiling floors. Nice. Tell me about the kind of spark for your first entrepreneurial endeavor.

How did that come about? 

Alicia: Yeah. I left do construction because I didn’t wanna strangle any middle-aged men. 

Toph: Who’s, and I love it when they say, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, right? Oh yeah. And you’re probably like, okay, so you do that for 30 and I’ve done it for two, so that’s 32 years we can 

Erica: figure 

Alicia: this out.

Yes, thanks. Every day, all day. And so I moved to Los Angeles because I’m young and in my early twenties. And I said, okay what should I do next? And I took whatever savings I had and I just, I. Packed up a little U-Haul and moved cross country and knew maybe two people in la. And I took a couple months.

Three months, and I just traveled the city. I learned and then I said, okay, I need to get a job. And so I went to Craigslist and got a corporate interior design job. A weekend that Craigslist was the thing back then. It was actually legit and not creepy. And [00:12:00] 

Erica: yes, 

Nate: And you’re living to tell the tale.

Erica: Yes. 

Matt: It worked out what matters. That’s amazing. What did you learn in those first couple weeks in la, landing in a new big city like that? 

Alicia: Yeah. Luckily I have friends that we traveled internationally, so when I wasn’t working the last two years of college, I was traveling to cities in, in different countries.

So I, I probably traveled 30 different places in junior and senior year of college. And so I, in addition to San Antonio, I was already pretty well traveled. So LA to me, I’d been there before, but I just, I didn’t know people. But what I did get to know was the lay of land, where are things at?

What do I like to do here? Because it’s, it was a bigger city. Unlike Indiana where you had access to so many different foods. So many, and now I was a grownup versus San Antonio, where as a kid. So I got to actually enjoy and have fun and get to party a little bit and let my hair down.


Matt: great. What brought you back? 

Alicia: Family. Yeah. What brought my mother here ion it in the first place, sure. We were in la we were seeing a recession. The writers were on strike, and so that [00:13:00] was before the, what was it, oh eight recession. And so in late 2006, 2007, the writers all went on strike.

And that lasted for about a year. The city was just decimated. And so it just became hard to be an entrepreneur because I started my first company in 2005. I was working for one of the corporate designers that I had gotten the jobs through Craigslist with, and. A phenomenal high high-end corporate designer.

We were designing hotels and nightclubs, and one of our residential properties was actually the largest residential property in all of Malibu. So Oh wow. Really rich gentleman who has a tower in London, a tower in downtown LA and owns, the biggest residential property. And so tho those were the types of customers that we were solving for, I think Michelle.

Pfeiffer was one of our clients. She wasn’t my direct, but so getting that exposure was amazing. But what I realized is the leadership. When the leadership isn’t good, it doesn’t matter if you have access to the best things in the world and the best clientele. Yeah. It was so painful and stressful working there.

The corporate culture was just broken. And it was all because of the leader. And [00:14:00] so a couple of us decided this is just, this isn’t working. Why don’t we’re smart, intelligent women. Why don’t. Let’s try and do it on our own. Let’s figure this out. And we did, we met in a Starbucks in LA or maybe a the other coffee place on one of those two places.

And we said, all right, he’s going out of business. And one of the ones actually, did he shut down? Wow. Two weeks later. We never got off my no paycheck. Wow. He was run out of town. Oh my gosh. Which is really unfortunate because he was, So prestigious. We were designing for the Shamian Brothers, which the SLS hotels were, some of the best in the world at the time.

Yeah. And so to have that much creativity. And he had a $5 million contract on his desk that he wouldn’t sign. The Shamian brothers wanted to lock him in. We would’ve been his, their only interior designer. Wow. $5 million guarantee. Wow. To just do any of the nightclubs, any of the hotels, any of the restaurants, and he couldn’t sign it.

Mental wellbeing got into the way. And even the best his consultants, one of the women that I started my company with, she was trying to be his business consultant and tell him, Hey, look, we’ve gotta get this together. But, doing illegal drugs on top [00:15:00] of having mental wellbeing issues just doesn’t make for a good business.

No. Yeah. No. 

