Meet Dr. Suzie Carmack

PhD, MFA, MEd, ERYT, NBC-HWC

Dr. Suzie Carmack is an award-winning author, speaker, coach, coach trainer, professor and well-being scholar. She has over 28 years of experience moving over 3000 individuals, teams, organizations, and agencies to well-being with her books, workshops, thought leadership and signature YogaMedCo coaching method. As a burnout, compassion fatigue and maladaptive perfectionism researcher and survivor, she is passionate about raising public awareness about -- and developing programming solutions for -- these quiet threats to high achiever mental health, performance, engagement and quality of life. She is based in Northern Virginia (outside of Washington, DC) and lectures and trains teams internationally in-person and virtually as an Assistant Professor of George Mason University and as CEO of YogaMedCo, LLC

Thanks For Stopping By :)

As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University, I train the next generation of leaders and scholars to become more compassionate with themselves and their future teams so that they can become change agents in public health and healthcare.

As an executive well-being coach, thought partner and well-being campaign designer, I bring the latest advancements in well-being science to leaders in high consequence fields (healthcare, military, law and education), so they can co-create cultures of well-being with their teams while simultaneously helping to slow the rapid rise in occupational stress in service-driven fields (i.e. stress contagion, compassion fatigue, burnout, and suicidal ideation).

And as CEO of YogaMedCo, I train the next generation of coaches and yoga teachers to use my signature blend of yoga coaching, teaching and program design techniques, while earning their national board-certification in health and wellness coaching.

I have 28 years of senior leadership experience in multiple roles at community, state, Federal and inter-agency levels, as well as 28 years of concurrent experience teaching in higher education and continuing education contexts as a professor, trainer and trainer of trainers. I am honored to currently work at the global and Federal levels in the fields of health communication, well-being and kinesiology, and to have had a prior career as an accomplished performing artist. What that means for you and your team is that I am ready to work with you as a thought partner from both artistic and scientific points of view.

I am the author of Well-Being Ultimatum (2015), Genius Breaks (2017), and the forthcoming Coaching for Well-Being (2020). Since 2003, I have lectured, coached, published and presented keynotes internationally, and I have engineered and facilitated multiple inter-agency convenings for national issues of concern (such as biomedical innovaiton and social impact financing). 

 

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Awards 

Alumnae of the Year, George Mason University Department of Communication (2018)

Director’s Award MITRE Corporation, Excellence in Thought Leadership (2017)

ROAR Award MITRE Corporation, Excellence in Research Activity (2018; 2017)

Educator Who’s Who in the World (2006 – present)

Difference Award George Mason University Teaching Center of Excellence (2014)

Volunteer of the Year Junior League of Northern Virginia (2014)

Dissertation Grant George Mason University, Provost (2014)

Deans’ Challenge Award George Mason University Department of Communication (2013)

Nominee, Woman of Year Networking Executive Women (2012 and 2013)

Voluntarism in Schools U.S. President (2002)

 

Training:

Higher Education:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Communication, George Mason University, 2014 

Master of Education (MEd) in Health and Kinesiolgy, University of Texas at Tyler, 2009 

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre & Arts Administration, University of Alabama, 1991 

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Arts & Writing, Allegheny College , 1989
Professional Training 

Professional Training & Certifications:

Well-Being Coach & Coach Trainer National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), since 2018

Personal Trainer & Teacher Trainer American Council on Exercise (ACE-CPT), since 2006 

Yoga Teacher & Teacher Trainer Yoga Alliance (ERYT 500), since 2006

Pilates Teacher & Teacher Trainer Pilates Method Alliance (PMA-CPT), since 2006

I am on a personal mission to transform the ways we work today, so that we can all move out of work-life imbalance and into well-being. My advocacy efforts have included the delivery of hundreds of keynotes, experiential workshops, books, interventions, media appearances, convenings and train-the-trainer programs, as well as personal well-being coaching for c-suite leaders, commanders, and other high profile and high performance individuals.

I have seen in my own life and in the lives of the thousands of people I have been honored to coach, lead, teach, train, research and serve, that traditional models of work-life balance no longer work and are in fact accelerating the rise of chronic disease prevalence globally. We need systemic solutions that put less blame and shame onto the individual, and instead invite teams to practice a more compassionate and embodied approach to interpersonal communication. We can also do much more to equip leaders with the data, training, technology and applied well-being science they need to co-create and sustain cultures of well-being. Together these efforts would give individuals the support they need to truly thrive while simultaneously helping to prevent burnout, compassion fatigue, maladaptive perfectionism, stress contagion and suicidal ideation that are unfortunately on a rapid rise in service-driven fields.

