Podcast Special Guest, Heather Tucker

Heather Tucker
Episode 47

Sit with Heather Tucker as she joins Japhet De Oliveira to discuss being a weekend introvert, standing too close to fires, why she might someday bring you roasted beets, and the endless possibilities and power of art.
Libsyn Podcast
"The reality is that every decision that's made above and below us affects us. And not only that, it affects people that sometimes are the most vulnerable."

Narrator: Welcome friends, to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well hello friends, and welcome to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I am delighted and excited for the guest today, because we've known each other for a long, long time, and so this is my privilege to be able to be on this conversation here. If you're brand new to The Story & Experience Podcast, this is the way it works. We have 100 questions, and they become a little bit more vulnerable and more open towards 100. And the guest to choose between 11 and 100, because I'll do the first 10, where they want to go. And so we'll learn through these moments, these stories and experiences, all the things that shaped this guest into the great leader that they are today. So without any further hesitation, I'm going to begin with question number one. I can see that she's smiling already, so this is good. What's-

Heather Tucker: I'm ready.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you're ready?

Heather Tucker: I'm ready.

Japhet De Oliveira: What's your name, and does anybody ever mess it up in any way?

Heather Tucker: OK, my name is Heather Tucker, and it's pretty easy in some ways unless you travel to other countries, then yes, it's going to be very challenging because there's the T-H sound, and that's not in a lot of... so it's a lot of Header and other where I've gone. Anywhere I've traveled that doesn't have a T-H sound in the language, that's typically what I get. But in the US not so much. Most people have heard of both names, so there's that.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good. Well then Heather, we're delighted for this. Just tell us a little bit about what you do for work.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, so I'm the assistant art director for Story & Experience, so what that means is essentially anytime there's anything related to art that's come in, a request or something that we've kind of originated, I'm going to help out with that. So that could mean something related to design, that could be something related to motion, that could be something related to print, to illustration, even sometimes to helping to inform music and helping to inform lighting and stage, and so it's really... when the title comes through as art director, art could mean all kinds of things. We haven't yet done this, but maybe at some point we'll be doing some interpretive dancing... I'm kidding. But all these things fall within the art world, which is why this title is actually quite freeing and wonderful. Because a lot of things come into it, but also art is something that people connect with. So that's nice.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is fantastic. Now, if somebody's listening to you... actually we do have people that listen to us, in Cameroon and in Norway, for what are you working for, and for who are you working for, and-

Heather Tucker: Oh yeah, I can help with that. Just add some context.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Heather Tucker: So it's for Adventist Health. So I started with Adventist Health about a year ago, almost exactly. But I'd worked with Adventist Health a few times throughout with freelance, with you Japhet specifically. And that's been... it's really nice. I had never worked within healthcare, but I had worked within a lot of companies that really value wellbeing, or that really value the workplace culture. And so having something like this kind of enter, an opportunity like this entering to my life was really, really nice. And so Adventist Health is... it's only been a year, but it's been a whirlwind. And it's been-

Japhet De Oliveira: It has been a whirlwind.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, it's been a whirlwind, but it's been very cool to see, especially at this moment, what in my field can be done to kind of support or to educate, or to inform others of maybe a problem, or of information that's necessary to make a decision that may or may not change people's lives and ultimately help others get healthier, and whole, and more fulfilled. So it's really nice in that sense.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is fantastic, and you are a brilliant... just for our listeners, they need to know that Heather is a brilliant, strategic creative, and so she loves thinking about the implications of everything and how to pull all the pieces together. So you lead a great team, and [crosstalk 00:04:58].

Heather Tucker: I do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it's really phenomenal.

Heather Tucker: It's the thrill of my day, is every day being able to meet with them. We have about a 15 minute chat, and that is the highlight I will say, is chatting with the team that I have, figuring out what projects, but then always seeing how everybody's doing. So it is, I'm blessed to work with really talented people.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. That's true, that's true. Brilliant. All right, so let's go to the next one here, which is basically in the morning, what's your drink of choice when you start your day? Is it water, is it tea, is it a green smoothie, is it coffee?