Matt: What are some of those early signs? Looking back where you maybe started to see some cracks in the system and for leaders who are listening and leaders around the table here. What are some of those kind of early signs where, hey, maybe you should reach out, start getting some help when things reach this particular 

Alicia: point.

For sure. When you start questioning sitting in your car saying, do I wanna drive to work today? That was the catalyst for Peak Mind for me. I’ve been a business owner for 10 years and one day I just was like, I don’t even wanna go into my own office. And I was like, I own the place they work for me.

If I’m not happy with them and don’t wanna see them today, I have the power. And that really started, me to say, okay, what is the steps to take? Yeah. Do I just let ’em go or do I train ’em? Do I, are they the type of people that we really want in the co the company? And this was my corporate interior design business that I’ve was started in 2005.

And so really took a look at that and said, how do I change it for myself? How do I change it for them so that we’d never get to this point of burnout again? And then that [00:16:00] realizing that it wasn’t just me going through that all of my CEO customers at the time were going through that. I was working in 26 different states.

So I was traveling three days a week. I was in different states doing corporate 50 million buildings, 25 million buildings. And so all of my CEO customers were all feeling the same thing, right? We design a building and we’d do a post-evaluation and walk in a year later and say, how do you like the building?

And then there’d be, grumpy, unhappy employees that say I don’t like the break room. We built the break room the way that you wanted it. Why don’t you like it? And seeing that time and time again, you start to realize that I don’t think you even know what you want. I don’t even think you understand what you’re saying.

You’re just saying words to say words. 

Toph: This is such a critical subject because there’s the old atoms that CEOs a loneliest job in the world for sure in humans. And different, everybody’s different, but it’s, I think it’s probably hard for most humans to self admit, right? That I’m struggling, I have an issue, I need to reach out.

I need help. Whether it’s tapping a friend [00:17:00] and getting vulnerable or going to a professional, whatever it might be. So I, we’re probably gonna get into Canada than you launching peak mind. But this is such a powerful subject in no doubt. That people that are listening to this right now are thinking to themselves, I’ve been struggling and I don’t want to admit it.

I don’t want my spouse to know my girlfriend, my boyfriend, whatever, whatever it is. Talk about that before we jump into the peak mind side. What would you say, what have you seen of how people can overcome that white knuckle moment of, I don’t want to admit I need help cause I’m a strong person, right?

And I can, Root force my way to success in this role. 

Alicia: Yeah. I think it’s gonna come out one day, whether it comes out in a healthy way or I say my quote is, burnout leans to act out. How you act out, do you get too drunk that turns into a du dui and now you’re, facing legal charges and now you’re like, okay, I have to do something.

Or do you black out? You or do you? So many different things, unfortunately are the [00:18:00] catalysts for change. And unfortunately, a lot of us have to feel that pain. I don’t know why. That’s human nature. It’s okay, dang it, I like now I have to address it. Or you see it and witness it in somebody else.

Right, which is my modeling and talking about how your success, how you’ve overcome things, is helpful for other people because that is a motivator for others. And so the more we have that men share, the more that other people share their journey and their story and their struggle can help somebody else.

And so there’s so many different ways to move people forward. Nudging, we’ll get into with peak mind, right? That’s one of the sciences that we look at. But it, it can be done. And luckily the pandemic, I believe, has thrust that into the forefront and way more people are talking about their vulnerabilities and their their stressors these days than ever before, which is the blessing and disguise of the pandemic.

Matt: Quick break from our normal programming. I have Erica Schwer, COO from Elevate Ventures here in the studio today. Erica, thanks for being here. Yeah, thanks for having me. And you’re gonna tell us a little bit about this Rally innovation conference that’s coming 

Erica: up? Yep. So it’s the largest cross-sector innovation conference in the world.

We’re gonna feature six [00:19:00] innovation studios, so think Hard Tech software, sports tech, ag, and food, healthcare and entrepreneurship’s gonna kinda be our catch-all. I love 

Matt: that. Tell me what is, who’s 

Erica: it for? Yeah, it’s for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, honestly, anybody probably listening to this podcast.

Matt: And it’s gonna be a multi-day thing that’s happening multi-day in downtown Indianapolis. Yep. People coming in from all over the country and maybe even all over the world to be here. 

