Robin Oliver

Robin Oliver
Episode 80

Join host Japhet De Oliveira in this episode as he sits down with his guest, Robin Oliver, for a vulnerable conversation surrounding the beauty of becoming a parent, facing challenges with grace, walking through grief, and being an advocate for those you love.
Libsyn Podcast
“I choose to be optimistic. I have had experiences in my life that could have led me down a different path. I lost my mother at a very young age, and I have, over the years and very young, learned to appreciate the path, truly that God's leading me on.”

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story and 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: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I'm delighted to be with my guest today that I've only recently become friends with and got to know. So this is exciting. It's good. It's great to be able to ask all these questions. To anybody who's brand new to this experience, we have 100 questions. I ask the first 10, and then the guest gets to choose between 11 and 100 where they want to go. And they can become more progressively more open as we get closer to 100. So I'm looking at the guest, they're smiling. It's good. It's a good sign. We'll begin with the first question. What's your name? And does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Robin Oliver: My name's Robin Oliver. Very few mispronounce it. It's pretty straightforward.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is straightforward. Anybody ever switch it around?

Robin Oliver: Yes, more times probably than I like. It's very difficult when it happens with an airline.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh yeah. That would be awkward.

Robin Oliver: Yeah. Trying to change that is like-

Japhet De Oliveira: Does it match your ID?

Robin Oliver: Details.

Japhet De Oliveira: Details. Robin, what do you do for work?

Robin Oliver: So I'm the business development executive at Adventist Health and Rideout in Marysville, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice. Nice. And what does that mean?

Robin Oliver: Well, it encompasses a lot of things. I think I would categorize it as I am responsible for growth initiatives, and there's a lot of functions that kind of fall under and support that goal. So everything from physician recruitment to partnerships, community engagement, marketing, communication, and other duties as assigned.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah, that's a lot of different things. What did you do before?

Robin Oliver: So before, I was the Vice President of Marketing Communication at Dignity Health in Sacramento. So I oversaw those functions for six hospitals in the region.

Japhet De Oliveira: Now I understand, and not all our guests will know this, but I understand that you've been part of some kind of interesting campaign at some point in the past?

Robin Oliver: Well, I was involved in many in my lifetime, so if you're referring to my most recent, I was. I was part of Dignity Health's launch of Hello Human Kindness, and I was really responsible for ensuring that we had high brand awareness, and we really embraced that and took it through internally and externally, because it was more than a tagline. It represented who we were and the care that kind of was intrinsic in all of our clinicians and the experience that we had.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, we're glad that you here with us at Adventist Health and Rideout and bring all your wealth of experience and excitement. And I hear great things are taking place there as well. So it's good. In the morning when you get up, what's your drink of choice? Coffee, tea, liquid green smoothie?

Robin Oliver: So I'd like to say it's water. It is not. I shower with water, so I guess I start with that. But coffee and I'm pretty simple. Coffee with half and half or any sort of dairy of some sort. Whatever I'm desperate for. And then I do put a little sprinkle of cinnamon on it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice little touch. Yeah,

Robin Oliver: That's good. Nutmeg, if I'm going to go crazy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay. Don't going too wild. Don't get too wild. All right. All right. Tell us about where were you born?

Robin Oliver: I was actually born in Sacramento, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Robin Oliver: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, brilliant. And when you were child there, what did you imagine you would grow up to be?

Robin Oliver: So, my memory is a little rusty, but a friend of mine reminded me, because she found something in a box of things that her mother gave her. And we must have done some exercise in school. We had to write a note to ourselves. And I had written that I was a PR executive, which is fascinating because I didn't initially pursue that when I got out of college because I didn't actually know what I wanted to do. But what resonates for me and what I remember doing and what I'm still engaged in is, I love to make clothes for my Barbies. I love to design outfits. Obviously, I did not pursue that. But yeah, I think when you're young, that's your time to be creative and explore and you can be anything.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Now, if people were to describe your personality, Robin, would they describe you as an extrovert or an introvert? And would you agree?

Robin Oliver: Yes and yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes and yes. And I didn't even finish the question. I'm trying to-

Robin Oliver: So I am definitely an extrovert and I would concur with anyone who identified that. Anyone who said I'm an introvert, they have not had one conversation with me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair enough. Habits. Are you an early rise or late night owl?