Heather Tucker: Well, I mean I would love to say it's some kind of healthy juice or some kind of really, some smoothie that's... but the reality is, it's coffee. And that's the first choice, and then if there's some other... I read that green tea is better, replace it with coffee, I've tried. I always go back to coffee, so coffee's the one. That's the tried and true.

Japhet De Oliveira: And how do you have your coffee?

Heather Tucker: Black.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh OK, all right.

Heather Tucker: I know, I don't even mix it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Americano, or espresso, or?

Heather Tucker: No, I do a French press.

Japhet De Oliveira: French press, oh OK.

Heather Tucker: I have a really small little French press that I use and I make, so it keeps me honest. I can only drink one cup essentially, unless I commit to another French press session, so that's kind of how I control how much coffee. Otherwise if I have a big pot of coffee, I'll just keep drinking it all day long.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair enough.

Heather Tucker: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair enough. All right Heather, where were you born?

Heather Tucker: Oh, I was born in Calhoun Georgia, which is about an hour north of Atlanta. There's not a lot, well when I was growing up there wasn't a lot, but now it's an exit off of Highway 75 and there's a Starbucks, which was never a thing. When the Walmart came into town, that was big news. But now there's a Starbucks. Yeah, it's actually a really nice little area. Going back to it now I can appreciate it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Have you been back?

Heather Tucker: Yeah, I went back a few years ago, and it was to visit where I went to high school, Georgia-Cumberland Academy, and the academy itself is just absolutely gorgeous. The grounds, what they've done with it-

Japhet De Oliveira: It is.

Heather Tucker: I worked for the athletic director, Wally Fox, who recently passed away. But they had a whole gym dedicated, the Wally Fox Athletic Center, so it's really cool kind of for me, especially because he was so important, that was really cool to see. Now the rest of the Calhoun area, I couldn't really speak to it. There is a Starbucks, there's still a Walmart. So that's about, the extent of it is that most people are like, "Oh yeah, I've gotten gas there," so that's usually what people remember.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, you had a great academy. It is still a great academy, and that's what counts.

Heather Tucker: It is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good. OK, so when you were a child, what did you imagine you were going to be when you grew up?

Heather Tucker: Oh yeah, OK. Well if you asked my mom, apparently I told her I'd be either a doctor or a cheerleader, so I'm not sure how I landed where I'm at now. But I don't really know that I knew that design was a career path until I was in college, and then I was taking a psychology class and I was like, "Oh boy. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist." And then I just thought you know what? Maybe not. Is there some other way I can get at people's mind? And so I went with it through design, but I had a real good teacher that introduced me to design, Robert Mason. And I thought, oh my goodness, I can do this. I can actually make this a career and make a living doing it, which is unexpected when you're going into the art building every day.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true, that's true. Hey, that's fantastic, brilliant stuff. So personality question. Would people describe you Heather as an introvert, as an extrovert? And would you agree?

Heather Tucker: This is a hard one, because I don't really know that I am... you know this Japhet, we've known each other for years, and I'm not very open about everything in my world and life. It's not-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's why I'm excited about this podcast.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, but I also am, I like to be very personable and make sure others are... why not enjoy our lives while we have it, and our meetings if we're going to have them all day? So let's make it fun. So I think I would say I'm a combination, and I think that that would be correct. So if someone said I was extroverted I'd be like, "You catch me on the right day you're right." Introvert I'd be like, "You catch me on the weekends you're correct." I will probably be home recovering from the week. I'm not afraid of that, so yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey that's good, a little bit of balance is great. That's fantastic.

Heather Tucker: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, good. All right. And then are you an early riser or late night owl?

Heather Tucker: Yeah, recently an early riser, but that's because I committed to a workout program, you know what I'm saying? So it's like you pay that money, and then you've got to show up. But at least that's my philosophy. But that said, I always try to imagine that I'm the person that likes to stay up and finish that movie, or go do that extra thing. And I think if you asked anybody around they'd be like, "Heather, you're always the one that falls asleep on the couch." So I want to say I have the spirit of a night owl, but the body of a morning person maybe, at least recently.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a good tension. So this morning, first thing as you woke up early this morning, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

Heather Tucker: "Oh boy, it's really cold outside." Because I went to hot yoga class, so I got to get in the car and it was six degrees. So that's-

Japhet De Oliveira: Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit for our international audience here.

