Written by Rebecca Savory
Meredith Youngson sat in the Leadership NZ audience in 2006 and heard from a speaker who had given up his job and financial stability in order to follow his passion. This struck a chord with her and since then that is exactly what she has done.
Moving with her husband Robin in early 2012 from their Swanson home in west Auckland and re-locating to beautiful beach-town Raglan has been the disruption she was looking for in her life.
Meredith and Robin left their previous jobs in Auckland to launch their new worldwide movement, Hearts in Healthcare, bringing compassion back into the health system.
“We go where the passion is and help it flourish,” said Meredith, discussing their online network for healthcare workers.
Prior to this, Meredith had worked for 17 years as a microbiologist, taking time off while having children, before becoming heavily involved in a number of community development projects in Swanson.
Ready for a new challenge, Meredith was inspired by people she met through Leadership NZ who were following their passion and loving it, saying the Programme had a big effect on her future.
“It feels like you’ve set yourself free… I think it probably changed [my path] more than I ever realised at the time.”
The Leadership NZ Programme taught Meredith three important things about herself and her leadership style.
She started to recognise and value her own style of leadership. “I’m a servant leader. I’m a nurturer and I love looking after people,” said Meredith, preferring to work within a group opposed to out-the-front.
She also learnt how important it is to stay grounded in your family, and being a leader didn’t mean your family life had to suffer.
Thirdly, you should be doing a job you love.
“I’ve been really lucky. I loved almost everything I’ve done. What you love changes over time, you don’t always have to be stuck in that same thing all time… I’m not the type of person who wants to repeat her life over and over again, I like to try new things.”
The Programme provided her with the confidence to follow her passion and fulfil her potential.
“I think Leadership NZ really opened that door to me understanding myself which gave me a lot more satisfaction and a lot less stress.”
All of this experience and learning has led her to Hearts for Healthcare, founding the project with Robin who was previously a consultant anaesthetist.
“At the moment the health system is based on disease and problems. We would rather it was based on the wellness of patients and staff; it’s about caring for people. It’s not about re-inventing, it’s about connecting the people who are already doing that.
“We’ve found there are so many people in healthcare all around the world who are feeling burnt out and isolated and aren’t satisfied with their jobs. Connecting two of those people in the same hospital who may not have even met each other before is just about a human connection.”
Her positive outlook on life means she defines herself by what she is for not against, attracting like-minded people and ideas.
“If you know what you’re for then you’re living to your true values and you’re living an authentic life and it’s so much more satisfying and actually a lot more effective.”
Meredith has a clear vision of her own identity and this is reflected in everything she does.
“I guess disruptive leadership is really about following your passion, not being stuck in either your own paradigm or someone else’s… It’s about not following a conventional path.”