Misha Kessler

mission-driven product engineer

[email protected]



<aside> ✋🏻 Hi there! Welcome to my curriculum vitae, adapted for Notion.

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Experience | Leadership | Speaking Engagements | Interviews & Storytelling | Publications & Co-Authorships | Education



I’m a mission-driven, multi-disciplinary engineer and mental health advocate. I’ve had the great privilege of pursuing my passions in tandem, approaching 12 years in cross-cutting roles throughout mental healthcare services, design, engineering, and product.

From these experiences, I gained deep insights into barriers to adequate mental healthcare— individual, communal, and systemic— and a passion for blending industry research and best practices with innovative technologies to solve those challenges.


Vanna Health | Founding Software Engineer


Joined seed-stage, SPMI-focused startup as first IC software engineer, assisting in product, design, and engineering, in close collaboration with executive leaders.

My tenure at Vanna has accompanied the startup from seed funding through our $29mil Series A, multiple pilots and markets, and multiple rounds of evolution across our team and product vision.

Halcyon Health | Full Stack Software Engineer

MAR 2021 – APR 2022

Joined seed-stage, peer-first SUD-treatment startup as first IC software engineer, assisting in rapid EHR/CRM product growth, in close collaboration with co-founders, head of engineering, head of design, and clinicians.

Halcyon halted operations before a Series A. Despite this, the technology and service model remains a great source of pride, as well as a vivid source of hard-fought lessons on the challenges of tech-enabled healthcare services.

General Assembly ****

| Senior Associate Instructor, Software Engineering Curriculum

DEC 2020 – MAR 2021

Implemented vast improvements to curriculum, utilizing PM lens to markedly improve student experience and achieve stakeholder adoption.

| Associate Instructor, Software Engineering

NOV 2019 – DEC 2020

Assisted lead faculty in development and instruction of experiential- learning curriculum, guiding ~120 career-transitioners in CS/SE learning.


| Freelance Designer-Developer

MAY 2017 – SEP 2019

Created comprehensive graphic, print, and website design and development packages for mental health causes and professionals.

| Freelance Mental Health Speaker & Advocate


See following sections for more.

The Campbell Center ****| Project Director

JUL 2014 – MAY 2015

Directed $200K SAMHSA Statewide Peer Consumer Networking grant for Washington, D.C., recipient organization, developing organizational and community infrastructure for peer programming.






NY Suicide Prevention Task Force (Reconvened) ****| Task Force Member


Served on a task force commissioned by the NY Office of the Governor to assess and improve statewide suicide prevention efforts. Represented lived experience/consumer perspectives. (View More)

NY Suicide Prevention Council ****| Council Member


Serve on the NY State Suicide Prevention Council (overseen by the NY Office of Mental Health, Suicide Prevention Office) and the Community Workgroup, advising on implementation and development of policy and programs.

CARF International ****| Standards Advisory Committee Member

JUL 2022

Served on the Standards Advisory Committee for Behavioral Health, Crisis Programs, in light of rapid advances in the crisis services industry (i.e.: 988), advising on substantive and sweeping updates to international accreditation standards for services on the crisis continuum, including contact centers, intervention services, and stabilization programs. (View More)

988 ****| Advisory Committee Member

NOV 2018 – JUN 2023

Served on the 988 (previously, “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline”) Lived Experience Advisory Committee, representing consumer perspectives in programming, research, and strategy regarding crisis intervention service standards and implementation.

Mental Health Advocates International ****| Co-Founder & Designer

JUN 2018 – JUN 2023

Co-founded and developed a global community of mental health advocates, promoting industry research, events, and networking in curated social media group.

NY Suicide Prevention Task Force ****| Task Force Member

NOV 2017 – APR 2019

Served on a task force commissioned by the NY Office of the Governor to assess and improve statewide suicide prevention efforts. Represented consumer perspectives and authored report content regarding treatment preferences and values, burdens of- and barriers to-care, and peer workforces. (View More)

Six Feet Over ****| Executive Board Member

MAY 2017 – JUN 2020

Served on executive board of Detroit-based nonprofit, providing tech and design insights regarding suicide prevention and postvention services.

American Psychological Association ****| Treatment Guideline Development Panel Member

JUN 2013 – MAR 2019

Represented consumer perspective on 12-member expert panel to develop guidelines for the treatment of depressive disorders. Co-authored guidelines on patient preferences and values, treatment burdens, and barriers to care.

Mental Health Association of Maryland   |   Executive Board Member

MAY 2012 – MAY 2016 Served on executive board of state mental health association, advising on- and representing- youth and consumer perspectives in the oversight of Maryland’s statewide mental health programming.