Erica: That’s our hope. Yep. And the dates are actually August 29th through the 31st. 

Matt: Perfect. And if people want to find out more information about speakers, tickets, things like that, where can they 

Erica: go?

Yeah, so they just go to rally innovation.com and sign up for communications, and they can also get their 

Matt: tickets. I love it. You heard it here, rally innovation.com. We’ll see you there. Yeah, absolutely. 

Nate: So 10 years, right? You’re working interior design, you’re sitting in your car not wanting to go into the building, and you’re like that.

Is that your moment of what do I want to do? Yeah. Is that what led you to. Launching Peak Mind. 

Alicia: It is, it was the moment that I said something has to [00:20:00] change because I’m either gonna close the company down or it’s gotta change and it’s gotta be better. And that was about 10 years in business.

And so I said, how do I spend the next 10 years working smarter, not harder? And at that time I said, okay, I need to look for assistance. And so I hired two women who are business strategists and I worked with them for a year and a half. And they put me through homework every two weeks and gave me all sorts of forms and asked me what my purpose and passion is.

And I say, I dumped my entire brain out onto the table and said, you guys figure it out. Tell me what I should do for the next 10 years and what do I need? to cut that’s not, bringing us profit and not and bringing us joy. And what do I do moving forward and do more of? 

Matt: What were the things that you were surprised by that they told you that you just weren’t aware 

Alicia: of?

Yeah. They said for any CEO have eight different streams of income. Just in case a pandemic happens and takes one of your companies out. Which that makes total sense. Turn a hobby into a paid hobby. Have one that’s free, but have one that’s paid. Just so that you’re fulfilled in making income.

So that, I think that strategy, that thought process as a ceo you’re taught to focus on one company.[00:21:00] Make it your sole focus. But I believe in having that balance and or having other things that you can fall back on, especially because so many businesses fail. 

Matt: Yeah. What, how do you think that ties to mental health?

Just having multiple hobbies, multiple streams of income, multiple interests. 

Alicia: Yeah, you’re trying to get to my drumming hobby, aren’t you? I see you trying to pull it out. Never. 

Matt: I would never, 

Alicia: no, I think it’s it’s good, right? It’s good to have balance and I found that out as well through that process of what am I spending my time on?

When you’re so consumed with one thing, it is hard to have other outlets and when that one thing is stressful as running a company is stressful as we know, and so you have to have some outlet. And if you don’t have a lot of family around you, I’ve been a single mom for my son’s 13 and so I don’t have that support outside of here other than my child and friends.

And so I have to look at hobbies and I have to do other creative outlets to be able to have that fulfillment or go to yoga, and have that group of yoga friends. So tell me about drumming.[00:22:00] 

Matt: How I actually, I do think drumming is an interesting it’s interesting that’s one of your hobbies because it is a common thread.

I’ve got a group of CEO friends who are all or either former CEOs or current CEOs and we all play music together. It does seem like there’s an interesting dimension of entrepreneurship that is very much related to music and vice 

Alicia: versa. Yeah, I think it, it’s, we’re so analytical, right?

We might crave that creative side. And yes, creativity is a part of running a company, but it’s a smaller part. Right when we’re in strategy or rolling on a new product or a new UIUX design. And so I think naturally your body, craves that creativity. And so if you can’t get it there doing arts or write a lot of people paint or journal or draw or play music, and I’m a high frequency person, when I’m, I may be calm right now, maybe hurt.

For the camera right now. But naturally I’m a high paced high functioning person, and so drumming matches that frequency. And so if I want to have that same creativity I couldn’t sit there and draw right. With a pencil. It’s just, it’s not my [00:23:00] mode. But yeah. I get to bang at a thing right.

And just like release that, that pen of energy. So in, 

Erica: and 

Toph: multiple things happen at one time. Because different 

Matt: things are going different 

Alicia: speeds. Oh yeah. And I love to draw ’em, like edm, so 

Matt: that’s oh, 

Nate: there we go. So Matt plays music. Drumming, Toph what’s your hobby? 

Toph: I play the trumpet.

No, you don’t. I did. 

Matt: Yeah. 

Toph: Yeah. Nice. 