Robin Oliver: So it's really funny because I think they may call it burning the candle at both ends, because I tend to do both. I like to think of myself as an early riser, because I get up, I get my day going. But I am realizing as I meet my new colleagues that my idea of early rising is not like theirs, because they get up when it's really dark. I get up when it's kind of dark. So yes, I'd say I'm a combo.

Japhet De Oliveira: But leaning into the late night owl.

Robin Oliver: I do. Well, and sometimes when I'm in a really good book, I think it's like FOMO. It's like, "Oh my gosh, I got to find out what the next chapter is." It's not really by choice.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, no, I hear you.

Robin Oliver: It's by default.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right. This morning when you woke up, first thought that went through your mind?

Robin Oliver: I hope I make it to the board meeting on time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. And did you?

Robin Oliver: I did. It's just this time of year, there's so much going on and it's just trying to manage my schedule and my children's schedule.

Japhet De Oliveira: Everything going on. It's all good. All right. Leadership question here. Are you a backseat driver?

Robin Oliver: So if my husband was here, he might answer one way. So I'll just, I'm going to take it out of the literal and I'll put it in a leadership form. So I like to be the instructor and show students the path and techniques, but then give them the ability to feel empowered and drive on their own. And if we need to pump the brakes, we have that capability, but it's really kind of empowering and trusting that someone else can do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Like it. Good. The floor is open, so we get to pick now between 11 and 100. Where do you want to go?

Robin Oliver: Yeah, no pressure.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. No. No. None at all. It's great.

Robin Oliver: I am going to start low and slow, so I'll go 15.

Japhet De Oliveira: 15, it is. What's the one thing that you misplace? Okay.

Robin Oliver: Gosh, what do I miss? Well, I am pretty fastidious and I really am a creature of habit, but I do have a number of pair of glasses. So I do leave them scattered at times throughout my house.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's very wise.

Robin Oliver: Except for when you need to see and read and then you can't find them and then it's problematic.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. That's good. That's good. Well, that was 15. Up or down?

Robin Oliver: All right, so let's go with 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. Share the very best compliment that you've ever received?

Robin Oliver: I really don't like this question.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's great. It's great.

Robin Oliver: Thank you for making me feel uncomfortable already. Oh, well okay. I'm just going to take the softball. It's really for my kids when they say, "You're the best Mama."

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's beautiful. Nah, that's good. Kids are amazing. That's good. All right. Right. That's 21. Where next?

Robin Oliver: Oh, that's right, I'm choosing. I'm sitting back there waiting. Let's go with, okay, I'm going to go 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: 37. All right. What do you like most, this is great. What do you like most about your family?

Robin Oliver: Oh gosh. Oh gosh. They keep me young. They're so incredibly creative and I just love where their brains... I love the freedom that they love to explore. And it's really, it's everything, right? In terms of where their brains go, what they want to create, what they really want to pursue and learn about themselves. And I mean, simply said, I love that they love me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Isn't it good?

Robin Oliver: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's good to belong. It's good that they belong.

Robin Oliver: It's so incredibly important and they are the biggest priority of my life, so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good.

Robin Oliver: Yeah. And they ground me.

Japhet De Oliveira: They ground you. That's good. All right. That was 37. Where next?

Robin Oliver: Okay. I'm going to keep going up. So far so good. And then if we hit a brick wall, we're going to go right back down.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's going to be great.

Robin Oliver: Let's do, I don't know, 46.

Japhet De Oliveira: 46. All right. Tell us about, this is good for you. Tell us about the best book you've ever read? Oh, ever read.

Robin Oliver: Ever read?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Robin Oliver: Oh, that's...

Japhet De Oliveira: You want to say.

Robin Oliver: That's not fair. I will say, and I'm just going to create a category. So the best book I ever read when I was kind of embracing reading on my own. It started with the Secret Garden. It was a gift from one of my grade school besties. And it allowed me to have... It took me out of my day to day and my imagination was able to kind of thrive. So I'm going to start there because that's the easy one. But I mean, I can go and I love the Ludlum series, so a little scary for a 15-year-old who found my dad's collection. And I read Osterman Weekend, I was like, "Oh my gosh, I love espionage." I was like, "I don't know what that says about me." So we'll go with the light side. Secret Garden.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Hey, that's great. And it is true though, right? That once you discover the love of reading it opens portals.

