Podcast Special Guest, Meredith Jobe

Meredith Jobe
Episode 57

In this episode, Meredith Jobe joins host Japhet De Oliveira for a discussion about the importance of humor, the joys of woodworking, and the answer you can always expect from a lawyer.
Libsyn Podcast
"The first year of law school ... I boiled my faith down to two questions. Do I believe in God or not? And how do I live my life in response to my answer to the first question?"

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, welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I'm delighted with our guest today. It is going to be an intriguing moment because you'll soon find out that his specialty and his expertise could actually shape how he answers all of these questions, which you'll see about, he's smiling right now. We'll be delighted to see this. For anybody's brand new to the podcast, we have a hundred questions, when we get towards the end, if the guest chooses a number close to that, they're more vulnerable, more open. And we really talk about stories and experiences that shape our guests into the leader that they are today. So let's begin straight away with question number one, I'm going to ask the first 10, and then I'm going to hand over to our guest so that they can pick numbers 11 to 100. First one is what's your name? And does anybody ever mispronounce it, misspell it or?

Meredith Jobe: Oh, Meredith Jobe. And it gets butchered all the time. Yeah. When you're a guy with a first name Meredith, you've got to have a sense of humor. I told people it was a little tough in the third grade, but if I haven't gotten over it by now, I've got something wrong. And I actually have two middle names. So yeah. I ended up with two middle names. My birth certificate originally said Meredith Scott Jobe, but somehow I acquired a nickname for a few years of Albert. So my mom amended my birth certificate, actually says Meredith Scott Albert Jobe. But I go by Meredith to keep it short. And yes, people butcher my name all the time. And the last name too, becomes Joe, Job, Hobe. All the...

Japhet De Oliveira: Lucky you Meredith, lucky you. Well, it's good that we get to see each other and our listeners get to hear you. And so they'll imagine what this Meredith Jobe looks like, which would be fun as well. Meredith, what do you do for work?

Meredith Jobe: I'm a general counsel for Adventist Health, which means I oversee the legal issues for the system.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, indeed. And so that's why I'm very intrigued by how you're going to answer all these questions as a lawyer.

Meredith Jobe: Well, as a lawyer. They teach you the first day of law school, they teach you that the answer to every question a client asks is, it depends. So, that's the standard lawyer answer.

Japhet De Oliveira: If we hit any of these questions and you start off that way, it'll be a real clue to you. Hey, Meredith, how long have you been in this current role?

Meredith Jobe: I've been in this role for almost exactly 10 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: My, my, a decade. Hey, fantastically, are you celebrating it?

Meredith Jobe: Just so busy. Don't have time to celebrate, but I also spent 12 years before that, on the Adventist Health board. So I feel like I've been around Adventist Health for almost a quarter of a century.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's your family.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. That's good. So in the morning when you get up and your first drink of the day, do you have coffee? Do you have tea? Do you have one of those liquid green smoothies? Do you have water? What's your first drink of the day?

Meredith Jobe: I keep a little thing of water next to my bed like I have right here next to me. And so usually I'm thirsty in the morning. That's the first thing I go to is water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Warm water then. Room temperature.

Meredith Jobe: I like room temperature. Yeah. My wife loves putting ice in her water and I don't particularly like putting ice in it.

Japhet De Oliveira: I hear you. Hey, Meredith. Tell us also, where were you born?

Meredith Jobe: I was born in Glendale, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, OK. And have you been back there? I presume.

Meredith Jobe: Oh yeah. I lived there for 20 years later, but yeah, my mom was working at a little tiny hospital in Glendale and so I was born at that hospital, whereas my older brother and younger sister were both born at the place she referred to as the Glendale Sanitarium. And so, but I was born at North Glendale Hospital, which was erased off the face of the earth 40 years ago, so.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. Well, that's good. Good, I'm glad. I'm glad. Hey, when you were a child, what did you imagine you were going to grow up to be?

Meredith Jobe: I don't think I had any idea. I knew I was too squeamish to go into medicine. I have a father and two brothers and a sister who are physicians, and then I had a stepfather and stepbrothers and my mom who were lawyers. And I just kind of fell into law because I was too squeamish to go into medicine. But yeah, I didn't have a clear idea.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. That's good. That's OK. But you have a clear idea now, so you're doing it well, so that's great.

Meredith Jobe: Well, no, I keep telling people I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair enough. Hey, if people had to describe your personality, would they describe you as an introvert, extrovert? And would you agree?

Meredith Jobe: I think they describe me as extrovert and I disagree.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. OK.