Heather Tucker: Yes, yes. So that is very cold. Very cold, so luckily-

Japhet De Oliveira: It's fresh.

Heather Tucker: ... I have a remote starter, I start my vehicle up before, but yeah. That was the first thought that went through my head this morning was oh boy, it's cold.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. All right, so here's a leadership question, and then we're going to dive into the 11 to 100. Are you a backseat driver?

Heather Tucker: If I need to be I think I can be, but ultimately I've found that when I'm working with incredibly talented people, sometimes the best thing for me to do is get out of their way. To be there to support them always, but ultimately I've found that if I insert myself unnecessarily into situations or projects or things like that, it doesn't always make it a better outcome, and it doesn't make it a better experience. So what I've found is, for me, I am happy to jump in and take the wheel if you will if I need to, but I won't do it unless I see it's necessary.

And I certainly think that it's called art direction for a reason, and I think a lot of is like yeah, you're making sure that the path forward is clear, even when it may not be. And so I think that's been really interesting. I've taught before, being an art director, and I've been in this position before, something similar. And when I first started doing any kind of direction or any kind of leadership, that was one of the first things that I remember learning, and it was of, I think the first time it was a photo shoot that was doing, art directing, and it was a two week thing, and two different photographers, and two different stylists, and two different sets.

And everything was kind of moving from one to another, and the first group had just come off of... the photographer and everything, they had just come off of like a week of shooting with a different art director, different project, and they were so burnt out. And at some point I'm telling the camera man, "I think we need to turn the angle up, come down a little bit more, this lighting, we need this prop." I'm having to really get in there, and I am the backseat driver to the max at that point. I did everything but hit the button for the shutter.

And the result was like yes it was good, but then that next week we had a whole different crew that we were working with. Same product, very similar, and they were so energized and so incredibly talented that my job then felt just incredibly supportive, and I wasn't having to do much more than that, than to be able to make the really tough decisions when I needed to make them, but not have to make all the small ones. And that was very eye opening to me, to experience something like that and the power of being surrounded by people that are talented, and what that means for me in my role and what I can contribute. Because ideally, I'm not doing all of those things. I'm not making every decision.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, that's true, that's true. Hey, that's beautiful. That's fantastic. Right, so the good news is that we are done with the first 10 questions, really easy. So now we go-

Heather Tucker: Whoa.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I know. We get into the 11 to 100. Where would you like to go, Heather?

Heather Tucker: OK, well seven has always been my favorite number, so I figured my strategy going in is that I'm just going to in increments of 10 starting with 17, and then we'll go from there. So this is a little odd, but I figured it's my lucky number, so I'll go for it.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like it, I like it. All right, all right here we go. So number 17, share what day is the most special to you on the calendar and why.

Heather Tucker: Well funny you should ask, because 17 is a special day for me, and that is 17 the question. My birthday's July 17, my mom's is June 17, so there's... I've always had a fondness there. Also seven, I don't know. Maybe it is something about seven, but those are special days. And you know what is interesting about my birthday specifically is it's always been in the summer, and so it's not been during school times. And in the summer time, I would always typically spend it with my grandparents, and so my granny would always ask me, "What kind of cake do you want?" So she'd make something from scratch, a cake completely from scratch. And then all of that, everyone in the community, I mean they were all... if any of them were below 70, I'd be surprised.

But they would all get together, and I mean, it would be like one cake from each person essentially, so I would just be covered in cake. I'm not even really a sweets person that much so it's a little funny now thinking back on it, but that date, it's a little bit selfish maybe to say that it's my birthday, but really it's because of those people that made it so special growing up, especially at a time when most of my friends would have a pool party, or they would have a thing at school growing up. This was very unique and kind of special in that way.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. Now I've got a question for you that's not on the list here, 17A.

Heather Tucker: Uh-oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Heather Tucker: OK, bring it on.

Japhet De Oliveira: What's happening on June 17 this year?

