For women in public health: Get more done in less time, without hustling, with Marissa McKool

hosted by:

In this episode, Sujani shares a bit about how much she’s invested in herself, followed by a conversation with Marissa about why she built the 5-week course “Not Your Average Productivity Course”.

Enrolment ends August 3, 2023

Thank you to McKool Coaching for sponsoring this episode. Marissa McKool helps women in public health stop overworking and get more REST.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How much Sujani has invested personally in her personal/professional development ($9000!), and why she continues to do so
  • Why Marissa McKool built this course
  • What people get within the course
  • How to get support from your employer for this course

Today’s Guest:

Marissa McKool, MPH, is a former public health leader turned career and life coach who helps public health professionals eliminate their burnout without quitting their job. Marissa received her MPH from Emory University and held several leadership roles in government and academia working on sexual violence prevention and reproductive health, before finding herself burning out. Through coaching, she was able to eliminate her stress without anything outside of her changing and now helps others do the same. She is also the host of the Redefining Rest Podcast for Public Health Professionals, where she helps listeners reduce their workload, create more time, get more rest, and feel better.


Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript

Sujani 0:02
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us Weekly right here. And I’ll be here too, your host, Sujani Siva from PH SPOT.

Hey there, it’s Sujani here with another episode on the PH SPOT podcast, welcome. And today I have a very short conversation with Marissa McKool, and you’ve been hearing me tell you about this productivity course specifically designed for Women in Public Health that Marissa McKool is offering. And we’ve been helping promote here at PH SPOT. And the course enrollment ends August 3rd. So if you’re listening to this episode, as it goes live on Wednesday, August 2nd, you have one more day to enroll in the course. And we wanted to share this small interview or discussion that Marissa and I had around why she built this course. And then we also talk a little bit about you know, what is going to be offered in this course, including the- the one on one coaching that you would get in addition to the on demand videos and other resources and access to Marissa. And I felt that this conversation was important for you to hear, especially if you’re considering enrolling in the course because I wanted all of your questions answered. And I also wanted you to hear from Marissa directly, right, because this would be the coach that you would be working with. And it’s important for you to feel connected with- with that individual. And we do have a previous episode a whole hour or so long, where Marissa and I get into, you know, just redefining rest for public health professionals. And I’ll make sure to include the link to that episode in the show notes page. So if you do want to hear a little bit more about how Marissa kind of approaches these types of questions and her coaching style, that’s also a great place for you to go and get more information. In addition, Marissa also releases regular podcast episodes. So if you’re wanting to go and again, listen to a bit more of how Mercer has been helping other public health professional, that’s a great spot as well. And I know recently, she has released one of her coaching calls, which she hasn’t done before. And that episode is essentially her working through some challenges that another public health professional has had. And you can hear firsthand how Marissa helps us individual. So this course called not your average productivity course get more done in less time without hustling is a five week course for Women in Public Health. The course itself starts on August 7th. But the enrollment for this course ends August 3rd 2023. So if you have been feeling like you’re struggling to stay focused and on task, or feeling behind at work, or you feel constantly interrupted while trying to work, you have little to no help or you’re rarely getting through your to do list. And you really want to reduce your stress, you want to have more time in your schedule for things more than just work. You want to get things done on time or early and you want to achieve your personal goals. This is a good course for you. Right? I want you to go to Marissa’s website at And you’ll find a bit more information there. I also want you to listen to this 10 minute conversation that Marissa and I have had around why she built the course. And if you have the slightest interest in this course, I encourage you to reach out to Marissa. I will include her email address in the show notes as well. Or you can find it on her website and She’s also very active on Instagram and LinkedIn. Those are also two places you can reach out. Just have a conversation with her she will help you decide if this is a good course for you. There is an investment of $500 for the course, which takes you through some self learning material in addition to one on one coaching with Marissa and as I understand the course is just a fraction of what her full time kind of coaching services are. And in addition, if you have any questions, any concerns that you want to bring up and want to chat with me about, feel free to email us at And before I play this conversation with Marissa, I just want to, you know, touch a little bit about investing in yourself. I’ve been reflecting a little bit this week on, you know, how I’ve been approaching personal investments kind of areas, and programs and courses and communities that I’ve personally invested in and kind of just taking an inventory of things that I’ve signed up for, and why I’ve signed up for how much I’ve invested, how much kind of, you know, return on investment, if you will, for lack of a better word, that these investments have been for me. And it was a good activity, because I kind of thought through why I chose to do those programs or join those communities. And I can tell you that when you’re struggling with something, whatever that may be related to your personal, professional kind of life, having people help you through it is so important, right? And so if I think back to the investments I’ve made, and I went back to about three and a half years, I’ve invested just under $9,000 in myself, that includes communities, courses and coaching. And if you’re curious, this is money that, you know, I earned and saved for myself, not funded by an employer. And it’s because it’s very important to me get to get help somewhere from someone, so that they can help me through my personal and professional challenges. And I continue to face these as I am growing in my career, in my life, figuring out the different pieces of my work, my life, my new role, you know, as mom, as a manager, as an entrepreneur, and then also kind of navigating the different goals I have. And so, for me, it’s very important for me to be part of the community have, you know, somebody that’s going to help me through this. And it was interesting, because I kind of put down, you know, when I invested how much and I kind of took that first step in January of 2020. And at that time, it was like a $200 investment into this small community. And then once I kind of went through that membership, the second time I went back and invested was later that year in September 2020. And I invested about 600, just over $600. In this one course, I think similar to Marissa was like a five week course. So we showed up live and worked on a few things.