Meredith Jobe: So, I've always thought of, tried to figure out a definition of introvert and extrovert, and the one I go with is, how do you recharge your batteries?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, that's true.

Meredith Jobe: Do you do it on your own or around other people? I'm happy to be on my own. In fact, I heard a comedian just in the last year or so say I was an introvert as a kid. And so when my parents punished me by sending me to my room, it was like, "Woohoo, yay."

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Hey, and that's intriguing as well. That's really good to know about you. Are you an early riser or late night owl?

Meredith Jobe: Right now? I'm both.

Japhet De Oliveira: Meredith. I understand. I understand.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. I think a lot of us here are going through that. I tend to be a morning person and I just don't have the discipline to go to bed to make up for it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, courage to you in that. This morning, when you woke up then, what was the very first thought that went through your mind?

Meredith Jobe: I've got this interview with Japhet today. I better get ready. No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Meredith Jobe: I was thinking I better get to work in time for my 7:30 call.

Japhet De Oliveira: I hear you. All right. And now here's a leadership question. Last one. And then I'm going to hand over to you and you pick the numbers. Are you a backseat driver?

Meredith Jobe: Let's see, we can take that in the leadership context or we can take it the driving context. My wife gets so tired of hearing me say, "Honey, I sleep much better when I'm driving than when you're driving." She's tired of hearing that. As a leader, I tend to be a bit of both. I think I like to hand off something to people and say, "Look it, I don't want to worry about it. I want you to take it and run with it. And I got to trust you. And if I can't trust you, then I'm going to have to find somebody else I can trust." And yet, I do like to put my imprint on stuff as people come and ask me questions, but I like to turn them loose. And let them run with it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. OK. So the floor is open now. You get to pick between 11 and 100. And where would you like to go first, sir?

Meredith Jobe: Well, I listened to a couple of these interviews beforehand. But I didn't write down any numbers, but I thought, why don't I approach this like, let's eat my vegetables first and work toward dessert. So let's start with some bigger numbers and work backwards. So let's pick, I don't know if I've heard 95, so I'm just going to pick 95, just randomly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, actually this is a great question for you. Knowing you, this is fantastic. Tell us about how you see your faith and life intersecting.

Meredith Jobe: Oh, that is an interesting one. Well, I'll tell you why. The first year of law school, you're trying to keep your spiritual life and your studies in line. And it's interesting, trying to read the Bible, read some other things at the same time. And I came up, it was interesting, it was during that first year, I boiled my faith down to two questions. Do I believe in God or not? And how do I live my life in response to the answer to the first question?

To me, it seems that if you believe in God, you're going to live your life a certain way. And if you don't, then why do you care? So for me, yeah, I still remember that first year in law school. I played with that for a while. I think I was up to three or four questions and I kept narrowing it down and I came up with those two questions. And so the answer is yes, I believe in God. And yes, I believe that I need to live my life through that lens.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I've seen that. I've seen that with you Meredith, that you take it seriously, not only the question behind it, but actually the practice of it as well. So I appreciate that about you. That's good. That's good. All right. So, that was 95. Where do you want to go next?

Meredith Jobe: Let's skip down. We'll go down by tens. And then when we get close, if we get too close to number 10, we'll go by ones.

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

Meredith Jobe: OK. We'll go to 85.

Japhet De Oliveira: 85 then. All right. Describe a role model you aspire to be like.

Meredith Jobe: Huh. Interesting. Probably my mom. So my folks divorced when I was probably a year old, I was very fortunate, my mom and dad were close friends. I did not go through that trauma. So I grew up with my mom. My mom had multiple careers throughout her life, was a perpetual learner, perpetual student. She taught down at, what was then Southern Missionary College, where she met my dad as a student. That was a scandal we'll skip over. We won't mention that.

And then added a librarian degree and was a librarian at Losier. Went into medical research from there, was the administrator of the small hospital in Glendale. Then when she remarried, my stepfather was an attorney, became his legal secretary. Then went back to law school, became an attorney. I mean, she just was a constant learner and she cared about people. I can remember at Christmas running errands for her. And I would take, she'd make little gifts for the clerks in the courthouse, wanted to make sure that they each got something and she just cared about people. And so, yeah, she asked good questions. She was always studying, reading, thinking, and caring about people.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's beautiful.

Meredith Jobe: I can still remember her in law school, coming home and being home for the summer and having her come in at night and pull the covers up over me. I mean, it's just one of those...

Japhet De Oliveira: That is lovely. That is lovely. No, that is, and I know that about you as well, Meredith. What's the name of the bakery where you go, you get goodies for your staff and your team?

