Our people, and their experience, are unparalleled. We are pioneers at the nexus of world-class teams, technology, and bold human endeavor.
The arenas we come from give us confidence in solving complex problems. Performing artists on global stages. Athletes in All-American venues. Pilots flying combat missions in C-130s and F-18s. Photographers capturing the human narrative in third-world countries. Analysts solving the Intelligence Community’s most pressing problems. Leaders at cutting-edge of performance companies like Nike and Red Bull. Special Operators who have deployed around the globe.
CULTURE, LEADERSHIP & TEAM DEVELOPMENT
Patty had an extraordinary career in the intelligence community. At the core of some of the world’s most complex challenges, she drove high performance through the cultivation of culture rooted in mission, developing amazing leaders, and leveraging the talent and expertise of multi-generational teams. Her passion and expertise is in leadership development and performance at the individual, team, and organizational level.
Jamie grew up on the East Coast, USA, skiing since she could walk. By the time Jamie was 18 years old, she had won Junior World Championships in New Zealand and moved to Utah to become a professional slopestyle and halfpipe skier. In 2015, Jamie had been ranked 1st or 2nd overall in the world for three consecutive years when she crashed at World Tour Finals. Jamie crashed badly and went into a coma, paralyzed on the right side. She lived, recovered with no disabilities and went back to skiing and adventuring the world, bringing a unique, inspiring story with her. Jamie graduated college with a communication degree in May, 2019. She is passionate about combining what she learned from her injury experience with her knowledge of what it takes to be at the top of the competitive circuit. Because Jamie was the first woman in the world to land a double flip in a slopestyle run, and she spent months as a patient in hospitals having to relearn every life skill; she has incompatible proficiency to help better the effectiveness of hospitals and help create more miracle stories like her own.
Gregg has an outsized impact performance at the highest levels of the creative arts, sports and now, medicine. He began his career as a gymnast on the US National Team and used his unique physical skills to enter the early days of Cirque du Soleil. Gregg became fascinated with the magic of production and began building some of the world’s most renowned productions from Cirque in Las Vegas to the Golden State Warriors new stadium ground-breaking.
He became a facilitator for Red Bull High Performance, using his skillset to challenge many of the world’s top action sports athletes to push to higher levels of performance.
Gregg is a leader in human innovation performance and unlocking the creator in each of us. He lives in Ventura, California where he runs The Aerial Studio and is a surfer, husband, and father.
Hoby Darling has spent his career at the intersection of innovation, technology, creativity, and human performance. As a result, he is one of the most unique leaders and business minds who has guided several of the highest performing teams and individuals in both sports and business.
Hoby currently oversees Sports & Human Performance at Logitech. He was previously the CEO of Skullcandy and a Global General Manager at Nike. Early in his career, Hoby served in a senior role at Volcom and worked in a wide range of unique action sport & luxury brands to include Gucci, YSL, and Puma. He began his career as a lawyer at the international law firm of Latham & Watkins. In addition, he serves on the board or in advisory capacities to multiple organizations across endurance sports, physical regeneration, and human performance private equity.
Hoby is a voracious learner and has graduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University in New York, and Northwestern University. He has been featured in leading publications, books and media ranging from the Wall Street Journal, California Business Journal and CNBC to MTV and Thrive around topics including performance, business, sports, culture and innovation.
Hoby is a certified Crossfit Coach and has completed multiple endurance and adventure races ranging from the Ironman to 50 mile trail running races. He and his wife and two daughters reside in Park City, Utah.
Ashton is a former world record holder and 2x Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon from London 2012 and Rio 2016. Born and raised in Oregon, he graduated from the University of Oregon in 2010 with a degree in psychology and started his career as a professional athlete for Nike. He retired from professional sport after the Rio Olympics at 29 years old with the goal of working on sustainable energy, space exploration, and human performance. He is now a product development engineering at Intel working on human performance technologies and pursing a degree in science and engineering.