Nate: Did or do like currently, like you’re gonna go home. I can play the bugle too. Nice. Yes. Okay. Wow. We just got some musicians here around the table. 

Matt: Yeah. What’s your incident? Can I sing on the side? Oh, 

Nate: he is a spec. I can carry Greg Beatboxer over there. Yes. Maybe I have to play that out.

Yeah, absolutely. I’m not the musician right. But my hobby is coaching, wrestling. It’s. It’s nice, one of those high energy like focus on Oh yeah. Pouring into this and it’s a great time, but it is definitely not the drumming or the trumpet or bugle, like Toph You just like yelling 

Erica: at people are you getting back off?


Matt: exactly. 

Nate: Did you hit product market fit? It’s like what? Coach? Sorry. Blending my [00:24:00] lives together, coach. 

Matt: What’s interesting about drumming? Is that it’s so physical. And you mentioned yoga as well. I’m curious what you’ve seen just in your work around mental health and wellness. How does that tie into physical 

Alicia: movement?

Oh yeah. One of the things that they’ll tell you is to get that stored of energy out, right? Yeah. Energy has to transmute into something else. And doing yoga, working out yoga’s a. Slower, more meditative process which helps me to slow my brain down because I do function so high all the time.

I need that decompression time. People that know me and see how fast I work, they think that I’m just always like that. And they always ask the question, what do you do in your free time? And I have to do those meditations and mindfulness practice to slow me down and refocus was that hard at first.

Yeah. I think the process is like everyone says, you think of any little thing as distracting but practicing for time, doing it over time builds a practice. Yeah. 

Nate: Is that your best Avi? Because I’m thinking of like yoga or meditation. It’s If you’re a high functioning [00:25:00] person, you’re like, okay, I’m sitting here with my eyes closed, but I’m still thinking about 10,000 other things.


Alicia: yeah, for sure. Whether you have a paper alongside you and you open your eye and you write down, 

Erica: okay, do the product 

Alicia: market fit, do the, fill out the Elevate report. 

Nate: You got my fourth email reminder this month, this week. Yeah. So I guess if you have a couple good strategies for people that maybe have active brains, right?

And they want to. Slow down and get into a meditation or a yoga practice. Yeah. Any good actionable items 

Alicia: there. Guided meditations, right? You have to start with where somebody’s talking at you, because at least you can focus on their voice. If you try and do the no word, you’re gonna totally be distracted.

Toph: Have you ever heard of or practiced Yoga Nidra? 

Alicia: I believe so. I don’t remember all the different types, but I’ve been doing it for 20 years. So I think I’ve done most of ’em. 

Matt: I’m a huge fan. It’s 

Toph: insane. Yeah. Explain Yoga Nidra is I’ve become this massive believer in energy, right? And I never used to think about it too much until the last seven years maybe.

But Yoga Nidra, basically, you get into a really comfortable state, right? And you have somebody. Guide you through [00:26:00] whatever that journey is. They talk you through a meditation state where it’s all about clearing the noise. Focus on that one thing that you really want or trying to achieve.

And holy shit, it happens. Yeah. Oh yeah. 

Erica: It’s insane. 

Alicia: Thoughts turn into energy, right? Yeah. A focused brain versus a most of our brains are meant to mind. Wonder is to think of all the things that could happen. A focused brain gets things done, right? That’s a mind wondering. Brain is stress.

Brain, a focused brain is a productive brain. And so focusing on something, you put your energy right, where energy goes. Or what is it? Where attention 

Matt: goes. Energy flows. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And the body goes, and the body goes too. Yeah. Absolutely. The 

Alicia: hard part is to stay in focus.

Yes. I was just talking to my best friend about that this morning. It’s how do you carry that with you in all the moments? And so I get the question a lot is when I’m speaking is how can I remember? Put a visual cue whether it’s a stress brain on your desk and it makes you question, okay, am I stressing?

Put something, wear something, wear different color, right? There’s some energy practitioners talk about if you wanna feel more connected, wear [00:27:00] purple. So just anything you can do to refocus and remind yourself. That’s why also gentle nudges 

Erica: and reminders are helpful. 

Matt: I was gonna ask you about that with respect to office design.

