Jessica Casebolt is Third Horizon Strategies’ first employee. Jessica previously worked with David Smith, Third Horizon Strategies founder and CEO, at Leavitt Partners and was hired as his executive assistant shortly after he started the firm. Since that time, she has transitioned into a dual operations/analyst role – supporting numerous finance, communications, project management, and research functions. Jessica earned her bachelor’s in public health from Brigham Young University and still resides in Utah with her two dogs, Juniper and Lars. She is an outdoor enthusiast and loves skiing, backpacking, camping, and hiking.
Both at Leavitt Partners and Third Horizon Strategies, Jessica was initially hired as an assistant but quickly took on additional responsibilities to support the operations and consulting services of both firms. While many professionals may shun having two different roles, Jessica has welcomed the opportunity to see both sides of the firm and provide support so others can do their best work. “I like doing operations because it is like having a front row seat to observe how the firm operates and how all the various projects connect,” Jessica said. “And, I like being able to participate in client projects because it brings me back to my public health roots and I am able to learn from people who I really admire.”
Jessica’s favorite part about working at Third Horizon Strategies is working with people who are so passionate about what they are doing and organizations that are mission driven. “There are so many different ways and that people are trying to make people’s lives better – whether they are focused on the country, communities, or health system,” Jessica said. “Seeing them come together is very inspiring.” While she agrees that access to health services is one of the system’s greatest challenges, she believes improving accessibility in terms of health literacy is just as important to help consumers navigate a “really complex and difficult” system.
Health Promotion, Prevention, and Policy
Jessica pursued a degree in public health because she believes health promotion and prevention are important tools to address disease and illness before they are contracted. As part of her bachelor’s program, she interned with the Huntsman Cancer Institute and was responsible for coordinating health screenings at corporate health fairs, presenting to high school students about cancer prevention, and conducting prevention and cessation classes. One of her most memorable internship experiences was facilitating a six-week smoking cessation class for a larger corporation in Salt Lake City. “I recognized that most of the students weren’t able to quit smoking in a six-week class, but that it was still part of their journey,” Jessica said. “I feel like I was able to do something to be part of that.”
Jessica said that her internship was also a good reminder that sometimes health promotion and prevention efforts aren’t enough to change behavior – you need policy and environmental changes. “You can run campaigns and place billboard advertisements encouraging people to be active and have healthy habits, but if people don’t have a place to exercise, none of those things will have an impact,” Jessica said. “What will instigate behavior change is building a park with a walking path.”
In Jessica’s analyst role at Third Horizon Strategies, she has had an opportunity to further examine how prevention and policy go hand-in-hand. She recalled interviewing an executive and learning about how many insurance companies don’t want to cover larger genetic testing panels because they feel that they are unnecessary (and they only want to pay for services that are necessary). But then when an infant is born with a genetic condition, it ends up costing the entire system – including the family – so much more money. She has also enjoyed seeing how community health centers are trying to adopt federal and state programs so that they meet the needs of the individuals in their communities and figuring out how different interventions can help people to be more healthy.
The Great Outdoors and Family
Jessica has always loved the outdoors and thinks that everyone should go backpacking at least once in their lifetime. She frequently takes Lars, her chocolate lab, and Juniper, her golden retriever, hiking and camping with her. She has done 23 backpacking trips and earlier this month, she hiked Half Dome in California. If she wasn’t working at Third Horizon Strategies, she would work in the outdoor industry or as a wildlife biologist.
Jessica is equally as passionate about family: her family is what inspires and motivates her the most and her most memorable moments are holding each of her eight nieces for the first time. Her mantra is ikigai – which translates to “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.” Jessica said, “For me, those reasons are pretty simple – it is getting up and taking my dogs for a walk or spending time with my family.”