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Linda Mansolillo on Preparing Children for Natural Disasters



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In this episode of Heroic Investing, Gary Pinkerton hosts Linda Mansolillo, CEO and co-founder of LadyBugOut. They center the conversation about preparing children for natural disasters. Linda’s background as a medical officer in the military, combined with her expertise as a biotech strategist allows her to give sound advice. She leads a team of experts in disaster planning, emergency preparation, children’s psychology, and education to create the necessary resources for parents to guide their families through disaster planning holistically.

Gary Pinkerton 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom. Welcome to the heroic investing show podcast for first responders, members, the military, veterans and anyone looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We have current and private First Responders put protections systems and a team in place to help them build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product that they’re uniquely gifted to share with others, making the world a better place for all of us. My name is Gary Pinkerton and I co host this show with Jason Hartman. This is Episode 209. Today’s guest is major Linda Mansell. Hello. Linda is a 24 year military veteran from the US Air Force or in the US Air Force. She spent five years on active duty as she will explain and has been in the reserves ever since in the medical field. She’s also a mom and lives with her husband and family out in Los Angeles. She’s turned her training and expertise into a company helping families nationwide. She’s the founder of Lady Bug Out You can find out more Lady Bug Out calm. It’s a company helping families Prepare for natural disasters focused on the children. It’s awesome. Ladybug consists of a team of experts who are mothers and like Linda trained in disaster planning for the military. Linda’s dual career as a medical officer in the Air Force reserves and her civilian job as a biotech strategists have collided and founding this amazing company called Ladybug out. I think you’re really gonna enjoy this conversation with Linda. She’s super inspiring. She’s resilient. Please help me in welcoming major Linda Mansell. Well, hello investors. Thank you so much for joining us again. Today we have a special guest. This is major Linda Mansa, Lilo and Linda is a 24 year military veteran of the US Air Force. I’m gonna let her tell you what she does. She’s also a mom. She’s a business owner. pretty inspiring lady, and I don’t want to ruin it for Linda. I’m gonna let her tell you and first and foremost, Linda, thank you so much for joining In our audience.

Linda Mansolillo 3:02
Oh, thanks for having me What an exciting group to get this detail. It’s truly an honor.

Gary Pinkerton 3:06
So this is probably one of a handful of times where I started and we were on a nice roll. And then I said, Hey, Linda, I’ve messed it up, we need to start over. So she’s also very patient lady. Linda, I would love if you would share with the audience, how you ended up in the air force and what you did there. And we’ll just keep going into what happened after Air Force or in parallel with Air Force.

Linda Mansolillo 3:29
You got it. So I like maybe some of the listeners on the video today joined the military right out of high school. I definitely was struggling with what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I had a sense of wanderlust and joined a team and was really lucky right out of the gates to land a job in the clinical laboratory for a space. I was always fascinated and always had my eyes on going to medical school. And if you would have asked 18 year old Linda what she’d be doing now I would tell you, it would be Dr. Wen Boy, that is definitely not the path that I went on. And that’s all thankful. You know, I’m thankful to many mentors who’ve influenced me. So I spent five years on active duty and absolutely loved my time, but made a decision really based on you know, the need to finish school and, and have some stability and not lose so much to get out of active duty service and go into the reserves. This is a great opportunity, I got to stretch my skill set a little bit and I became a first responder myself, which I greatly enjoyed, and is instrumental to where I am today, and spent several years just kind of doing what most people do after the military, going to school, getting a job trying to figure out what those next steps are. And then I took a commission and the California guard in about about the 10 year mark. And another pivot occurred in my career because I became really involved in the disaster response plan work that the state of California does. Together with the army and other services, and I had a real passion for it, I love seeing kind of the pull of government come together to help the citizens, which also sort of played a role in my life. And today I am a lab officer in the Air Force Reserve, and I work for the air war college out of Maxwell Air Force Base, and also a disaster response instructor and headed to Peru in a few days.

Gary Pinkerton 5:27
Wow. What in Peru?

Linda Mansolillo 5:30
I’ll be in Lima, Peru and it is a course disaster response course for the Peruvian population. So it’ll be a good mix of military civilians and people within within the country working on disaster response so I’m really lucky to be part of that cadre and get to go teach.

Gary Pinkerton 5:48
That’s awesome. I I had the pleasure of stopping in Lima, Peru with my submarine actually, as I was executive officer, so my boss, they awesome Frank catani brought our submarine there and Man, they are such a welcoming, welcoming place such a welcoming people. It’s a pretty awesome place. You may have been there, but if you haven’t, it’s gonna be a great pleasure.