You probably have your 10,000 hours in designing corporate offices. Oh yeah. What are some of the things that either a, are mistakes that you see across the board or is like low hanging fruit for people who are trying to design their office space, whether that’s a home office or a corporate office?

Alicia: Yeah, the. Easiest thing. The first thing I would tell a company to do is do a wellness room or a quiet room. Give people a space to decompress. You have to be able to allow somebody to take that 5, 10, 15 minutes to just decompress. We are all functioning, there’s so much stimuli and in a workplace, and it can be a small space.

It doesn’t have to be a huge room, but just if you were to start anywhere, I’d say just do that first, but then it’s my favorite space at 16 Tech. Yeah. Yeah, they’re awesome. But there’s, a list of other things to do and to reassess, but what I also tell companies, and I’ve right doing this for so many years is that you have to build the culture.

In the building for your people. [00:28:00] You can’t just design a Google office. And I had a lot of clients when Google became popular, say, I just want, design us, the Google office. And I said, no, your people aren’t Google people. We’re not doing that. Be who you are. Yeah.

And ask and Right. That’s the three Cs that we have in peak mind is comprehension understanding, truly understanding your people, understanding your needs as a culture, and then building in the rest. Pitch us on 

Matt: peak mind. Give us like the high level and then let’s go 


Alicia: Yeah. We’re just empowering employees to thrive, right?

Meeting them where they are. We provide 150 action steps to disrupt stress during the workday because stress is gonna happen. We’re all, we have different moments of stress. Some is healthy, but most of it is chronic stress, which is killing us. The CDC states that 80% of diseases are caused by stress.

Yes. We have to, it’s now one of the five top pillars for the attorney general in the United States. Wow. If you go to his website, workplace stress is on there. So we have to do something about it. And not everyone wants to meditate or do yoga. They’re not there yet. And so how do we meet the rest of the people where they are when they’re not ready?

[00:29:00] We have to do it in small, very minute, gentle nudges until they’re ready to maybe go to a therapist or to do yoga, or to go drum it out, whatever it is. 

Nate: I love it. So we had a little bit of a stressful situation leading into this podcast with our recording equipment, right? So if. Let’s say this podcast was a customer of Peak Mind.

Matt’s stressing out about recording Mike’s. What would the starting point be and what would like actual product adoption look like for a member of A company? 

Alicia: Yeah. So he could go to his phone or his laptop and say, He could either give feedback to the platform, right? If he just wants to vent, if he’s a journaler, if he wants to just say the words right?

Some people need to be heard, and so that’s, we give him an avenue to be heard, and what we’re doing on the backend is using neurolinguistic programming into our algorithm to train us on how he speaks, right? I say that I’m happy a looking person, so I end things with an exclamation marker or a smiley face, right?

That’s my happy day, my normal. If I don’t do that, then it’s showing that, okay, Alicia’s. Not mad if I just end with a period. It’s just not my natural [00:30:00] language processing and my natural speech. And so our technology is helping to understand that so that then it can give him an action step to do based on his needs.

If he said, no, I’m not gonna do yoga, and we can give him another one of the 150 ways to lower his stress based on the workforce environment that we know. So we’re taking data and making the best out of it and trying to meet each person’s needs. And so you’d get different action steps and different resources.

How can 

Toph: do you get into, I find what you just said, really interesting and powerful, the exclamation point in an email versus a period. I literally had somebody once say, why are you yelling at me? Yeah. Because I’ll use exclamation points. Yeah. And not only every sentence, but Sure. And I, it’s from a place of excitement.

Yes. Passion, passion. I want them to know I’m passionate, this thing, but it can be mis, it can be misread or misperceived on the other end. Yes. Do you, does it touch any of those types of things on 

Alicia: how to deal with communication? Yeah, for sure. You have to look at communication style, and so we have a place on another part of our app that gives you the ability to tell people who you are.

[00:31:00] How you like to be communicated to, right? And so it’s open-ended. It’s the only part of our platform where we share your information because we give you, six different options to say, okay, do you wanna talk about your dis personality and what that means to you? Because why are we just saying, okay, you took a discord and you’re a high D.

