Female Disruptors: Brandi Kurtyka of MissionCare Collective On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
7 min readMar 27, 2023

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Care desperately needs to be disrupted. People that need care can’t get care. Caregivers who provide the care — angels, all of them — are often living paycheck to paycheck on public assistance. Care is a calling and we’re working towards turning it into a meaningful pathway that is professionalized in a way where everyone is visible and can see a future to meet the needs of America’s rapidly aging population.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, we had the pleasure of interviewing Brandi Kurtyka — Co-Founder & CEO, MissionCare Collective

Brandi Kurtyka is a nationally recognized speaker on the care industry and the direct care workforce. As CEO and Co-Founder of MissionCare Collective, the parent company of myCNAjobs and CoachUp Care, Brandi’s team manages the largest caregiver community in the nation and connects 3M people to work annually while serving 8K healthcare providers. Brandi actively speaks on the latest research, insights, and data impacting the care workforce bringing people and stories together to drive change to help move care from where it is to where it needs to be.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I grew up in a poor, working class family in a small town in Michigan. I learned a lot about life by watching my father: He was the hardest working guy at a local factory, but he could never move much beyond minimum wage. Some of my earliest memories are watching my parents hustle to make ends meet. I remember promising to myself that I wanted something different.

I started working before I could drive and focused on learning from everyone around me who seemed to be successful. I received a scholarship and managed to save enough to attend a local community college and later Western Michigan University. I worked during the day and attended school in the evening which I found to be filled with experienced professionals who I could learn more from. After graduating from college, I realized that to in order to go bigger, I needed to think bigger, and I moved from my small town to Chicago.

This is when I discovered the big city world of opportunity and glass ceilings. I encountered countless disappointing experiences forcing my way into the Chicago business world: I’ve been kicked out of executive clubs because I wasn’t wearing a skirt, I’ve been subject to sitting in an all-male board meeting discussing how women should stay home while 8 months pregnant, I’ve listened to numerous people tell me that it’s impossible to be both a mom and executive. However, these adversities only reinvigorated my drive to work harder.

I worked up the corporate ladder from intern to assistant, and eventually all the way to my first president role. I always had a heart for the underdog, so when a side “passion project,” MissonCare Collective– a platform for caregivers — started to take off, I really leaned in to see where it could go. Despite our never intending to create the largest network of caregivers in the nation or attempt to change the culture of care, we did precisely that! Sometimes in life your calling ends up calling you.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing with MissionCare Collective that’s disruptive?

MissionCare Collective brings people together to change the culture of care. We elevate and support caregivers so older adults and people with disabilities get access to quality care to achieve their best health. Here’s the reality:85% of home care agencies are turning away people that need care because they don’t have the people to staff it, nursing homes are turning away patients, there are too few healthcare workers, not enough people entering the profession, and due to the low wages of entry-level healthcare workers, people can often earn higher wages in outside professions. Fifty-three percent of care workers on some form of public assistance, often females of color, and reside in underserved communities.

Through our work at MissionCare Collective, we bring innovation, partners, and the workforce together. We connect over 3M+ caregivers to resources annually via our myCNAjobs community, work to expand and professionalize the care workforce, amplify the voice of care workers to advocate for positive change, and we design products to help providers recruit, engage, and retain their workforce. We’re currently helping providers reduce turnover by 400%+ with one of our brands, CoachUp Care. This is incredibly disruptive as a reduction in turnover directly impacts the ability to deliver more care and better care, leading to improved healthcare outcomes.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

This is a great question — I’m very passionate about surrounding myself with people in every walk of life that can teach you something. My current mentors include venture capitalists (who reluctantly gave me my first big opportunity), a CEO of a large non-profit that’s my everyday rock, watching my pastor bring the word each Sunday, and caregivers. One of my favorite mentors was a cantankerous 80-year-old man, Neil, with a knack for helping people land great opportunities (one of his memorable quotes: “I’ve been hired for every job I’ve applied for and fired from all of them!”). His advice on how to completely flip the traditional model of job searching inspired me to test unorthodox approaches in other aspects of my life while helping me arrive on the path I’m on today. Although Neil passed away several years ago, I still rely on the wisdom he imparted daily. And last but not least, my husband Nathan Kurtyka. He’s my biggest supporter and although often working behind-the-scenes as our CTO, he inspires all of us to want to change the world.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Care desperately needs to be disrupted. People that need care can’t get care. Caregivers who provide the care — angels, all of them — are often living paycheck to paycheck on public assistance. Care is a calling and we’re working towards turning it into a meaningful pathway that is professionalized in a way where everyone is visible and can see a future to meet the needs of America’s rapidly aging population.

Not everything needs to be disrupted but care certainly does.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

Stay focused, growth is hard, and hire people that can do a job better than you can.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

This may not be a popular answer, but women facing discrimination can internalize it to such a degree that it becomes self-fulfilling. Throughout my life the glass ceiling has forced me to do everything “the hard way” and I’m better for it. I have two daughters and my expectations for them are a lot higher than my boys!

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

The Bible and Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Currently, many people in the care industry lose: Seniors who are bankrupted by the cost of care, care providers who have no financial margin to operate, and caregivers who live below the poverty line. We need more people, partners, and policy makers to join the collective movement to change the culture of care.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To females, you can have your cake and eat too. There’s nothing stopping you from being a mom and a boss lady if that’s what you want. Work hard, prioritize, and focus.

How can our readers follow you online?

LinkedIn and Twitter

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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