Linda Mansolillo 6:10
But not very long. It was a one day business trip and I am so excited to get to spend some time and then tack on a couple extra days to go see Machu Picchu because when am I going to get back there?

Gary Pinkerton 6:20
Yeah, absolutely anything in land is just gorgeous. There. So what about So you went into the reserves, obviously five years in and then you went you know, and got as you said, finished up school, got a family go in there along the way at some point and and you started your own business. So talk a little about that.

Linda Mansolillo 6:44
Yeah, so for all your parents out there, you know, you think about the perfect time to do something and you have a child usually you would say that’s not the perfect time. I had the opposite experience. I found that after my daughter was born, you know, finding meaningful work that I was passionate about was really important to me. Because in explaining to my daughter why I work, I wanted it to be genuine. I wanted her to see that Mommy loves her work, and Mommy loves her. And those are both really good things. So I, you know, was teaching disaster response. And frequently we talk about communities that are vulnerable in disasters. And at the top of the list is children. And my own daughter was pretty little when I was teaching, she’s about four months old. And I remember saying those words and kind of chuckling and thinking now she’s okay, we carry around, she finds. And then about a few months later, I’m saying those same words, and she’s mobile, and she’s running around like a wild little girl that she is, but she can’t really communicate or tell anyone, you know, her parents names or even her own name in a way people might understand. And so the company that was recently launched is really around that is around creating dialogue. Again, really a family resiliency capabilities centered around the child To say, you know what, these kids are vulnerable. And we as a community, starting here in our own family can help reduce that vulnerability by exposing them an age appropriate language, in human interaction, things that they can do in everyday life that might be useful. If you know we do have a natural disaster.

Gary Pinkerton 8:18
Wow, that’s amazing. So if I, if I made sure I understood that. So you have a company that enables families to have kind of the education and the tools to discuss with their young children how to deal with natural disasters.

Linda Mansolillo 8:37
Absolutely. So the company’s name is Lady Bug Out. So I was military folk, we all know the word bug out. And the company is a bunch of female majority veterans. Which is really cool, right? So not only did I get to start a company, but I got to involve other military women who wanted to do something more than their regular jobs, and were looking for a cool way that they could give back You know, flex their, you know, muscles and their brains. So it’s really been a great, great opportunity. And so Lady bugout really started with bug out bags for kids. And I know that sounds interesting. But when I was looking at the market, there was no bug out back. For Kids. Everything that I found was just a little, you know, adult version of adult things and a smaller bag. Well, if any of you are listening that are parents, those guys are scary. There’s a reason people throw them in the closet and ignore them until they really need them. Right. So this bag was designed completely. with children in mind. We have psychologists and physicians and nutritionists, and educators. And we spent almost 18 months to two years, really understanding the psychology and physiological differences, as first responders all know, between children’s and adults, and then putting tools in the bag that really are a place for conversation to get started.

Gary Pinkerton 9:58
Yeah, these bags are really cool. I remember looking at them before. Before we, I guess was probably last week when I was taking a look really cute for kids. You know, I can only imagine that it will cause a great conversation with all this stuff inside. I’m having trouble seeing, you know, I remember wondering what some of it was, but it looks like crayons are very colorful things where kids can just have a conversation about what the crazy stuff is going on in their world.

Linda Mansolillo 10:23
Yeah, it’s actually the bag is in four sections. So and you think about what would be in an adult bug out bag, they’re categorically kind of similar right so there is a first aid medical section that is filled with age appropriate items so that kids can help with you know, putting band aids on and wearing a medical ID bracelet. There’s also a military style Corvette. We have a video series on all the ways parents can use Corvettes, if needed. The nutrition section is really cool because it’s been packed for 24 hours of nutrition for kids. Find nutritionists but the food is awesome. Like if something happens in California, I’m going to My daughter’s back long before holidays. There’s another section on safety and security. And so that’s all about signaling for health and lights. I mean, having total darkness for children is something very scary. So having things in the bag that can produce light, for example, allow you to have a conversation about electricity. And that’s not a scary conversation. And then the last section is really custom where you can put in things like that are creating familiarity or comfort to the test. But those could be things like fans, it could be loving us, it could be, you know, a letter from the parents, but we really, you know, the parents are the experts on their children. But we’re the experts on involving children and natural disasters. So we think combined with the two of us together, we can really help our kids really feel empowered. That’s awesome.