And then about just over a year later, in December 2021. That year, I spent about $4,000 on myself to join a community. And then this past December 2022, I renewed that $4,000 membership, and I continued to be part of it, because it’s a community that I really feel connected within, I get a lot of coaching through that community. There are other women, women of color and so it after, you know investing time and energy into various different programs, I’ve kind of built that muscle to be able to identify what’s the best fit for me. And, and I’m, I’m happy to say that this is one community that I’ve really connected with, and I continue to invest money into it so that I can learn and grow and connect with people and get the coaching I get in that program. And so I just wanted to share a little bit about that experience and that journey, to give you a bit of you know, insight into what it means to invest in yourself and find programs like these to help you just get over those challenges. So all this to say if you know if you go over to Marissa’s course page and you read through kind of what this course is going to give you and you feel just just a slight inclination that this might be the right thing for you to get you out of that feeling of overwhelm, then I highly, highly, highly recommend that you reach out to Marissa and have a conversation with her and let that conversation be the deciding factor. Okay, so yeah, let me know how that goes. Here’s a conversation with Marissa and I. And again if you want to ask me any questions around this, don’t hesitate to reach out. You have about a day or so to register for the course. And all other information will be shared in the show notes page.

Hey, Marissa. So this course that you’re building, I think it’s incredible. I think it’s something that, you know, we all need as public health professionals, and I wanted my listeners to really hear from you why you even kind of got the idea to build a course like this.

Marissa 10:27
Yeah, thanks so much for having me on. You know, there’s a lot of productivity advice out there a lot of tips and tricks and even tons of courses. But what I have found missing is one, the understanding of the specific challenges in public health and two, the understanding of specific challenges women or people socialize as women face, a lot of the productivity tips or courses are really tactical base. Here’s the new calendaring system. Here’s the new planner, here’s how you should organize. And that all has its place. But what I have found working with so many women in public health, is that the biggest barrier is the overwhelm we feel, is the guilt we feel, once you can address that women in public health are so smart, so resourceful, can figure out what’s the best system and approach for them. But this course really helps women address that overwhelm, that dread, that guilt, that shame, that anxiety. And that’s really what makes this course different. And those are the things that really get in the way of being efficient and effective and confident in reducing our workload and getting our work done.

Sujani 11:38
Yeah. And like, I know that you’ve worked with a number of women in public health, coaching them kind of around rest and burnout. And you also kind of experienced some of those things yourself. So I’m assuming a lot of the things that you kind of teach in this course, are pulled from like real life examples. And I’m wondering if there’s any that come to mind, kind of immediately for you, because I just want kind of my listeners to connect with this course a little bit more, and I want them to be like, Yeah, okay, this is me. And this can help me because I need someone on my side to kind of get over this, right?