Meredith Jobe: Well, yeah, that's just around the corner here called Bad Bakers. Yeah. It's a funny name, but yeah, they have these amazing donuts, some covered with Fruit Loops or Cap'n Crunch, and some are basically jelly donuts without the filling, but then you buy, it comes with a plastic syringe where you inject the filling into it, of your choice. So I'll bring those in every once in a while. Plus we have taco Tuesday every Tuesday. My [inaudible 00:12:24] here, we do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, that's great. That's great. I know that you care about people. That's good. That's beautiful. All right. After 85, do you want to go 10 down?

Meredith Jobe: 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75. Right.

Meredith Jobe: We'll go 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you remember the very first item you purchased with your own money? If so, what was it? And why did you buy it?

Meredith Jobe: Oh. So I was a paper boy out in Palm Springs. You know those stories you hear about kids? I grew up going to school barefoot through the snow and everything? So, my story-

Japhet De Oliveira: Uphill both ways.

Meredith Jobe: Uphill. So mine was, I delivered an afternoon paper route in Palm Springs during a sandstorm and a hundred degree weather. That's my snow. But so, with my paper route money, I don't remember specifically the first thing I ever bought, but I know that one of my favorite things to buy was a box of red vines. Now that was before they came in the tubs, they came in boxes. So buying a box of red vine licorice, that was one thing that I'd buy with my paper route money.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. I like that. I like that. All right. Hey, after 75, then where next?

Meredith Jobe: We'll go down to 65.

Japhet De Oliveira: 65. All right. Share one word that you could describe your entire past and then could you unpack that one word for us a little bit?

Meredith Jobe: Whimsical.

Japhet De Oliveira: Whimsical, huh? I like it.

Meredith Jobe: I have always worried about people who lack a sense of humor. And I appreciate that about you, you clearly have a good sense of humor. Well, you're laughing at my jokes, so clearly you have a good sense of humor.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. OK. Steady on now.

Meredith Jobe: No, but I think that life is too short to be serious and stuff. So I just believe that you've got to create an environment that people like being around. And so I hope that I can walk the line between whimsy and getting the job done and being serious. And so I realize you can't be whimsical all the time, but for those who come down to my office, they'll see that my office is a bit of an example-

Japhet De Oliveira: It's a story. It's a story.

Meredith Jobe: Of whimsy. And part of that's because I'm a fidgeter. And so I need things to fidget. I didn't bring anything to fidget with today Japhet, so I'm just going to have to wring my hands.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey. That's good. I like it. I've never heard that one before. It's beautiful. All right. Do you want to go to 45?

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. We'll go down by tens.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. When people come to you for help... Oh, actually. Sorry. I missed one. 55.

Meredith Jobe: Oh, 55. Oh, OK.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Meredith Jobe: You're keeping score, I'm letting you keep score.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. And I should do a better job. I apologize. All right. Look, 55. This is the question. Share, if you would, about something that frightens you.

Meredith Jobe: Oh, I don't like scary movies. I will not watch scary movies. I just, I will not. I mean, it's one thing to watch the old Dracula Frankenstein from the thirties, but I won't watch scary movies. They scare me and I don't want to be scared. I won't go on the violent rollercoaster rides, part of that's just because they make me sick and I don't want to be sick. But something that frightens me other than that, oh, I guess, forgetting an anniversary. I haven't done that, but I think that would frighten me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That would not be good. That would not be good. Hey, I hear you. I hear you. All right then, 45 then. And when people come to you for help, what are they usually asking for Meredith?

Meredith Jobe: Oh boy, it depends. Yeah. See, there's that answer? I told you earlier, that's a standard. That was a standard lawyer answer. So, that's the all purpose answer. So in the work context, it could be for a variety of things involving transactions, regulatory issues, and that. But staff will also come and they'll occasionally have issues that they've got to deal with personally or otherwise. I'm horrible remembering names, but I remember people and I remember the experiences they describe. And so, I enjoy talking to people and just listening and just trying to help them too. And so sometimes they're personal issues and sometimes they're work issues. So it's a variety of issues. Mostly they come with work issues and we try to solve those problems.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that was great. That's fantastic. All right. We'll be interested to know this, share a special interest or unique talent that you have. That was 35.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. A few years ago... I realize as an attorney, so much of what we do, doesn't have a concrete result. Something you can see, other than paper, there's contract or whatever, letter, emails. It's very ephemeral. So I reflected back to seventh grade in Palm Springs, shop class, where you had one section on metal work, one on woodworking, one on electric, and one on of all things, architectural lettering. Which was lost on me because my handwriting is awful.