Gary Pinkerton 11:48
And then they’re very inviting little bags too. So go go check them out at Ladybug. out.com. They’re pretty awesome. Where do you have people do people find them right on your site. order them right on your site? Or do they, you know, go through you distribute through Amazon or something like that, or how does that work?

Linda Mansolillo 12:06
Yes, no, we are a small company. So we do it ourselves, which is great. You order like from our site, and we would, you know, love to hear from folks on on their thoughts. And we also provide on our website, and other great content on the Learn section. And this is all free content. Our team of advisors is always interacting with, you know, federal agency news, as well as you know, state and local officials. And we want to share that knowledge broadly. So if some of our listeners, you know, have an expertise in this space and are interested in sharing tips, you know, we’d be happy to help share and broadcast that messaging like we just, we want to help as many people as we can, and we just, we’re excited to do it.

Gary Pinkerton 12:47
That’s awesome. So you know, clearly getting a company up and running even one that’s that is such a passion of yours and I certainly recommend that all the listeners out there, choose something if you’re going to start a company is not that that much. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows are a hate. I think I got that backwards. But it’s not all that much. You know, always fun. It’s a lot of hard work no matter what it is, even if it is a passion, but it’s got to be a passion to stick with it. You know, what are some of your lessons learned as you got this up and running, you know, that you would like to share with others thinking about starting their own business?

Linda Mansolillo 13:20
Sure. I mean, I think the first thing that a lot of military people or first responders can appreciate is starting with a good plan. You know, I had this idea several years ago, and we could have run right out the gate with with an idea, but really stopping and hitting the pause button and surrounding yourself with others is key. It’s a lot of work, and I knew that I needed a lot of help and tapping into your amazing, you know, resources that you already have, is a great place to start. Picking the right partner or co founder I think is really key as well. I always joke you know, as a strategist, a strategy of one Really just a glorified tactic, right? So having a great sounding board and someone else who believes in the product, or the project or whatever it is you’re creating is really also important. And I think, you know, in the military, we talk a lot about sacrifice and service. And that is all true when you have a startup. I mean, my husband and I have had a lot of serious Converse stations about, you know, the cost, not just the financial cost and the risk we’re taking as a family to start the company. But what does that mean to our weekends? You know, what does that mean to the Knights You know, when I’m working late? So be prepared for all of that as much as you can. This a Windows surprises come because they will come. At least you know, you’ve got a support system in place that rooting you on because you’ve involved in from the very beginning.

Gary Pinkerton 14:47
And did you say that this is a less than a year old,

Linda Mansolillo 14:51
is less than a year old. It is a baby company. It’s the thought of it has been several years that we’ve only been to market about six months now. And that just because we really wanted to get it right, and we really wanted to instantly be involved. We had a packing party for our first set of bags. There were children and dogs and husbands and spouses. And I mean, it was a really fun to come together. And we’re really enjoying, you know, learning and listening from our customers, what it is it’s resonating with them and more importantly, what’s causing a behavior change in their children and how confident these kids are when they can show off their knowledge and skills.

Gary Pinkerton 15:30
Wow. So how many people are working in the company or working with you or even the part timers?

Linda Mansolillo 15:36
Yeah, less than five. Okay. Yeah. And those are the official right. But then again, back to my unofficial This is a true true startup, right.

Gary Pinkerton 15:47
Daughter talking.

Linda Mansolillo 15:50
There are lots of other people we pull in as needed. We have a lot of contract work, you know, are helping us on special projects. We’re not trying to do it all ourselves and there are people with expertise we need But the kind of day to day operations is really, you know, the small, small, nimble little team. Got it.

Gary Pinkerton 16:08
And so do you in your reserve capacity here? And I haven’t asked about your husband’s career, but are you all moving around much now? Or maybe this is a company that has to move around with you and be be somewhat virtual and set up where you go? Or are you pretty stable?

Linda Mansolillo 16:23
Yeah, um, so this, you know, we are based in Los Angeles, my husband’s career hasn’t has in Los Angeles. So we’re pretty grounded here. I mean, there are elements of the company that I can do from anywhere, you know, this is a great example, writing content and blogs and, you know, talking to some of the experts in the field, I can do that all on the go. But there are elements of it. And that was a big thing that my partner I also had to talk about, what kind of company do you want to be and we have a physical products right? physical product is demanding if you’re going to have a physical product, you’re going to be putting into sweat equity with that product. And that’s a great point to bring up, you know, considering what it is you want to build. And then considering what do you want your lifestyle to look like after I’ve been doing this because this physical product allows me to go meet people in my community. And, you know, yesterday I was at a local school and I’ve been at people’s homes. And to me that’s so important in these early days to really hear what’s, you know, what our folks are thinking, but it’s a great point.

