Episode 37
A Special Thanksgiving
with Julie Yoo, Matthew Dicks, Ruth Williams-Brinkley, and Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle

November 25, 2021


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Julie Yoo
Member, Day Zero Advisory Council; General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz; Co-founder, Kyruus

Julie Yoo is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she leads investments in healthcare technology, with a focus on companies that are modernizing how we access, pay for, and experience the healthcare system.

Prior to joining a16z, Julie was the co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Board Director at Kyruus, a venture-backed health-tech company recognized as a market leader in patient access. Julie led product management, engineering, and sales and marketing for the company, and helped scale the business to reach 20M patients and over 225,000 healthcare providers across the U.S.

Julie studied computer science and pre-medicine as an undergrad at MIT and obtained an MS in genomics from Harvard-MIT HST and an MBA from MIT Sloan. Julie is a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum and has been recognized through numerous awards and honors from Becker’s Hospital Review, Health Data Management, MedTech Boston, and Rock Health.


Matthew Dicks
Bestselling Author and Storytelling Coach

Matthew Dicks is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing, Unexpectedly, Milo, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling, Twenty-one Truths About Love, and The Other Mother, and the upcoming Cardboard Knight and Someday Is Today. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was the 2014 Dolly Gray Award winner and was a finalist for the 2017 Nutmeg Award in Connecticut.

He is also the author of the rock opera The Clowns and the musicals Caught in the Middle, Sticks & Stones, and Summertime. He has written comic books for Double Take comics. He is the humor columnist for Seasons magazine and a columnist for Slate magazine. He has also published for Reader’s Digest, The Hartford Courant, Parents magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor.

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists awarded him first prize in opinion/humor writing in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019, and 2020.

When not hunched over a computer screen, Matthew fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a speaking coach, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach, and a Lord of Sealand. He has been teaching for 21 years and is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 50-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 6-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. One of his stories has also appeared on PBS’s Stories From the Stage.

He has also told stories for This American Life, TED, The Colin McEnroe Show, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, and many others. He has performed in such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Wilbur Theater, The Academy of Music in North Hampton, CT, The Bynam Theater of Pittsburgh, The Bell House in NYC, The Lebanon Opera House, The Cutler Majestic, Boston University, Yale University, and Infinity Hall in Hartford, CT.

Matthew is also the co-founder and artistic director of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization that produces shows throughout New England. He teaches storytelling and public speaking to individuals, corporations, universities, religious institutions, and school districts around the world. He has most recently taught at Yale University, The University of Connecticut Law School, Purdue University, The Connecticut Historical Society, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Miss Porter’s School, The Berkshire School, and Graded School in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Matthew also also worked on storytelling and marketing for companies like Johnson & Johnson, Saatchi & Saatchi, MetLife, Pfizer, The Freeman Companies, Rustic Pathways, and many more. He currently works for Slack.

Matthew is the creator, producer, and co-host of Speak Up Storytelling, a podcast that teaches people to tell their best stories.

Matthew is also the creator and co-host of Boy vs. Girl, a podcast about gender and gender stereotypes.

Matthew is married to friend and fellow teacher, Elysha, and they have two children, Clara and Charlie. He grew up in the small town of Blackstone, Massachusetts, where he made a name for himself by dying twice before the age of eighteen and becoming the first student in his high school to be suspended for inciting riot upon himself.


Ruth Williams-Brinkley
President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.

Ruth Williams-Brinkley is president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. In this role, Williams-Brinkley oversees all of Kaiser Permanente’s care delivery and health plan operations in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. The Mid-Atlantic States Region operates 34 medical office buildings and has 782,194 members.

Williams-Brinkley reports to the group president for markets outside California, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals.

Williams-Brinkley joined Kaiser Permanente in November 2017, serving as president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals of the Northwest. She oversaw all of Kaiser Permanente’s care delivery and health plan operations in Oregon and markets in Vancouver and Longview/Kelso, Washington.

Prior to that she served as CEO of KentuckyOne Health, Kentucky’s largest integrated health system. KentuckyOne was a division of CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems.

Prior to her tenure with KentuckyOne, Williams-Brinkley served as president and CEO of Carondelet Health Network in Tucson, Arizona, and as president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Williams-Brinkley has often appeared on Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare and Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, and was named one of Becker’s Most Admired CEOs.

She holds bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees from De Paul University, and an honorary doctoral degree from Spaulding University in Louisville, Kentucky.


Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle
Surgeon General, U.S. Army; Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command

Lieutenant General R. Scott Dingle is the 45th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Deputy Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General (Support), U.S. Army Medical Command.

His previous military assignments include: Commanding General, Regional Health Command – Atlantic; Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, Office of The Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; Commander, 30th Medical Brigade, Germany; Director, Health Care Operations/G-3, Office of The Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; Commander, U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade, Fort Knox, Kentucky; Commander, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Chief, Current Operations, Special Plans Officer, Healthcare Operations Executive Officer, Office of The Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; Chief, Medical Plans and Operations Multinational Corps-Iraq Surgeon’s Office, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Baghdad, Iraq; Chief, Medical Plans and Operations, 18th Airborne Corps Surgeon’s Office, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Executive Officer, 261st Area Support Medical Battalion (44th MEDCOM), Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Ground Combat Planner for Combined Joint Task Force -180, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Baghdad, Iraq; Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans and Exercises, 44th Medical Command and 18th Airborne Corps Plans Officer, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Chief, Division Medical Operations Center, 1st Armored Division, Germany; Instructor, Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Plans Officer, 3rd Infantry Division Medical Operations Center, Germany; Commander, Charlie Company, 3rd Forward Support Battalion, Germany; Commander, Medical Company and Medical Hold Detachment, Fort Eustis, Virginia; Chief of Plans, Operations, Training, and Security, Fort Eustis, Virginia; Adjutant, Fort Eustis, Virginia; Ambulance Platoon leader and Motor Officer, 75th Forward Support Battalion, 194th Separate Armored Brigade; Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Dingle is a Distinguished Military Graduate of Morgan State University. His degrees include Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, Master of Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (two Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (seven Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Commendation Medal (two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Humanitarian Service Medal, the Order of Military Medical Merit, Recruiters Medallion, the Order of Kentucky Colonels, the Army Surgeon General’s prestigious 9A Proficiency Designator, Expert Field Medical Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.


I want to express thanks and gratitude for our care providers, frontline staff, and physicians because they're the ones who kept working to keep us safe, to keep us healthy.


Gary Bisbee, Jr. 0:48
For those of us in the east, the weather is turning colder and the days are shorter. However, for many Americans, our second COVID Thanksgiving is much more hopeful than the first. This year, we have effective vaccines with their boosters, a promising pill and more treatment options for those with COVID. Thankfully, the Delta variant caseloads are trending downwards and we hope that trend continues. At Think Medium, we’re thankful for many things. We’re thankful for the healthcare workers who have provided stellar care during such a stressful time. We’re thankful that the percentage of our fellow Americans having been vaccinated continues to increase. And we’re thankful to you, our audience, for being part of our amazing journey. In this episode, we’ll hear from leaders who have appeared on Think Medium programs about what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. Julie Yoo is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and the co-founder of Kyruus.

Julie Yoo 1:50
So many things, but I have to say that, you know, one of the things I’m most grateful for our vaccines. You know, part of our fun thesis here at Andreessen Horowitz on the bio side is around programmable medicines and kind of computational medicine. And, you know, what better sort of example of how impactful those technologies can be on humanity, then what we saw with the mRNA vaccines and just the speed with which we were able to respond using a fundamentally new type of technology to basically bring society back online after we got slammed by the pandemic. So I would like to send my thank yous to the vaccines.

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 2:26
Matthew Dicks is a storytelling coach, best selling author, and elementary school teacher.

Matthew Dicks 2:32
Given the, I guess, the last 20 months we have just gone through of the pandemic and whatever pandemic we have left to go through, I think what I find myself sort of the happiest and the most grateful about is the level of normalcy that we have managed to achieve so far. So as an elementary school teacher, I have been teaching children in person, in my classroom, throughout all of last year and all of this year, with some quarantining here and there, but everyone has been healthy and safe. And I just, I know in many parts of the country, last year especially, that was not the case. And the fact that my children are in school, and that they have been healthy and safe. And my wife, who is a kindergarten teacher, she is with her students and she got COVID last year from one of our students, but managed to get through that. The fact that I’m at a moment now when I can do the things that I love in a way that is almost normal, and that my family can do the things that they love in a way that is almost normal, I am immensely grateful for normal this year. I am immensely grateful for almost normal. Anything that we can get back to in some semblance of what we used to have, I am enormously grateful for that and I’m hoping that, as we move forward, step by step, we will get closer and closer to what we used to have and, you know, be back in that wonderful place that I think we didn’t recognize was as wonderful. And now we know

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 3:58
Ruth Williams-Brinkley is the regional president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.

