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Making Shifts

Melissa is an incredible professional and mother, who has crafted a life through making intentional choices. She is a perfect example of how our choices and directions can shift over time in order to build a life that works for us. Enjoy our Q+A with Melissa below, and be sure to check out her feature in this month's issue of En Root!

This month's theme is all about the power of choice. Tell us about how you interpret this theme, and how it has played a role in your personal or professional life.

The power of choice led me to my career, and the choices we make build the path we take in life and the people we become.

At OutGrowth, we believe in designing the space and time to reimagine the path forward. How do you believe choice plays a role in growing into our best selves?

Just considering one day in your life, there are so many choices, both big and small, that you make. Each choice can lead to a different result. For example, on a small scale, choosing to eat a donut for breakfast instead of an egg on whole wheat toast can make you feel tired and lethargic to start out your day. But then if for lunch you decide you want to change how you feel and you eat a salad with some chicken and yummy vegetables, this can result in your being more focused and energetic in the afternoon. Not every choice has to be the "right choice." You can learn from that choice and decide if you want to make it again, or try something different and see how it makes you feel.

Tell us about your most significant professional moment since the start of the pandemic.

Considering that I contemplated quitting my job more times than I'd like to admit at the beginning of this pandemic, the fact that I still have my job is pretty significant, but I think I'd like to focus more on what I was able to accomplish after I found somewhat of a balance between juggling my career and caring for three little kids. I was able to participate and present in a global conference on regulating medical devices. Since 2020, I have presented at this conference three times on various topics to help industry professionals understand how to navigate the regulatory process of medical devices.

How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook from pre-pandemic times.

Learning that I was able to make such a huge impact on the medical device regulatory community from the comfort and safety of my home while also being more present for my family and allowing time for myself, really shifted my thinking on commuting an hour to and from an office five days a week. I don't feel like I'm always on the go anymore, and I am more productive in my career and able to participate in more activities with my family.

What is one competency or skill you hope to develop in 2022?

Virtual communication. I find that where I used to get up and walk down the hall to ask a question, I now have to email that person or make note of that question to ask at our next meeting, which is not very efficient or effective in some cases. My goal is to find a better way to communicate so my questions don't linger for days and that those quick questions don't turn into "water cooler talk."

What inspires you these days?

Since I have recently left the season of life where I had a baby or a pump attached to me and I no longer am losing 2+ hours a day commuting, I feel a new sense of freedom where I can start exploring new things for myself. I have recently decided to learn how to play ice hockey which has opened the door to new friendships!

At OutGrowth, we believe in preparing the next generation of leaders. What is one resource (book, podcast, article, anything!) you'd recommend to those looking to carve out the time for growth in 2022?

That is probably one of the main cons of not having a commute anymore. I now struggle to find time to read and listen to the podcasts I used to enjoy on a daily basis. Some great podcasts are "How I Built This" and "We Can Do Hard Things." The most recent book I have read is Untamed and I loved how this book really made me look at myself, who I am, and the things I may want to change.

What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2022?

In 2022, now that I have been working in a virtual world with my colleagues for over two years, I have taken the initiative to meet up with them in person to fill that void of social interaction. It has really helped balance this new normal.

Melissa Hall is currently a Medical Device Regulatory Expert at the FDA. Her work focuses primarily on interpreting, updating, and developing policy related to medical device submissions. Melissa began her career at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a lead reviewer focused primarily on the review of spinal devices. She then served as the Assistant Director for the Spinal Devices Division within CDRH, providing leadership and serving as an expert in the guidance, regulation, and review of spinal devices. Prior to her current role, she worked as a consumer safety officer in the Division of Industry and Consumer Education (DICE) educating external stakeholders about the various regulatory resources and requirements established by FDA. Before joining the FDA, Ms. Hall worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, reviewing orthopedic devices patents. She received her Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the New Jersey Institution of Technology (NJIT), and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).


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