Nathanael is a financial accounting expert. He began his career at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, an international public accounting and consulting firm, where he performed full financial statement audits and reviews across a broad spectrum of industries including technology, media/entertainment, automotive, and healthcare. Nathanael now uses his financial statement audit background and sound GAAP knowledge at Arena Labs to improve accounting operations and reporting for the organization and provide general financial oversight and cash flow management techniques.
STORYTELLER & PHOTOJOURNALIST
Paula has devoted her life to the art of quietly capturing the human narrative with her camera. She uses her gift of highlighting moments of unique humanity to bring cultures, organizations, and teams to life. Her work in medicine focuses on the caregivers and professionals who are the corps of any medical environment and the impact of their work together.
FOUNDER + CEO
Brian has spent a career in high-performance organizations, learning from leaders and decision makers in national security, the military and technology. His passion is in bridging ancient traditions and rituals of human flourishing with the opportunities of modern technology.
Laurel Hechanova is a design educator and curriculum advisor with a focus on helping organizations level up their teams and practices through simple design thinking methodologies. She brings a diverse career in the art of “design thinking” as a practical tool for creating key insights about teams and performance.
Her work in healthcare centers on the ability to work across teams and elements of hospitals that are traditionally disconnected. Laurel has embedded in hospitals to work with staff on everything from the archetype of an ideal leader who can oversee surgical services in a Level 1 Trauma Hospital to designing a training program for nursing managers.
Beyond High-Performance Medicine, Laurel has led workshops for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Steelcase, the City of Los Angeles, Salesforce Foundation, Audi, McKinsey, Accenture and more
DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE
Jurgen Heitmann is the Director of Performance at Arena Labs, where he works with the world’s top surgical teams and health care institutions to pioneer a new paradigm of healthcare: High Performance Medicine.
Jurgen’s passion has always been in pushing human boundaries, serving in organizations that require an exploration at the edges of human potential and team optimization. Over three decades in Special Operations as a Navy SEAL leader, he built, led, and shaped teams at the highest levels of US national security and diplomacy. He is driven to democratize the best practices of the world’s highest performing teams. In an age of advanced technology, he enjoys working at the intersection of cognition, creativity, and performance.
John has spent the last two decades as a fighter pilot, flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet. His work and deployments have taken him to conflict zones all over the world, accumulating over 3,300 flight hours and over 450 aircraft carrier landings. John also served as an F/A-18 Instructor Pilot and was selected to join the US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, known as the Blue Angels where he performed in over 500 air demonstrations.
John is passionate about teams and building extraordinary cultures. His time as a fighter pilot has refined a toolset that focuses on the performance mindset and precision performance. He played basketball at Notre Dame and finds deep purpose in blending the skills he has learned as an athlete and fighter pilot into medical teams.
Vice Admiral (Ret.) Mike LeFever, USN, has over 45 years of public and private sector leadership in high risk, complex environments and building high performance teams. Mike’s leadership was directly responsible for numerous significant achievements that protected and enhanced the national security of the United States. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Concentric Advisors, a risk management consultancy that specializes in delivering strategic security and intelligence services and as a senior advisor and mentor for leaders in private industry.
A cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Heart + Vascular Institute, ranked highest volume with best quality outcomes, Dr. Johnson performs 4,000+ heart surgeries yearly and actively pursues research interests in minimally invasive aortic valve surgery and interventions, complex valve disease, and transcatheter interventions for valvular heart disease. An avid outdoorsman with early experiences in carpentry, welding, and design, Dr. Johnston’s deep engagement with the pursuit of mastery as a leader of surgical teams tendered early conversations about human performance in medicine that became the genesis of Arena Labs. Dr. Johnston attended Harvard Medical School and went on to Massachusetts General Hospital for his Residency. He serves on the Medical Board of Beyond Limits and brings his experience in big data analytics to work in healthcare.
Erin Cafaro-MacKenzie is an Olympic rower who won gold with the USA Rowing Team in the Beijing and London Summer Olympics. Erin has dedicated her life to doing more than talking about performance. In serving as a Performance Ambassador, she leverages more than a decade of competing in high-pressure, competitive situations. Erin focuses on how success is repeated by improving one’s own strengths and at the same time, cultivating the strength of teammates.