Heather Tucker: Oh, I'm getting married, so funny you should say. 17 is special. It's my mom's birthday and I'm getting married, so that's double down on the special, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. All right, hey, that was a nice bonus one there. Great. All right, after 17 where do you want to go next?

Heather Tucker: 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: 27, all right here we go, true to form. Bringing us into your kitchen for a special meal, what would you be making?

Heather Tucker: Oh, wow. OK. Well if you asked anybody from my fiancé and my family what I would bring, they're always, the thing I come to every single family meal with is a salad.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK, that's good.

Heather Tucker: Which is a little... they're always like, "Well Heather will bring the salad," which is true because I'm... that's where I've apparently carved out my little notch.

Japhet De Oliveira: You excel.

Heather Tucker: My area of expertise. But with that, the other thing that is a staple that I bring is roasted beets. Now I know what that sounds like, but-

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Heather Tucker: They're absolutely delightful.

Japhet De Oliveira: They are.

Heather Tucker: Roasted vegetables of some kind, these are the things that I'm more prone to make and bring to any kind of family gathering. Now, if you're actually coming into my kitchen and I'm trying to impress, then I'm probably going to try to make some form of a stuffed squash, depending on the time of year. If it's summertime, then it's probably going to be some form of tacos if I'm being honest, just because-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Heather Tucker: ... that's delightful and refreshing. Yeah, and then I think the only other kind of real good thing that I like is soup, so especially in the winter. Maybe I'm just thinking of winter foods right now. But yeah, so I try to tailor it to the time of year. Whatever's in season. But fresh vegetables, fresh salad, that's where I like to be when it comes to cooking for others.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is impressive, that is impressive. That's brilliant, because if I have to get a salad, make a salad, I'm going to Whole Foods.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, no.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's really good. I'm really impressed. All right, so next, 37, is that what you're going?

Heather Tucker: Oh yeah, you know it.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK, all right. All right.

Heather Tucker: 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Oh, this is great for you. What do you like most about your family?

Heather Tucker: Oh, that is great for me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Heather Tucker: My family is such... because they're all... I live in Michigan and they live all down south, so Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, north Carolina. So everybody's kind of in this, in the south, and I'm up here. They think I'm crazy. Sometimes I do too. But this morning specifically when I woke up and it was six degrees. But yeah, they're such supportive people for any decisions and any kind of choices that I've made. They're honest, they're supportive, they're... the thing I love is I can call any family member, and sometimes I have, where I call and I'm talking about something I'm working through, and then I hang up and I'll be like, "I didn't even ask them how they were." You know what I mean? It's just like if I need them, they are there, and it is such a solid-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Good people.

Heather Tucker: ... and supportive thing, and each person... I'm very close with my, what most people would not necessarily call their immediate family. I'm very close to my aunt and uncles, to my cousin, and so I feel like that little group of a baker's dozen is kind of like, that is a core to supporting me, who makes me me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Centers you, yeah.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, centers me 100%. And even though there's distance, I think we've figured out ways over the years to... how to connect and how to talk, and how to see each other and spend time together despite the distance, and that's been great. Because technology makes that a lot easier. When FaceTime came out I was like, "This is the best thing that's ever been invented." Yeah, so that's a great part about my family. I have a really strong... they're very, my granny was a very good matriarch, so she kind of held it together and shaped us. And so I think that we're still formed by her.

Japhet De Oliveira: You know for our listeners, I think they should know also that Heather, I mean you are a matriarch in your own standing as a strong female leader, and you have this ability to connect with people and care for them. I mean, the people that we work with outside of the company, inside the company, and I appreciate that about you. I think I can see that family value. It takes time, and you spend the time, so thank you for doing that with everybody you come into contact with.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, most people we work with, I mean they're great. So it's a pleasure, and if it's not then we'll talk about it.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, let's go to 47, is that right, is that where you want to go next?

Heather Tucker: There it is, yeah. 47. I'm ready.

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't want to lead you down the wrong path, I mean in case you want to jump a decade. But here we go, it's 47 says this. You just met someone. What would you want them to know about you and why?