But I remember that I enjoyed woodworking. So about three years ago, I started buying some woodworking equipment. I haven't gotten out in the garage for about six months, but I'd describe that as an interest. And for me, it's important to have an intellectual challenge that's different from what you do every day. Plus when I finish it, it's something concrete. Like one of the first projects I did, well, one of the first big projects I did was a pair of Adirondack chairs. I tell people as long as they don't get up close, as long as they don't get up close, they won't see the misses and the putty and all that. But to look at something and say, that's something I accomplished is rewarding. So yeah, that's an interest that I'm going to keep working on.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's pretty good. Woodwork is not easy, not easy. So I'm not-

Meredith Jobe: Well, you actually have to, you understand the meaning of the old saying, measure twice, cut once. I have to keep repeating that because yeah, measure twice, cut once. I can't tell you how many pieces of odd length wood and trips back to Home Depot or whatever. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's true. It's very true. Very true. All right. 25, here it is. Share the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Meredith Jobe: Wow. You think of breathtaking views. My wife gives me a hard time. She says, "You know at our wedding, you were more touched by your sister coming down the aisle." I said, "Yeah, but I raised her. I was 10 when she was born." And all of a sudden, here's my little sister as a bridesmaid and stuff. And it's funny, I don't know that I can pick any one moment. People usually go to the birth of their child, which certainly moving moment, watching a child come into this world. But then just standing on a panoramic view and breathing the air, something about breathing crisp air, whether it's at the ocean or overlooking a forest. I would describe that category as something, it recharges, you take a deep breath and you think, yes, there is a master designer. This couldn't have just happened. It couldn't have.

Japhet De Oliveira: And beautiful things change you, right?

Meredith Jobe: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. They make a difference in your life. So, that's good. Good. This is the last one as we go down on these numbers in groups of 10, and then I'm going to turn to you to where you go next. But 15, what is the one thing that you've always misplaced?

Meredith Jobe: Oh, what am I misplacing these days? I usually keep track of the phone. Probably the closest it comes is the phone, but I usually am pretty good with that. And you can always call yourself. What am I misplacing? The thing I misplace the most is people's names. That's probably the thing I've done my whole life. What's your name again?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. I know.

Meredith Jobe: Who are you and what am I doing here? Here, let me look at, what's my name? I need to look on the back of my shirt and see what the name is.

Japhet De Oliveira: It includes Albert now. That's good.

Meredith Jobe: That's right.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. So we were at 15 there. Where do you want to go now?

Meredith Jobe: Oh, let's go down by ones. We can go down by ones until we run out.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. So where do you want to start?

Meredith Jobe: I guess 14.

Japhet De Oliveira: 14. All right. Here it is. Tell us about what you enjoy doing outside of work.

Meredith Jobe: I tend to enjoy reading just newspapers, periodicals, stuff like that. And then I like to follow the Dodgers. I mean, we're in Dodgers season now. So following baseball.

Japhet De Oliveira: Following Dodgers means what exactly? Sorry, could you expand a little bit?

Meredith Jobe: It's a baseball-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh right. Thank you.

Meredith Jobe: Baseball. Oh yeah. So it's the Los Angeles Dodgers. And I can do some shameless bragging here too. Family roots run deep. So my father was a pioneer in sports medicine and he was the team physician for the Dodgers for about 40 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Deep connections.

Meredith Jobe: So when you hear people talk about the Tommy John surgery, that was my father's invention and he performed it and so anyways. So yeah, following baseball. Reading. Vegging out, trying to get out and walk more, and do all of those things.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Good. You want to continue one down?

Meredith Jobe: Yeah, one down. And then if we run out of time, I'll let you pick some numbers.

Japhet De Oliveira: Already. No, I think, because I know the questions, I think you still have to pick the numbers. All right.

Meredith Jobe: They have to be under 50. I'll let you pick random numbers under 50. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: So walk us through the ideal end of your day.

Meredith Jobe: Let's see. Get home early enough to grab a light supper. I don't like to eat big at night. Then I get the munchies, up until six o'clock I'm great. I eat healthy, but after about six o'clock, I have a sweet tooth and if I can make a quick batch of brownies and just eat a hot brownie, just piping hot with a glass of milk.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

Meredith Jobe: And then maybe catch a little TV and go to bed, read myself to sleep, and go to bed. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That actually sounds nice. That sounds lovely. That's good.