Now you’re only gonna be a high D there’s a lot of variations with that, I’m a high D, but I’m also very compassionate and understanding, and so it, yes, can I lead a room? Of course. But I can also, I’m mature enough to understand that, and so giving people an opportunity to share that, I can say when I do an ex, ex exclamation mark, that means just, I’m really excited. I 

Nate: love that. It’s like when you’re texting, like you’re texting like your grandma or maybe an older individual and they hit you with the K, you’re like, grandma, like, why are you mad at me? What did I do? 

Erica: Come on, she’s just trying to 

Nate: be hips. Yeah, exactly. Or all the kids saying no, they’re only saying K when they’re upset. Something like, call her up. Is everything okay? Yeah, everything’s great. Classic. Have 

Erica: you had 

Matt: experiences with any of your clients or even teams that you’ve worked with before [00:32:00] where you’ve noticed.

Someone on the team, or maybe even a group of people on the team are struggling, but they’re not necessarily open to mental health support for sure. How do you coach leaders through 

Alicia: those situations? Yeah, for sure. You have to meet people where they are. They’re not ready. There’s nothing you can say or do.

If you look at the theory of change, how our brains evolved through change, there’s actually pre-contemplation. Where before you can’t even contemplate changing because you don’t even know you need to change. And so you’re just talking, beating a dead horse. Literally they’re, it’s in one ear out the other physiologically.

And so understanding that and giving yourself compassion and grace and saying, I’ll talk to them when they’re ready, right? I’ll nudge them when they’re ready. Because that’s all we can do. And so the nudge theory states that I can gently remind you and gently nudge you. Which some people may take one Nu Nudge and others may take 28.

Yeah. And so understanding that and our technology helps replicate that for you because none of us as leaders are gonna remind somebody on our team 28 times to call that eight one eight hundred number for the eap. It’s just not gonna happen. You [00:33:00] may do it once, twice, you’re lucky if you can get around to it the third time.

Matt: What are you most excited about right now for Peak Mind? 

Alicia: Yeah, I’m excited about the national press we’re getting. We in June, we’ve been studying virtual reality therapeutics and virtual reality integrations into workplace wellbeing for nine years. As long as, once I had the idea for peak Mind and the market wasn’t ready.

There were people here in indie trusted advisors and investors that I took it to in 20 17, 20 18. It was in a pitch deck and they said, yeah, we’re not, we’re not ready for it. And so we’ve been listening. And in June of last year, it just, we really saw the indicators, right?

More talk in major news articles about virtual reality in the workplace. Virtual reality therapeutics, Salesforce, and one of our partner calls, they said, wait, you have a virtual reality integration. They were like, every meeting, that should be the lead. We love the platform.

We’re a, a partner with them right now for the platform, but they were like, the VR is. Something we can take internationally and we can sell the platform, through that. And that really started us to talk about [00:34:00] that. And so I’m excited because I’ve understood how powerful virtual reality immersion therapy can be.

Some articles say that it’s seven times more effective. Wow. So if I just tell you to stop stressing and I tell you to go do yoga, right? If I show you yoga and I can put you in into an immersive yoga studio, you are seven times more likely to actually go do it. And to retain the information that I told you.

So is that the 

Nate: type of, like you’re, you throw on a VR headset and you’re in a yoga studio. 

Alicia: We don’t have that one yet. Okay. But that’s, I just thought about that. 

Nate: And I’m gonna, or in Toe’s case, maybe like front row, a rack show, just like getting your stress out. Some head bang in the 

Alicia: quiet room.

We do have music options, we have beaches. We’ve got a rustling fire that you can look at. The fire pit, right? Cause that movement, that color is soothing to some people. Our law enforcement officers have said, put me in front of a stream. Just put me in, by our river. Yeah, just let me watch the water.

I’m like, heck yeah, I’ll do that every day. If that is what gets you as a manly person, to finally take time and go into that meditative state, whether you call it meditation or not, it really is. Yeah. Because you’re focused on [00:35:00] one thing, you’re focused on the water. Absolutely.