Marissa 12:22
Yeah. So I think one common example, and actually I was coaching on this last week is when you look at your to do list, and you’ve immediately feel that overwhelm of how am I going to get this all done? Or you look at your calendar, and it’s just back to back meetings, and you’re thinking, how am I going to get my work done. It doesn’t matter what calendaring, calendaring system someone has told you to use, that doesn’t solve for those challenges and for the overwhelm. And when you feel that overwhelm, what ends up happening is you- you aren’t able to make a decision of where to start, you don’t break things up into smaller chunks, you shut down, you often try to distract by jumping task to task or scrolling social media, you get farther behind, you feel more anxiety. So that’s an example of what we would work on. And in the course, it’s designed where you get on demand videos that address those common experiences. But also, you get one on one coaching with me, which I also think is missing in a lot of productivity courses. Because some people might have specific circumstances, or situations that really would benefit from that individual support, to figure out the best approach to work through the overwhelm or the anxiety and move forward.

Sujani 13:34
Yeah. And like, I think, from you know, speaking with folks in public health coaching is so new to our field. And I feel like I’ve benefited from a little bit of your coaching when we recorded that podcast together like a number of months ago. And I- That’s when I kind of like recognize that, like you said, it doesn’t really matter what kind of like app we use or system we use. Sometimes it’s just reframing thoughts in our mind. And I remember when I was speaking with you, I was still in my maternity leave, waiting to go back to work. And I was kind of like, overwhelmed by this whole idea of, you know, how do I balance the two and I remember, you gave me a phrase. And it was like, I am choosing to spend time with Vera, which is my son’s name. And I wrote that down on a piece of paper. And I can’t remember if you told me to write that on a sticky and kind of like, put it up on my wall. And I had that on my wall. And every time I would feel that overwhelm of, you know, leaving my to do list to go be with Vera, I looked at that sticky note. And I was like, Okay, this is a choice I’m making. And I respect that choice. And I want to make this choice.

Marissa 14:43
Yeah, so that’s such a great example of how powerful the one on one experience can be because that’s such a specific approach and thought for you that might not work for someone else who isn’t a parent or isn’t a mom.

Sujani 14:56

Marissa 14:57
And so that’s why I think this course is so powerful because it combines weekly workbooks and videos that give the framework, that give the theory, that give the practice, but then the individual sessions to dive deeper on each individual experience.

Sujani 15:14
That’s excellent. So I know people probably want to hear us, you know, continuing to talk about this. But if you head over to Marissa’s Instagram, like tons of great videos, where she’s kind of speaking about all a lot of these things, and then of course, there’s this course. And there is kind of like a fee for the course. And it’s 500 USD. And I just wanted to kind of plant an idea in your head, if this is something that you truly feel that you need for- for yourself. And you might be part of an organization that has professional development funds, it is something that you can probably speak to your, you know, manager about accessing some of those funds. I know for some of our PH SPOT courses, the infographics one on one, for example, a lot of our students have been successful in kind of presenting that course, as an option for their professional development funds. And most I know a lot of you’re kind of individuals that you work with have access to similar funds for your coaching services. So maybe you can give a little bit of information on that, for anyone who wants to kind of explore that option. And then maybe any tips as to how they can frame this for their manager.

Marissa 16:31
Yeah, so as you said, the course is 500 US dollars, which is actually only 10% of the cost of my typical coaching program. And I created this course to be that way. So it was more accessible to folks. But I know that for some of you, that still might be a stretch. And I’ve had so many clients whose organization has paid for all are part of coaching. And if you aren’t aware, if you have that ability, or if they would give it to you, I would encourage you to just ask, the worst that could happen is they say no. And if you need to reach out and have me write some sort of letter, or fill out a form or give more information to your leadership, as part of a justification or support, I’m happy to do that. You can email me at That’s I’m more than happy to work with you on getting that support it through your organization and what ever way I can.

Sujani 17:32
Amazing. Thanks so much Marissa. And just as a reminder, this course, you know, the registration for this course closes on August 3rd 2023. And then the course runs for five weeks from August 7 to September 8. So there is that kind of you know, need to make a decision by August 3rd on your- on your end. So, like Marissa said, if you have any questions, absolutely anything, either reach out to me and then I can connect you with Marissa or feel free to reach out to Marissa directly. She’s available on Instagram, by email, and I know she’s on LinkedIn as well. So whatever is the easiest way for you to get in touch with her, please do.

Marissa 18:12
Yes, and you can, if you’re ready to sign up for the course you can head to Again, that’s, and you can sign up there.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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