Since retiring from competitive sports, Erin has remained fascinated by the cognitive aspects of human performance and resiliency: how we thrive (or don’t) as life progresses and new challenges are presented. This intrigue has led her to become a graduate student in the field of clinical psychology to learn how to help humans process and adapt to life’s inevitable transitions.
Chief Financial Officer
Chris May is a finance, strategy, and operations professional with a deep understanding of the crossroads between business and government, and a broad spectrum of professional experiences. Chris started his career serving as an analyst at a NYC-based hedge fund where he learned the intricacies of Wall Street, investment management, and the importance of an attractive discounted cash flow model. During the financial crisis of 2009 Chris moved to a global public affairs and business advisory firm, BGR Group, in Washington, DC serving as deputy to the Chief Financial Officer. It was here that Chris was introduced to operating a multi-functional organization with global presence and a broad blue chip clientele. In 2010 Chris was accepted into the prestigious Finance Leadership Development Program at Lockheed Martin Corporation. At Lockheed Martin, Chris served in a variety of roles and projects spanning financial planning & analysis, mergers & acquisitions, business development, government affairs, contracts, investor relations, and corporate accounting. In 2013, Chris was recruited as Chief Financial Officer of a fast growing boutique consulting and advisory firm where he worked hand in hand with the Founder & CEO to create and implement firm-wide strategies, internal controls and best-practices that streamlined the business and ultimately led to substantial growth and profitability. Chris currently leverages all of these experiences to operate Quadrant Advisory.
Director of Content
Passionate about creative mastery and its significance in the sacred space of medicine, Alexa serves as Director of Content at Arena Labs. Trained as a visual artist and facilitator of aesthetic experiences, Alexa got her start in healthcare in collaboration with faculty at Harvard Medical School, co-creating an arts-based course on observation, listening, and diagnosis skills. As a consultant in the medical humanities space partnering with universities and art museums for the better part of two decades, her work has contributed to cultural shifts in approaches to uncertainty in the clinic, as well as to increased access to arts in training programs across the health professions.
Director of Immersive Content
Elliott is a technology entrepreneur with wide ranging experience in virtual and augmented reality. He specializes in capturing the real world and real people by combining volumetric video and photogrammetry, to create immersive holographic experiences. From ancient Egyptian tombs to operating rooms at the Cleveland Clinic his work is at the fore-front of the immersive media revolution. Elliott is driving ArenaXR and using state-of-the-art technology from his base in Hollywood to reimagine the state of modern surgical training.
Director of Performance Technology
Kelsey Navis is the Director of Performance Technology at Arena Labs. As a geneticist and former educator, Kelsey has created solutions that enable individuals to lead healthier, richer lives, including designing award-winning science and engineering programs that facilitate pathways to higher education for hundreds of students each year. Kelsey received an MBA from USC Marshall School of Business, and now advises social impact and human performance start-ups on business strategy and operations, while guiding multiple companies in successfully raising venture funding. Kelsey also oversees Learning & Strategy at Liminal Collective, a leading human performance media, advisory and events company.
Harold O’Neal is a rare pioneer in music. He continues to write and produce globally acclaimed piano scores and jazz ensembles.
Beyond his work as an accomplished musician, Harold studies both martial arts and break dancing. At the intersection of the arts and the physical application of the body, Harold thinks about the unique elements in the mind and physical being that lead to extraordinary creativity and performance.
John Michael Schert is a world-renowned ballet dancer and performance artist who has turned an extraordinary career in dance into serving as an entrepreneur, coach and producer who works across multiple sectors. He is passionate about translating the value of the creative process into other fields. As a Performance Ambassador, John Michael uses that perspective to improve the thinking of modern surgical teams whose communication and movements often parallel that of dance theater.