Gary Pinkerton 17:28
Well, and and I didn’t mean to, to accentuate the point that much, but you added to it. And this is a point that we haven’t really talked about on this show very much at all. But I love the idea, that concept that not only do you have to think about, you know, what your, what your product is or what your service is going to be. That’s obviously that passion. That’s certainly important. But whether you pick physical product or virtual, or more like a service type business, you know, like a coaching coaching business or something, Speaker business, you know, it’s totally going to drive what your day looks like, right? So you You also have to envision what your future is going to look like. And that’s the point really, that you just made. That you know, if you have a physical product, you there’s a place you’re going to go to work every day. And that brings its challenges because it does somewhat ground you to one place which could be good or bad. But if you’re a service business that brings its own challenges as well, for example, I do mine out of a recording studio in my house, which used to be another room in our house, a sitting room. And that brings a lot of challenges to especially when you’re just transitioning from you know, your W two service position, whether it’s first responder or military, you know your time at home in that old position. Your time at home was family time you were off the clock, but if you move your office to home, it’s real challenging to you know, I would I would probably tell people don’t start off the way I did with with your personal business, your service business at home from the very beginning, because you will be lost. I remember, I went outside to get something one time in the middle of preparing for some meeting. Next thing I know I’m mowing the lawn, I have no idea how I got there. But it was definitely not on the calendar for that day. And so being able to segment your day is much harder when you’re doing it from home. And that really doesn’t come up if you have a product business. So that’s a really good point that I’ve never dug into before, I don’t think is that the type of business that you start is going to drive what your day looks like, and maybe what the challenges are.

Linda Mansolillo 19:26
Have salutely Although I will say yes, we have a physical product, but there have been many times my living room has been now walkable. And I will say if there’s any, you know, female entrepreneurs out there that basically had its upsides having my daughter watch and be part of this has been so cool. Like she is so into it, and she loves being this little helper. So anyway, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of things to think about when you run your own business for sure.

Gary Pinkerton 19:54
I saw this, you know, and she sees mom as this, you know, very responsive dependable, successful person, strong person, right? I saw this. I was I was out with my son in the Midwest this past weekend. And I saw somewhere I came across this sign. And was this this, you know, really nice looking young soccer player, young girl, and it said, strong is the new credit or something like something to that effect. I probably messed that up. But I was like, Man, what a great message to start getting out there. And that’s the kind of message you’re giving your daughter. Right. You know, you know, you know, it’s not about being Kardashians. It’s about being strong power. Well, I wouldn’t say powerful, but you know, dependable, ethical, you know, dependent, you know, just a great person.

Linda Mansolillo 20:39
Ah, yeah, it’s really, I just love that she sees me doing something I love and she’s turned into this little disaster guru. And I know that this company was created to solve a problem that our family was facing. And you know, it’s super fun to watch that translated the other families so it’s just, it’s it’s all really cool no matter how it all plays out. Such an honor to be surrounded by such amazing support and give something that I really believe in.

Gary Pinkerton 21:06
Awesome. Well, Linda, we’re coming to the end here. I promised you I’d hold it a little shorter. In audience I no doubt you guys got some value out of this. We talked a little bit about your website and how people find you what the company is all about. I know it’s gonna resonate, what am I not asked? or What else should we tell the audience?

Linda Mansolillo 21:25
I just think I think if I had one point is that many of us have this concept that we have a job or we get exposed to something. And that’s sort of who, what defines us. And, you know, really, I think all the pivots in life that are frightening in the beginning, are amazing new skills that you’re just adding to your repertoire. So if you have something in mind that you think you want to do if you think you want to run a business in the future, and you know what that idea is, and you know, that maybe you’re you’re you’re lacking on the marketing or you’re lacking on the business side, you know, you can either go get that skill set yourself Or if you get lucky you can find an amazing partner to do it with you. So just kind of recognizing that like a mannequin, you know, everything we learned, may one day come back in a really powerful way to help you start something cool yourself.

Gary Pinkerton 22:13
Wow, fantastic. Thank you Linda for that advice and for the you know, the minutes that you spent with us here today, I know you’re busy lady and a busy mom. Good luck in the remainder of the airforce career wherever it takes you invite me to that, that that general officer commissioning if that happens soon.

Linda Mansolillo 22:30
Thank you so much for having me today.

Gary Pinkerton 22:32
Of course, take care.

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