Matt: That’s so cool. That’s really neat. For those who whether they have VR or don’t have vr, maybe they don’t have a subscription to peak mind yet. What are kinda your top three tips to start practicing mindfulness or exploring? Mindfulness 

Erica: or 

Alicia: de-stressing. Yeah. Google, right? Or go to YouTube.

There are so many free options. Just start playing around, test them out. It and the first one you pull up may not be for you, but there’s so many different ones. Just start going through the, and. Try it because something is probably gonna stick or talk to other people. Go to a class if you need a community, right?

There’s so many different yoga studios, so many different mindfulness practices that you can do here in town. There’s I think one on the north side, right? That’s like a heated floor and they do mindfulness, guided mindfulness. And I know several people I’m on a board with that go there.

I love 

Nate: that. So 

Toph: What’s What’s a success story? Is there a success story that kind of pops out in your mind? Or maybe a struggle and then a success story with one of your clients? Obviously without naming names, but 

Alicia: Yeah. I think a [00:36:00] struggle would be one of our clients. They knew they needed to really get the platform.

We talked to them for maybe three, four months beforehand, and then they, the reason they picked up the phone and became a client was they had a suicide. Oh. Oh. They knew their people were struggling. They knew they didn’t have a solution to help empower them to thrive. They didn’t realize how bad the incident would be.

But that was the motivating incident for them to pick up the phone. And so to walk through that crisis with companies. And unfortunately they’re not the only ones, right? So that’s the wor, I hate to see that. How are they doing today? They’re the company they actually disband. They were a franchise and they sold because they actually had two more employees going suicide hold. They were in an industry that was very stressful. I won’t list it because. You know it, but it they sold because the owners just couldn’t, and the top leaders couldn’t keep stomaching it and they didn’t know, we can help, but we can’t change overnight.

Cultures take three to five years to change. So it’s, we’re not gonna help everybody overnight. We can start to nudge them in the right direction. So the sooner you start with a product like ours, the better [00:37:00] off your, the better your chances. Especially because we know that so many people are stressed these days.

Yeah. Yeah. 

Nate: So for leaders in the space that might be listening right now, obviously first thing. Go get your company and talks with peak mind and help bring that to the workplace. But is there something that if you want to create a healthier culture, something that leaders can start doing today?

Yes. To help for tomorrow and next week? Yes. 

Alicia: Talk. I say talk. You have to communicate. People are craving your words as a leader. They are craving your passion, whatever it is. Get on and sing a silly song. Do a beatbox, build that relationship with them because they’re craving that in the world.

We, loneliness is an all time high. So be that voice for them. Remind them of what your purpose and passion is as a company to help motivate people, because that’ll at least bring ’em to the table and start to build that connection. 

Matt: We’ve entered the part of the episode that is the rapid fire questions.

Uhoh. Lightning round. Lightning round. 

Nate: All right. All right. Outside of the amazing entrepreneurs, what is Indiana [00:38:00] known for? 

Alicia: Cows. 

Nate: I like it. All right. What is one hidden gem in Indiana? 

Alicia: Ooh, good food. Especially 38th Street. All the 

Erica: international 

Nate: food. Ooh, yeah. International food on 38th Street. I love that.

Okay. Who’s someone that we need to keep on our radar? Someone who’s doing something big. 

Alicia: Dr. Alicia e McKoy. Oh, I love it. That’s 

Erica: the best 

Toph: answer. 

Erica: Let’s go ba 

Toph: A mic drop. Yep. 

Matt: I love it. I love that too. Alicia, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey and talk about such an important topic.

Yes. I’m hopeful that we’re gonna continue to talk about this on future episodes. Have you back on the show, keep doing awesome work with Keep Mind. Awesome. 

Alicia: Thank you so much. Great to chat. Thanks Alicia. 

Erica: Good work. This is 

Matt: awesome. This has been Get IN a Powderkeg Production in partnership with Elevate Ventures, and we wanna hear from you if you have suggestions for our guest or segment.

Reach out to Matt or Nate on LinkedIn [00:39:00] or on email to discover top tier tech companies outside of Silicon Valley in hubs like Indiana. Check out our newsletter@powderkeg.com slash newsletter and to apply for membership to the Powderkeg executive community, check out powderkeg.com/premium. We’ll catch you next time and next week as we continue to help.

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