Ruth Williams-Brinkley 4:05
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much. First of all, I just want to say that I’m very thankful for my family. I have moved nine times in my career, and my family has been with me through each and every move, maybe not loving each and every move, but they’ve been through it with me. Through those moves, I have just developed many friendships around the country and with people that I stay in touch with all over. And so I’m thankful for my friends, the friends I’ve developed and the friends that I still have to develop. So those are things that give me thanks. Getting back to my family, I have three grandchildren and then these two little granddaughters. These two little granddaughters are in my life every day and they boss me around, and they do what most grandchildren do. They know they have their grandparents wrapped around their fingers. And so, especially the three year old, there’s a three year old and an eight year old, and the three year old just bosses me around, they both do, and I love it. I’m thankful for them especially. And you know, with my friends and my family, they know me well. They know that I’m a hard worker, they know that they sometimes have to tell me to slow down and to take it easy a little bit. So really, I’m thankful for them and all that they do to keep me going every single day, my friends and my family. I am thankful for my health. I have good health, I’m very blessed with good health. And so I’m really thankful for that. The next area I want to express thanks for our care providers, frontline staff, and physicians. I’d like to share that those are people that get my thanks and my gratitude because they’re the ones who kept working to keep us safe, to keep us healthy, to treat those who were ill, either from COVID or from just regular illnesses that we encounter every day. Our team came together and really showed up in a spectacular way. So I am both thankful to them and I have a heart filled with gratitude for all that they do every day. And then I want to express thanks for science, research and technology. Science is probably not an area that most people would think about and say they’re grateful for. However, it is something that, this year, that I think that we must particularly be thankful for. The scientists who have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines to help us get the pandemic under control. They have helped us to change the means of transmission of the virus. And they have worked, and they have worked, and they have worked. So I am quite thankful for our scientists, for those who support our scientists, and those who support everything that healthcare and science have done over this year and, really, over the previous two years to help us to be safe and healthy. In closing, I would just like to give thanks to all those who are in our communities every year, who may get the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holidays with their loved ones for a long time. Our scientists have helped us to do that. Our frontline providers has helped us to do that. And I’m grateful. I have a lot to be thankful for today. So I want to close my comments by saying I am grateful.

Gary Bisbee, Jr. 8:00
Lieutenant General Scott Dingle is the Surgeon General of the United States Army, as well as the Commanding General for the Army Medical Command.

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle 8:09
I’m first and foremost thankful for the gift of life at this time, at this day, and in this age. And the reason that I say first and foremost the gift of life is because so much comes with that gift of life as you open up that present. And so I’m thankful for the gift that allows me to live today healthy, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally state of being in today’s time. And I am also thankful in that gift for my family, my loved ones, my beautiful wife for 33 years, which will be 34 years the day before Thanksgiving. I’m also thankful for my family, you know, that also comes with the gift of life at this time. My children, my four children. In addition to my four children, in the last two years, I’ve added two more with my daughter in laws, my beautiful two daughter in laws. And I’m thankful for my daughter in law, Elliana, who will be having my wife and I’s first grandchild in March of ’22. So I’m thankful for that gift. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live and to lead Army Medicine, to be able to impact the lives of so many people not just through the holidays, but every day, to try to make a difference in somebody’s life, to encourage, to give an opportunity. And I’m able to do that because I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be the Surgeon General, the Commanding General of MedCom. I’m thankful for the many opportunities that I’ve been blessed with to not only lead, but to also transform, and bring change, and to inspire, and to put in positions the next generation of leaders that come up behind me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to mentor the soldiers, the civilians, even the airmen, and the Marines, and contractors who I’m able to come into contact with, being able to encourage because I know that life is not a crystal stair, that sometimes it gets tacks, and splinters, and carpet bears, Langston Hughes said. But the opportunity to encourage folks to keep going through the holidays and, even though that I’m thankful for this holiday, to come up on Thanksgiving and the holiday season, is also a time when many people are depressed. And so I’m thankful for the opportunity to encourage those who are depressed, who are struggling with depression and the loss of loved ones, the opportunity for us, for me, for you, to bring a word of encouragement and to keep them in our prayers, to get through this holiday season. But I’m tremendously blessed and I look forward to this Thanksgiving, every Thanksgiving, the opportunity to just live life and the blessings and the flowers that come with it.

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