Robin Oliver: Oh gosh. You could just get lost.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's good. All right. Where next? That was 46.

Robin Oliver: That was 46. All right. We're just going to walk through the decades. Let's go 55.

Japhet De Oliveira: 55. All right. Share about something that frightens you?

Robin Oliver: Oh. I mean, for me, it's pretty easy. Loss of control. That vulnerability. So it's probably why I like to be the instructor with the student driver. But yeah, I mean it's fear. It's fear of not feeling protected. It's fear of not being able to anticipate. I like to be prepared. I don't really like surprises. So I guess, yeah, control is an issue to me. By the way I work on it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's okay. And you are here with no control over the questions. It's great.

Robin Oliver: I'm trying.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're trying. It's great.

Robin Oliver: I'm keeping it together.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's great. It's great. I appreciate that. 55. All right. So where next?

Robin Oliver: Let's do 62.

Japhet De Oliveira: 62. All right. What does a sense of community mean to you?

Robin Oliver: Wow. Sense of community to me. I mean, belonging, acceptance, support. And community to me, doesn't need to necessarily be in the masses. It could be a small community and there's always a thread that connects us together. But I think about my tribe, right? It's like, who do I go to for support? Who understands me? Who will be there in my time of need? And then I could just, if I take that from a personal experience, I think it translates well for me just out into the public and the things that we're trying to achieve, even as an organization, right? Empathy and support and connectivity and belonging, so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Those are good things. And they would transform any community when you have those elements together. I like that. That's good. All right. That was 62.

Robin Oliver: Okay. So far so good.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Oh, it's great.

Robin Oliver: No tears.

Japhet De Oliveira: No tears. All good. All good.

Robin Oliver: I might drive it back down. Let's see what 13's all about.

Japhet De Oliveira: 13, all right, here we go. 13 is, walk us through the ideal end of your day? Oh, yeah. Yeah. All right. So what happens?

Robin Oliver: Oh gosh. So my phone is off. I'm not near a computer. I'm in what I like to call my comfy cozies. My hair's probably up in some sort of bun. I mean, the way that I try to schedule my day is I have dinner with my family, and we talk about our day and whatever random things come up in conversation. I like to try to quiet my brain. I mean, to me, that's a great opportunity. So the perfect end would be if I spent some time with my family and then I excuse myself, and I actually have a late night massage appointment. That would be the perfect end of my day.

Japhet De Oliveira: See then that's a great day. That was good.

Robin Oliver: Oh, yeah. I would be like, "Thank you."

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. All right. That was 13.

Robin Oliver: Okay, 13.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Robin Oliver: Okay. So let's do 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. All right. Share with us the day that's most special to you on the calendar and why?

Robin Oliver: I was going to be very sarcastic, and I would like to say my birthday, but it's not. A day that it's all about me. But that's actually not true.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Robin Oliver: Yeah. I mean, God, I feel like this is a bit rote, but no, my kids' birthday has so much significance for me. We adopted our twins. I went through a long time dealing with infertility and miscarriages, and they came into... We had the opportunity literally four weeks before they were born. And it's life changing. And it's more about me. I mean, as I started, as I talked about my birthday, ha-ha-ha. Kids just add a whole new dimension, and you just, it's a level of love that you, I just never imagined.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Forever giving.

Robin Oliver: Oh my gosh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. That's good. That is good. That's quite a journey you've had.

Robin Oliver: Yeah. And when you want something so desperately and talking about control, and you have no control over it. And you have to process grief, and you have to forgive yourself. And I was on a mission. I was like, "I'm going to make this happen one way or another." I mean, let's just say determined was putting it lightly. And I have to say, I think these days, just talking about fertility in general, I think it was a little taboo. And now it's becoming a little bit more mainstream.

Japhet De Oliveira: Still very hard.

Robin Oliver: It's just, yeah. But not a lot of people talk about it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's true. That's true. That's true. And yet, you're absolutely right. It has changed and it's something that we should talk about more openly to support people through, because it is very difficult. Well, thanks for sharing that. That was number 17. Very light.

Robin Oliver: Very light at 17. I'm like, I'm going back up to the high numbers. Let's do 74.

Japhet De Oliveira: 74. All right. Here we go. Oh, this is great for you. What gives you hope?