Heather Tucker: Oh, that's a great question. That one is, because I'm not the most... I don't lead with myself typically.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know, I know.

Heather Tucker: That's not a thing I-

Japhet De Oliveira: This is why this is a great question.

Heather Tucker: I'm more interested to know about them than to talk about me. So yeah, with that I think maybe if it is... if I'm meeting somebody for the first time, it depends on the setting I think a lot. I'm not shy to share about family, and that I'm from the south. That's a big part of my identity and who I am. That I'm a designer or something within that world, that I think like a designer, I think that's important to me, to kind of communicate. I was trying to think if there's... if I'm meeting someone related to any kind of a restaurant, eating arena, I'm going to let them know I'm not great with dairy so please try and avoid that. Do not bring that into the meals if possible so that we can all have a good time. Yeah, so those are kind of the things that I'm going to lead with. Yeah, I don't know that there's much more within that realm. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good. Well it's funny, because I presume you're going to 57 next?

Heather Tucker: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, so this is the question, and I mean maybe this question was written for you, when we put this together. If you had to endorse a brand, what would it be and why?

Heather Tucker: If I had to endorse a brand what would it be and why, this is a great question. Because there's probably a few if I'm being honest. Yeah, well if you work in branding you pay attention to brands. But I've always been really inspired by Patagonia, in part because I really liked... I like the outdoors, but I like that they're a company that stands for more than that, that stands for sustainability, that make products that are meant to live a long time and be re-patched up, all of those things. So I think that's a brand that I'm very inspired by, because it's not just selling a product. It's also, stands for an idea. And so there's something really nice about that.

When it gets in... for a long time, I've worked for different companies and brands that I've gotten to know, and I'll say this. There's always something about a brand that may be a little off-putting. Yeah, the more you get to know the more you're like oh, boy. And then there's things like products, there's the product or the service and then there's the brand right? So these are two different things. And I've run into some that have incredible products but a terrible brand. Their message, what they stand for, what they kind of push, who they choose to support, how they support them. All these things, the ethics and everything around it. That can be very off-putting to me, and I think where we decide to spend our money dictates a lot of how our society and culture is shaped. So yeah, so I'm going to stick with just Patagonia for now, because I know it's safe.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right, hey that's good. No, that's good, that's good. And hey, look I mean again, you do such a great job with taking care of 22 hospitals, 300 clinics, and making sure that the brand, the creativity and freedom in the brand is always there, and I appreciate that about you as well. So I know you understand as well. So it was kind of like, oh yeah, that's a great question for you.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, this is a great question. That was a great one.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, I'm going to go 67, is that where we're going?

Heather Tucker: You know it.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK, all right, all right. All right, this is another... I don't know how we ended up with this, but what is the best picture you've ever taken and why?

Heather Tucker: Oh, wow. OK. The best picture I've ever taken... this is really interesting, because I... so I've done, we talked about this, I've done a lot of art direction, a lot of photo shoots. That was a huge thing that I did, very beginning of my career especially. And I found really quickly that I am much better behind the camera than in front of it, so if there's a good picture of me that comes out, I am just thrilled, because chances are it was an accident. I didn't know it was being taken. So that's what I've found.

There is one picture that I think was taken just this past summer at a wedding, that I was like, "Take it fast." Because you see these people that are just posing for decades and trying to get a good picture, and I'm like, I just need... we came out here, we're in Colorado, this is beautiful, let's... or Utah, I think that's where we were. I was like, "Just take the picture as quick as possible," and it turned out beautiful. And I was like, oh wow, that was good. Good job, Heather, for not looking like a crazy person in front of the camera.

That's one, and then there was one other one where it's my grade school student school picture, and I think I'm I want to say third grade maybe, and it was around the time that, you remember those swishy suits? Those swishy athletic-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh yeah, the shell suits.

Heather Tucker: Zip up, yeah the shells.

Japhet De Oliveira: The tracks, the shell suits.

Heather Tucker: Yes, the track suit, shell suits, whatever.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. Oh those were very-

Heather Tucker: I called them swishy suits, which... I don't know.

Japhet De Oliveira: I couldn't stand them.