He began his career as a ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. In 2004 he co-founded Trey McIntyre Project (TMP), concurrently serving as the company’s Executive Director, and a dancer, for nine years. During this time, he gained a unique insight into the process and product of art-making and realized the ability to translate the creative process into other fields and modes of performance. John Michael has served as a Visiting Artist, Coach, or Lecturer across a wide range of world-renowned institutions & companies to include The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the NYU Center for Ballet & the Arts, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
As the founder and principal of JMS & Company, John Michael continues to work with clients around the world. He is the executive producer of Boise’s B Corp certified Treefort Music Fest and is the founder of the American Ballet Theatre Leadership Lab which seeks to translate the skills and creative processes of dance artists into valuable tools for the private and public sectors. John Michael is a recipient of the USA Eisenhower Fellowship and holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Lesli Shooter is a human performance scientist, coach, and certified yoga instructor. She has worked with elite athletes and high performance programs since 2004. Lesli uses scientific principles, real-time data, and practical application from her extensive experience working with Olympic and professional athletes to provide insights and strategies that maximize human performance. Her current focus is advancing athlete recovery methods by adding yoga to ensure regeneration from competition, training, and lifestyle demands. Whether designing testing protocols, training programs, or performance projects, Lesli creatively expresses her knowledge and diverse background to help others access their innate greatness and achieve their highest performance.
CREATIVITY & PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORKS
Dr. Andy Walshe is arguably the leading authority on creative, pioneering frameworks in human performance. For over 20 years the Australian native has focused on the goal of “de-mystifying talent” by researching and training individuals and teams across a vast network of world-class programs in sport, culture, military and business settings.
And was previously is the Director of High Performance for Red Bull, where he worked with hundreds of international athletes and cultural opinion leaders while supervising a team of industry-leading scientists, engineers, physicians and technologists to develop and implement elite performance models.
He was the Performance Manager for Red Bull Stratos, leading the performance plan for Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump to Earth from the stratosphere in 2012.
Prior to joining Red Bull, Andy designed a highly successful performance program for the U.S Olympic Ski and Snowboard teams, guiding Olympic athletes to victories on the world stage.
Dr. Brad Wilkins has spent his career working with athletes at the most elite levels of performance. As a scientist, he explores the physiological limits of human potential and is a leading expert in exercise and sport physiology. His passion lies in understanding and dissecting the barriers to human performance and creating innovative solutions to push the boundaries of the possible. He has held a number of scientific and business leadership positions to include founding Nike+ Sport Performance Laboratory and leading strategy behind Nike’s Breaking2 project.
Melissa Wood is an accounting, finance and data analytics expert who serves as Controller at Arena Labs. Here she uses her over ten years of experience with full cycle accounting and extensive GAAP knowledge to manage financial processes for the organization. The majority of her career has been spent at Private Equity backed technology companies where she became an expert in technical accounting related issues, managed the monthly closing process and annual financial statement audits, created budgets and forecasts, prepared financial statements and participated in the annual tax preparation and valuation process. In addition to her financial skills she is a gifted analyst proficient in business intelligence software such as Tableau, which she has used to make informed decisions and drive organizational change.
The greatest story of the 21st century is not technology, but how technology will transform human possibility. From pioneering minds, time-honored principles and cutting-edge technology, comes the incremental gains that drive extraordinary performance.
By putting powerful, practical frameworks into the hands of teams and organizations who need it most, we create lasting positive impact.
Arena Labs brings a pioneering approach to complex challenges at the individual, team and organizational level. By embedding acclaimed, cross-disciplinary teams into critical situations they unlock truly transformational ideas. From deep observational insight to meticulous optimization of the human machine interface, the work of Arena Labs is paradoxically both evidence-based, and unprecedented within the sacred world of medicine.
Our voice is concise, direct and intentional. Our approach to performance is to first and foremost, understand the human condition. We do this while retaining an unemotional dedication to transparency, data-led insights and an eye toward progress. Although our collective voice draws from a wide range of proven practitioners, we speak and act with the humility of mutual respect for those dedicated to their Arena.