Robin Oliver: The nice thing is there's a lot of areas that give me hope. I'll start with myself and my family, and the things that we can contribute to. I think that I look at my kids and their peers and their focus, whether it's right the earth, their empathy towards others. To me, that's incredible. I think and then I look at what certain individuals or movements that are happening to truly change the dynamics. I think the fact that diversity and inclusion has gained so much momentum. There's so much more that needs to be done. But again, that acceptance, right? And you talk about a community. Your community becomes bigger the more open and accepting we are. But I think there's a lot of work ahead, but it's great that there are leaders and it's gaining momentum, and I think it's kind of a force, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. You see yourself as a hope agent, right?

Robin Oliver: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I can tell. I can tell in the few meetings we've had. You always been this way?

Robin Oliver: I choose to be optimistic. I have had experiences in my life that... Oh, gosh, this is hard. They could have led me down a different path. I lost my mother at a very young age, and I have over the years and very young, learned to appreciate the path, truly that God's leading me on. And I have to accept that everything is done for a reason, as painful as it is. But the alternative, it's easy to go down a different path. But I think the best way to put it is I choose life, and I choose to try and make the most of everything. And there are times, I'm not successful. I mean, I have moments, I have a lot of moments. But I'm like, gosh, I observe others who don't make the same choice. And I'm like, "I think I'm going to get a lot more out of this experience if I choose hope and love, and looking forward and trying to make change versus being mired in negativity."

Japhet De Oliveira:

Yeah. That's good. That's good. That was 74A, and I appreciate the extra. I appreciate the extra, because I think we all need hope. Everybody needs hope, but hope doesn't come easy.

Robin Oliver: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. So thank you. Thank you. Robin, where do you want to go next after 74?

Robin Oliver: I don't know.

Japhet De Oliveira: 74A. Yeah, I know.

Robin Oliver: I was like, "Wait, I went down. I went up and I'm still crying with both." Gosh. Just call me Puddles. Let's try, okay, I'm just going to be brave. Let's go with 85.

Japhet De Oliveira: 85. All right. Oh, describe a role model you aspire to be like?

Robin Oliver: Oh, that one's super easy. There might be more tears involved.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's okay. It's good for a soul.

Robin Oliver: I do aspire to be like my dad. He was an amazing role model. I will admit that in my teen and early 20s, during my age of self-discovery, we may not have agreed. But as an adult, we had... Number one, I had an appreciation for what he had to... I had to put myself in his place and understand the choices he made and the reasons why. And then we had a friendship, but he was incredibly principled, incredibly hardworking, maybe a little competitive, which sometimes would veer over into us. We could not play tennis or eat hot salsa, because it was like, "Who can eat the most?" And I always lost. I'm not a very good loser. But he demonstrated and taught me the importance of giving back. So success was celebrated, but there was also a part of, you need to contribute to those around you, and you need to help others make the most of themselves. He was funny. And he was incredibly giving. And there are things that I never knew about that I found out after he passed away. There's a huge sense of pride.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's beautiful. That's a great tribute to him as well. Yeah. Yeah. It was beautiful. All right. That was 85.

Robin Oliver: Whew.

Japhet De Oliveira: So where-

Robin Oliver: Okay. So far so good. I'm still sitting. No one's mopping my brow. Let's go with, okay, I'm going to go with 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, 90. All right. Tell us about how you overcame a seemingly insurmountable obstacle?

Robin Oliver: I think there are many occasions that there are instances that things feel overwhelming and insurmountable. And then when you reflect back, you're like, "Oh, I got through it."

I probably will take this back to my childhood. So I had some learning disabilities when I was young, and it wasn't really identified until I switched schools. And I got really great, glowing report cards on what a joy I was and how engaging I was. That extrovert coming out. But no one really, scholastically kind of evaluated my challenges. So the insurmountable part was I was in my class. I wasn't going to be held back because I'm one of five and we're all a year apart. So there's that nonsense. So while people were playing in the summer and doing things, I had to catch up on, I mean, everything from... Like very basic, just math and reading and comprehension. And it took years. And it was hard because I wasn't achieving like my friends were, because I did like to hang out with the brainy group. Because why not? High achievers. So I still had that going for me.