Heather Tucker: And I had gotten a swishy outfit for Christmas, and at Christmas I stood too close to the fire and my pants, the pants of the swishy suit just all melted.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, no.

Heather Tucker: And so all I had was the jacket, but I wore that jacket with pride.

Japhet De Oliveira: With pride.

Heather Tucker: And I insisted on wearing it in my school photo, and it's got a big pencil over... it's like an illustration of a pencil over the shoulder.

Japhet De Oliveira: Of course, of course.

Heather Tucker: I think that one's probably... it's either the one from last summer or it's the one from third grade, so that gives you an idea of how many good pictures-

Japhet De Oliveira: That really gives us an insight.

Heather Tucker: There are of me.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, I hear you. I hear you, that's great. All right, so we have time for two more.

Heather Tucker: OK.

Japhet De Oliveira: Where do you want to go for the last two?

Heather Tucker: Oh, OK so what was the number we were just at?

Japhet De Oliveira: That was 67.

Heather Tucker: Well it seems like we should do 77.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, brilliant.

Heather Tucker: And then 87.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, here we go. All right, 77.

Heather Tucker: Or we can jump up to 97 so we up the odds. Let's do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, you tell me. So 77 is where you want to go?

Heather Tucker: 77 yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, share one of your most cup filling experiences with us.

Heather Tucker: OK... all right, yeah. I have some good cup filling experiences. The thing is, is the first thing that came to mind was oh, there's too many, which is fantastic right? No, so I went to grad school recently, and part of the program where I went, which was University of Notre Dame, they include a teaching portion, that's part of what you do is you teach. And I teach, I was a student and a teacher in those three years of grad school the entire time. And so as I'm writing a 100, 200 page thesis, I'm still teaching, and I'm doing art projects, and I'm doing exhibitions, all during the same time as teaching. And so my energy level was very low for teaching, but I always tried to... I had a jacket that I... a little suit jacket that I would put on to teach, and then I would take it off after class and I'd start working on whatever I needed to do to get done for my... with the degree I was working on.

And in the process, I found that teaching was the thing that kept me going. In that, somewhere in all of that, that human connection and seeing people... and I specifically am thinking of kind of one of our finally projects, having somebody come up to me afterwards and say that they were going to change their major to design, because they found that they connected with something in my class, and that has then changed their trajectory and life. And then having at my final exhibition, having every single person from my class, from the years of classes show up, that was incredibly fulfilling for me in a way that I didn't even know that cup existed, let alone that it could be full to overflowing. So that was a really cool, and powerful, and unexpected thing. And the teaching portion of, and liking the teaching portion of the education that I got there, that was also a little unexpected. I thought it would be more of a, "Oh, I got to check this box," and what I found was that box was kind of the focus.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's actually beautiful, and I think that speaks into the project that you're building out this year in 2022, the Art Academy.

Heather Tucker: Oh, yeah?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I can see the passion.

Heather Tucker: Very excited about it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah no, teach the whole company and bring the creative gifts out of people, I mean yeah, I'm looking forward to that as well. So final question.

Heather Tucker: OK, let's do-

Japhet De Oliveira: 87 or 97?

Heather Tucker: Yeah 80... no. 97, let's get up there.

Japhet De Oliveira: 97, all right. 97 then. Last question, tell us about a time when you did the right thing.

Heather Tucker: Boy, all the wrong things coming to mind right away.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is a hard question.

Heather Tucker: That is a hard question, that is a hard question... OK, I'm thinking...

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Heather Tucker: There. Also the neighbors are playing music. I don't know if you're picking up on that.

Japhet De Oliveira: I can't hear it, it's great.

Heather Tucker: OK, sounds good. I guess I didn't hear this question when I was listening to the other podcasts... OK, yeah. I got something. So times when I've done the right thing, when I was in... well, there's been a couple, and I'll say this because it wasn't... I didn't know that it was a right thing at the time. But when I was in college, and Japhet when I met you the first time, I had decided to take a year out to do student mission work.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's right.

Heather Tucker: And I met you in Hawaii, and you know this story.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think I started to work, yeah.