I am honored to serve as a "thought partner" to c-suite leaders, commanders and other high profile influencers, as well as U.S. and global government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Department of Defense (DoD); the U.S. Treasury Executive Institute; and the U.S. Parks Service. In 2015, my team and I researched and wrote a series of white papers that inspired the Department of Defense to establish an office of performance in the Pentagon, and to help them to re-think the ways they were, and weren't creating a true culture of well-being (2015). I also was personally invited to create and deliver the first-ever resilience training for senior leaders of the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command in 2018, instructing over 200  two-, three- and four--star general officers and senior chief master sergeants that lead the USAF's global cybersecurity, intelligence, and combat efforts in strategies for bringing the science of well-being coaching to themselves and their teams as a "force multiplier"  (2018).

My work to promote well-being in the workplace began in the early 2000's and includes a collaboration with the Pan American / World Health Organization from 2013 - 2015 -- where we promoted yoga as a sitting disease solution. Today my coaching, research and campaign design efforts continue to position yoga as a sitting disease and stress solution, as well as the basis for interventions seeking to address workplace stress disorders common amongst leaders and teams in high consequence fields: burnout, compassion fatigue, maladaptive perfectionism and stress contagion. I know through both my real- world experience and my doctoral training at a research 1 institution (George Mason University), that it is important that we not only raise public awareness about these issues but that we partner with leaders and their teams to develop campaigns that solve them. I enjoying doing just that - leveraging the power of yoga, mindfulness, coaching, and compassionate communication to create more than "one off" solutions, but to instead co-create cultures of well-being that protect the organization and its people from the threats of ill-being.

 

This is story-telling, not sound-biting, so this will take a moment...or three.

My work in public health began in the early 2000's completely "by accident." I was a yoga teacher and trusted personal advisor to senior c-suite executives, military commanders and other high profile individuals in the Washington, DC area, and I noticed that they were all struggling with ways to bring what they were learning with me on the yoga mat into their daily lives (between sessions). I started choreographing mindfulness and mindful movement solutions (routines) for them, so that they could practice between our sessions at their desk. Soon these leaders were not only practicing the techniques I taught them, they were inviting me to share them with their team. I found myself giving yoga workshops at community and national levels -- at a time when there was great stigma around the notion of bringing fitness or wellness into the office (i.e. before stability balls were at desks and before wearables that count our daily steps were conceptualized let alone invented). 

Over time, I received many letters of thanks from people who were practicing my techniques (now called Genius Breaks). I heard amazing stories of decreased back pain, enhanced creativity and capacity for problem-solving, improved range of motion, and best of all - decreases in that "feeling of always being overwhelmed by work and life demands." And it was all due to a few mini-breaks a day to practice yoga!

After 13 years of sharing these techniques with my clients and yoga teacher trainees, I got a call one day that changed my life and also took this message to the global level. It was literally the Pan American / World Health Organization asking me to work with them to create a campaign for their own team, and for the world, to help them to bring awareness of sitting disease out into the open. We would end up working together for three years to: (1) fight sitting disease (2013); (2) promote mindfulness in the workplace (2014); and (3) reduce stigma around walking meetings (2015).  

While working with PAHO/WHO, I was also earning my PhD in health communication, so that I could learn more about the "science of getting the word out" to promote yoga-based solutions, and to research sitting disease as a public health issue of concern. (The idea that "sitting is the new smoking" had not yet been accepted, and the notion that moving through the day and "getting your steps in" was still a very new idea. And, the idea that yoga could be brought out of the studio and into the office was thought to be downright absurd).

Still, I persisted, and leveraged what I learned during my doctoral studies from 2011 - 2014 to promote the idea that yoga was indeed a viable solution for both stress and sitting disease in the workplace. I researched and used the power of communication as a public health promotion and social marketing tool at all levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal, interorganizational, and intercultural, and evolved my natural and innate ability to create, design, develop and deliver well-being programs to also include an ability to use evidence-based methodologies to inspire and evaluate them too.

Today I continue my fight to help people to "stress less and move more" during their work and school day with the promotion of mindfulness, compassion, and yoga techniques. I also now train the next generation of coaches to continue this legacy in their communities and globally through my company YogaMedCo. And, I have expanded my focus on sitting disease to other occupational stresses: burnout, compassion fatigue, maladaptive perfectionism and suicidal ideation. I use yoga, mindfulness, mindful movement and compassionate engagement as the basis of interventions meant to address, and prevent these public health and organizational engagement concerns as well.

I will continue to do all that I can to bring more joy and movement into the workplace -- and to equip leaders with the insights they need to thrive so their teams can too.

 

I live with my fiancee Bob Shircliff and  daughter Sophia in Fairfax, VA, near Washington, DC. My sons Christopher and Brandon are both graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University and live in Richmond, VA. 

How Can I Help You to Get More Strategic About Your Well-Being?

I invite you to schedule a free 30-minute video call with me so we can discuss ways that I can potentially help you and your team to get more strategic about your well-being. Just click on the link below to access my online scheduler and choose a time that works best for you. I look forward to chatting soon!

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