So it's hard to have a great sense of self. It's frustrating when you're not achieving what you want to. And candidly, it just kind of also fed into insecurities. I didn't really find my voice to speak up and provide my opinion. I'm good at it now. But it didn't happen until I started working. And even then, as I was getting to know whatever business I was in, I was very quiet in the beginning and I held back for fear of, I'm not going to do the right thing. So sometimes it creeps in. But when I was young, it felt completely insurmountable. Am I ever going to achieve? Am I ever going to get the grades I want? The good news is, it happened.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you did it.

Robin Oliver: I did. But it also put me in a really good place with my kids or with others that... You have to recognize. We all have everything, opportunities, and for some, you don't necessarily know how it affects you. But it affected so much. It affected my social engagement. It affected my...

Japhet De Oliveira: It's multifaceted.

Robin Oliver: Yeah. So I think that's...

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good. Hey, that's great. That's great. We actually have time for two more.

Robin Oliver: What?

Japhet De Oliveira: Can you believe it? The last two. So where would you like to go with your last two numbers? Do you want to tell me both of them or one at a time?

Robin Oliver: So I've hit every-

Japhet De Oliveira: Every decade?

Robin Oliver: Every decade? Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think so.

Robin Oliver: I don't know. Do I want to push the envelope and see how far I want to take this?

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm like-

Robin Oliver: All right. I mean, at this point I'm like, I'm all in. So let's go with 97.

Japhet De Oliveira: 97. All right. Tell us about a time when you did the right thing?

Robin Oliver: Can I phone a friend for this? No. I mean, I guess I pause because my goal is to always do the right thing. Whether or not that happens, I mean, I think that's part of my core. So I guess-

Japhet De Oliveira: Is there a time when you did a right thing and it was just very difficult, but you knew it was the right thing?

Robin Oliver: Yeah, I could... Now, I'm like, how much of this do I actually want to share? Okay. I'm just, once again, I'm going to make it a little easier on myself. And it really goes to, or it kind of addresses instinct.

So my son is on the spectrum, super high functioning, but I could... I knew. I knew from the time he was one and a half and he went into preschool and his teachers would pull me aside, and I was like, "Yes. Yes, and." And honestly, it actually is applicable for anyone in our field or even our patients. I was determined and I had to be his advocate, and I had to push. And his pediatrician in the beginning was like, "Oh, no, you know" 'cause I have twins. So my daughter and girls progress. And so he likened it to that. He just said, "Oh no, she's just progressing faster." I'm like, "No." And I knew, so I just would not let up. I was relentless. And then I finally had some support from his preschool teachers, and then finally when I had his kindergarten teacher after the first week saying, and I was like, "Oh, yes. Well aware."

So I knew it was the right thing. It was like climbing an uphill battle. So I think about our patients when they don't know how to navigate the system, and they constantly have to fight, it's like there has to be an easier way. So in that instance, I knew I was right. I knew I had to do it, and I didn't... I mean to put it lightly, I didn't really care who I had to come up against. I'm like, I will light up anyone's phone number and make this happen. And I'm so thrilled. I'm so pleased. I wouldn't say thrilled, but I'm pleased that I did, because I can't imagine where he would be and where we would be, and our family dynamic, had I not.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Being an advocate. Good. Good. Brilliant. Right. Last question, last number. That was 97. Where would you like to go next?

Robin Oliver: That was 97. Well, I'm not going any further than that, Japhet.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. That's fine. That's fine.

Robin Oliver: You're like, "Do you want to throw caution into the wind?" Okay. I'm going to do 25.

Japhet De Oliveira: 25. All right. Quarter. Here we go. It is, oh, share the most beautiful thing that you've ever seen.

Robin Oliver: It's easy. It's my babies. They're the most beautiful thing. And they continue to be the most beautiful thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. It's life-

Robin Oliver: There you go. Okay. Water works. We'll end on that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's beautiful. Well, Robin, thank you.

Robin Oliver: Thank you, Japhet.

Japhet De Oliveira: For your time. Thank you for answering with such honesty and openness and transparency. It's really appreciated. It's good. I want to encourage anyone who's listening to do the same thing. Sit down with a friend or someone you're getting to know. Ask good questions. Listen, learn. You are transformed. I'm transformed. We are both better for it. So thanks again, Robin.

Robin Oliver: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: God bless everybody and we'll connect again soon.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for the Story and Experience podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story and Experience podcast was bought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.