Heather Tucker: You drove up in a-

Japhet De Oliveira: I started to work there, but yeah.

Heather Tucker: Yeah, you started your role at Andrews University, you started it in Hawaii I think, or probably before then. And you had rented a car and you'd rented a Cadillac or something like that.

Japhet De Oliveira: It was the only car, it was the only car.

Heather Tucker: Something like, yeah, it was like an upgrade of some kind. And I'm like, first of all, who is this guy? And second of all, I absolutely adore him. And so it was a twofold, if you're going to be in Hawaii and you're going to rent a car, yeah you're correct, you might as well get one that is bigger and better and awesome, the justification being that you could take students to different places, which you took us to a waterfall which was cool, or to a hike or something like that.

Anyways, that experience, making that decision to do that was kind of on a whim. It was something I had thought I wanted to do. My cousin had done it when he was in college, and I didn't really know. I think it was a bit of a, "Oh yeah I guess this works out, so let me just try it." And I think by and large that year, I mean it shaped my entire worldview, because first of all I got to see the world, which was incredible. And then to see how other people live, how every decision... because where I went was Saipan, which is a commonwealth of the US, and to see for example that if we needed fresh fruit that wasn't from that island, the island was overpopulated so there wasn't really much farming, if we needed fresh fruit, that fruit was probably going to come from California on a boat. And then that boat was going to come to Guam first, and then get offloaded to another boat, and then come to Saipan at some point.

And if it was going to be produce that was coming from Thailand or Japan, then it still had to go back to California and then come back to us, even though... and to see kind of how systems work and how decisions that are made, policies and politics, how they affect culture and people's health. How they affect their culture, their health, their income, it was very powerful to me to see that it's not just something that... we're not just necessarily operating within this little field of opportunities. The reality is that every decision that's made above and below us affects us. And not only that is, it affects people that sometimes are the most vulnerable. And that was really, really powerful to me, to see how the native people of Saipan were kind of moved to this one little area of that island. Most of them were given food stamps. Most of them were suffering from diabetes, and heart disease, and obesity. And part of it was because they didn't have options or opportunities for anything else.

And then what that meant for their culture, right? How that affected them. And so for the first time I saw that by design we had created this culture of desperation, the US had. And I had never really, really understood that level of impact until I saw it right? And I saw how strong and powerful and important it is that we think about those things. And for me, especially that was the year I declared a design major and went into the field that I went into, because I realized that it's... and I had the teacher that kind of recruited me, Robert Mason, he said, "If you enter into the field of design, I'm not just going to teach you how to design. I'm going to teach you how to think," and that's always been-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good.

Heather Tucker: ... kind of the best influence that I've had around that way, because I saw kind of what it meant and how my journey was changed by it, and it was all just based on a whim. So I'd like to think that there was some other things guiding me to that point to affect my entire trajectory. And that I can see in all the decisions. The fact that I went to Andrews for example, I went because my best friend was going. But I was like, "Oh yeah, I don't want to go without you," so I went there. So it's like I came to Grand Rapids, which is where I live now, Michigan, because I had an opportunity to work with somebody that was a freelancer that I really respected and liked, and that's where I met my fiancé is in that job. So everything has kind of guided these small decisions that have been very, to me have been made on a whim if you will, or made somewhat as a trial, have kind of shaped who I am.

Japhet De Oliveira: They have indeed, and to your credit and to who you are, I mean you're a genius at art and design and creativity and that, but in addition to that, I love... and I loved this when I saw you as a student the first time and serving. You have an incredible heart of service and an incredible heart of care, and I appreciate that about you Heather. So thank you for taking the time to be in this moment to share all of these stories and experiences that shaped you into the phenomenal leader that you are today, and I appreciate it a lot.

I just want to also say to everybody who's listening, hey, share your own stories and experiences. Listen to them. You will be transformed. I am transformed. I have enjoyed this conversation a lot, and we look forward to seeing you and hearing you on another episode. So God bless you, look after you, and keep the love of God in your heart. Thanks again Heather.

Heather Tucker: Thanks Japhet.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at AdventistHealth.org/Story. The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health for the Office of Culture.