Bryan Muehlberger wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t willing to take a few risks.
Throughout his career, Muehlberger has never shied away from accepting challenging jobs and taking on new responsibilities. “What I’ve always believed in my life is sometimes when you go out on a limb and do something that is outside of your comfort zone, that’s when you grow the most,” says Muehlberger, who is currently the chief information officer and executive vice president of technology for California-based Beachbody, a worldwide leader in health and fitness.
He spent the early part of his career in infrastructure and support technology, which led to many different roles and receiving the 40 Under 40 Award from the St. Louis Business Journal in early 2006. In March 2006, Muehlberger joined Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefit management company in St. Louis, where he was quickly promoted to a director-level position and took over application development.
In early 2008, Express Scripts was working on a new consumer engagement initiative that Muehlberger worked on alongside the product management and marketing teams. The initiative explored how to leverage behavioral sciences and the principles of behavioral economics and apply them to healthcare—so that the company could ultimately better understand how its members made healthcare decisions.
“We had an issue at the time where people weren’t recognizing how home delivery could be beneficial to being compliant to their home therapy recommendations by their physicians,” Muehlberger explains. “For example, how taking your Lipitor on a regular basis prevents you from having a heart attack and prevents you from ending up in the ER.”
The goal was to spread the word regarding the advantages of home delivery and how it could improve drug therapy adherence.
“Because of my relationships with the business at this point and time, they recognized me as a potential candidate to help,” Muehlberger notes. “They needed somebody who had both technology savvy and business savvy.”
“What I’ve always believed in my life is sometimes when you go out on a limb and do something that is outside of your comfort zone, that’s when you grow the most.”
Muehlberger, who earned a degree in computer science from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Washington University, left the technology division at Express Scripts to join the product management and marketing teams and lead a new innovation effort that became known as “Consumerology,” which was defined as the application of behavioral sciences to healthcare. It quickly became the company’s primary differentiator in the market.
“It really allowed me to get a feel for solving complex business problems from a technology point of view and how technology really is a primary enabler of innovation and growth,” Muehlberger says. “Had I not done that, I don’t think I would be where I’m at today and I don’t think I’d have the same insight as I do when it comes to working with both internal stakeholders and external partners.”
From a career standpoint, it was a pretty risky bet.
“I was probably fifteen years into my career in technology and all of a sudden I’m going over to marketing and product management,” he recounts.
The next challenge came when he was downsized from Express Scripts in 2012 following a mega-merger. Though he had landed a job in St. Louis in short-order, he left that company for a vice president of IT and chief information officer opportunity at Red Bull in Santa Monica, California, in early 2013. It was a big step that offered him the chance to utilize all of his professional experiences, and it also meant a big move for his family. Once again, he was out of his comfort zone.
“It was a brand-new environment, both personally and professionally,” Muehlberger says. “I didn’t have my network to rely on anymore—everything was new. I was either going to succeed or I was going to fail at this. I was challenged with a much larger team that had a lot of different challenges. They were a struggling IT function and struggled with delivering on their commitments and keeping budgets, and they had personnel issues. It was a truly transformational effort.”
After almost five years at Red Bull, Muehlberger wasn’t looking for something new when he was approached by a recruiter about Beachbody, which was right around the corner from Red Bull and had a reputation as struggling company. Nevertheless, he agreed to meet with Beachbody’s leaders and founders.
“I was really inspired by some of the things they said, and I think a lot of the perceptions in the market were not 100 percent accurate,” Muehlberger adds. “Here I was cruising along at Red Bull, things were going really, really well, and I had a great set of initiatives we were working on. But at the same time, I was kind of getting a little bored, a little antsy. So again, I decided to step outside my comfort zone.”
“I always like to problem solve and then put myself into situations that are way outside my comfort zone.”
Joining Beachbody meant running a bigger technology team and also working for a company that was not a subsidiary of a parent company. The switch also came with challenges, including layoffs and low morale.
“We kept our eye on the prize, and kept our focus and our heads down,” Muehlberger explains. “And the wheels just started turning in the right direction. We rebuilt the management team, got our budget in order, and started delivering on our mission. Now we’re in a great position as a company where morale is up, and people want to join Beachbody. We’re one of the few companies that are growing in this weird COVID environment that we’re in right now.”
He added that Beachbody has international growth, acquisition growth, and organic growth opportunities and that the company is “blowing numbers out of the water” while facing a new set of interesting challenges.
Muehlberger has enlisted the help of X-Team to make that growth possible. “It’s been incredible to witness Beachbody’s tremendous growth over the last few years and maybe even more impressive to witness their ability to navigate and accelerate their business in the midst of the new ‘work-from-home economy’ we now live in,” says Chief Business Officer Jake Foley, who has spearheaded the partnership. “It’s exactly what X-Team does best for fast-growing companies, providing on-demand, high-performing teams of engineers to help drive that growth forward. As Beachbody’s needs have scaled, we’ve scaled right alongside them and it’s been an excellent partnership.”
For Muehlberger, it’s been an exciting career trajectory. “It just kind of all fell into place,” he observes. “And I think it comes from the mindset I’ve always had. I like to tinker and break things apart—when something is broken, I try to figure it out. I always like to problem solve and then put myself into situations that are way outside my comfort zone.”
And then he succeeds.
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X-Team provides high-performing, on-demand teams of developers for the world’s leading brands since 2006. Companies like Beachbody, Riot Games, FOX Broadcasting, Coinbase, Sony, and more call upon X-Team when they need to build multi-skilled, forward-moving teams that know how to add value from day one. Learn more at x-team.com.