Meredith Jobe: Not very healthy, I realize-

Japhet De Oliveira: But it's an idea once in a while. It's great.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. The problem is it's a little too often.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, let's talk some blue zones ideas.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. That's right.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. All right. For number 12 then, what is your favorite movie or book of all time?

Meredith Jobe: Oh, it's funny, my kids gave me for Christmas this year, an autographed picture showing the characters from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. So Ferris, Cameron, and Sloan. And my favorite scene in that movie is the parade because the logistics and the energy, all those elements that went into. Now, I realize they're filmed separately and all that. But just to take all that energy and coordinate it with all those people and put that together, just the logistics of doing that and creating that energy. So that would be my favorite movie.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, that's great. That's good. All right. Number 11. Tell us about the most adventurous food or meal you've ever eaten. Oh no, you've gone somewhere already.

Meredith Jobe: No, no, no. I'm the world's pickiest eater. I mean, to me, there are three categories of food in the world. The smallest category is foods that I'll eat. Or that I like. The biggest category is foods that I just won't even try. I mean, I'm not going to touch brussel sprouts or, they end up on my wife's plate. No, no, I'm just the world's, Japhet, I'm the world's pickiest eater. Although my cousin and his younger brother may be pickier than I am. And then there's a group in between that fall in the category of foods that I eat first to get out of the way, they're good for me and I'll eat them so broccoli and stuff like that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah.

Meredith Jobe: I'm not adventurous. I'll look at it and if I... No, I'm not going to try it. Well, why won't you? You should just try it once. No, I don't have to. So I don't have to be adventurous. So I can...

Japhet De Oliveira: So the most adventurous food is what you eat every day.

Meredith Jobe: Is what I eat every day. I mean, my father grew up on a farm where you eat what's put in front of you. And years ago, he went over, he was in China and he went to a dinner, he was one of the guests of honor. And they served him sea slugs. And he ate them. I said, "Dad, there's no way I would've touched them." But he grew up in a different time and you just ate what was put in front of you. Nope. I'm not adventuresome.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right. All right. That's fair enough then. All right. So we have time-

Meredith Jobe: Now we got to pick other numbers.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, and the good thing is you only have two numbers to pick because two final questions. So, where would you like to go?

Meredith Jobe: Let's go up to 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. All right, here we go. 21, share the very best compliment you've received.

Meredith Jobe: Boy, this is one of those arrogant ones because it's... When members of my staff have expressed their appreciation for me as a boss, that means a lot to me. That really does.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's beautiful. I like that. Yeah. That's good. All right.

Meredith Jobe: Let's go to 31.

Japhet De Oliveira: 31. Then this is your last... Actually you did so quick on that, we have time for one more. So 31.

Meredith Jobe: Oops. Oops.

Japhet De Oliveira:

No, it's good. It's good. I like it. Tell us about someone you'd love to eat dinner with and the sky is the limit.

Meredith Jobe: I've actually been thinking about that question and there are two categories, there's the famous person you'd like to eat with, or there's a person in your family. I'd actually like to go down and sit down with my maternal grandfather.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like this.

Meredith Jobe: He was an Adventist educator, missionary, president of some of our colleges in North and South America. He and I shared the same birthday and I actually was quite close to my grandparents. I lived with them when I was in third grade and I would love to go back and ask him about his work, his leadership, coming off a farm and becoming the first alumnus of Andrews, to become president of Andrews University, college in Berrien Springs. I would just really enjoy to sit down and just hear about his life growing up on a farm, the stories I've heard about he and his sister, his sister became an anthropologist of some renown, an amateur anthropologist. But talking about how their experiences as children in the middle of a farm in Iowa, that one of the ways they would entertain themselves is they would pick a topic to debate, are cows or horses more important on a farm and they'd take opposite sides, and they'd debate it for a while. Then they'd switch sides.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

Meredith Jobe: And to me, that idea of looking at the other side and all those things, I'd just be so fascinated to sit down with him and talk more about all the questions I should have asked as a child, but I didn't.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, Meredith, I think we should actually pause there because that's a beautiful story. And you and I both have a faith that we believe that you'll see him again and be able to break that bread with him and ask him all those wonderful questions. And what a legacy moment. That's actually really great. Thank you Meredith for taking the time for your honesty and for sharing and for revealing a little bit about who you are and to the leader that you are today. It's a great privilege. I'd like to encourage people who are listening to do the same thing, just like you and I have done, sit down, see each other, ask good questions, listen, and enjoy because we both learn. I learn and you do, and we both grow for it.

Meredith Jobe: Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much.

Japhet De Oliveira: Absolutely. God bless everybody. Take care.

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 bought to you by Adventist Health.