Heather J. MacKenzie: Fortune 10 Executive Transforming Human Connections

Living the life of a powerful Fortune 10 healthcare executive, Heather was the very definition of success. However, she knew that her purpose in life was something greater.

A workplace sexual assault radically shook her world. Rejecting a 7-figure settlement, Heather dove into a new life, focused on how to give voice to the marginalized and so much more!

Share This Inspirational Interview!


Heather MacKenzie

Heather J. MacKenzie

Support The Priority Paradigm

Help us continue to share the stories of amazing people! Please share this interview on social media and consider becoming a patron on Patreon.

Become a Patron


Shea Oliver: Hi, I'm Shea Oliver. Welcome to The Priority Paradigm. These are stories of amazing people have made radical changes in their lives for something more important. Today I'm joined by Heather Mckenzie who is an international speaker and has an amazing story to tell us. So without further ado, would you please, Heather, tell us your story.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Hi Shea, thanks for having me today. Gosh, it's hard to even know where to start in the story. I guess I'll start my pivot point, which came in 2013 specifically October fifth of 2013. I went to an all day conference for senior executives at the company I was in at that time. I came away really struck by the idea that I was here for a much bigger purpose than what I was serving in a Fortune 10 company is an executive and I didn't know what that purpose was at that point, but I opened myself up to the universe and to the possibilities and just said show me this is supposed to be about. And literally from that next month on things just started really radically shifting and changing in my life, and it led me to the point where at the end of 2016, I left a 27 year career in health care to pursue a career as a public international speaker.

Shea Oliver: Wow, that's huge. So in many ways you were kind of living, I guess the American dream. I'm in school. You're headed into a big corporation. And you had a phenomenal job.

Heather J. MacKenzie: I felt like I was issued a prescription from my parents when I was young. And the prescription, you know, read like you will go to college, you will get your first job in corporate, you'll probably get your masters, you'll get married, you'll have 2.5 children and you live this sort of corporate, a mother wife life. And even though I sort of took the prescription from them, I never felt true to myself, and I did, I lived that life for a long time. Although even inside the confines of that, I would say it was pretty unconventional. I have six children that I've raised and raised most of raised them mostly on my own. So I've had them on my own for well over a decade now, and they in and of themselves represents an absolute rainbow with diversity, and I'm really proud to say that all of them are pursuing their passions even though they're still in their twenties. I don't have a single one. At first I didn't give any of them a prescription and second, I think I raised them all too, independent thinkers and to really follow their own passions. So I have, I have a professional Tuba player, a race car driver and Alaskan Fisherman, a Michelin Star Chef, a choreographer, and a model, and an aspiring writer.

Shea Oliver: I didn't hear any major corporations in there.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Not a single one, not a single one. So yeah, I mean, I think, right, as parents, either parents, you know, in the fashion that we were parented or sort of in a 180 and so I tried to give my kids really like a freeform childhood and let them pursue their passions and figure out how they could make money doing it. And I was just, a lot of years behind them, frankly. They've been inspirational to me and were inspirational in me leaving a really strong, successful corporate career to go pursue, the greater good, which is I believe, helping humanity to heal in different ways through the talks that I'm giving all over the world.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. Awesome. What, let's shoot them back a little bit into your corporate life. So 2013 was kind of that point where there was a bit of an awakening where you started to look at something else to happen, and then it took you until 2015 to do it. At that pivot point, what felt wrong about what was going on in the corporate world, or not wrong, but uneasy about where you were.

Heather J. MacKenzie: I think there are several things. One is that incessant drive for profits, I think profit is, is one of the four P's, but it's people, planet, profit purpose is the way I live my life now. And all I was seeing was profits, and it was really damaging in many ways. I was also putting in 70 to 80 hours a week and really not connected to my own children, which is difficult when you're a solo parents of six kids. You really want to be there and be involved with them.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And, it just felt really empty. Like I was asked to make some decisions that didn't feel ethically or morally correct me. And again, this is an industry that I grew up in and companies that are well respected throughout my career. I've been at Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, General Electric, I mean some really big blue chip companies, and you knew something was missing, and I needed to make a change. So I started really in my personal life at the end of 2013. I made a list of all the things I was unhappy with, and how I could start to change them for myself. And, the first was selling my house. I didn't like the neighborhood I was living at the time, sold that house, moved right downtown. So more urban living, which I've, I've always wanted to experience that having a bunch of kids like suburbs is easier.

Heather J. MacKenzie: But doing that, getting a nutritionist really cleaning up my diet and starting to put more focus on exercise, and then I knew the next thing I wanted to change was career, but it was really a difficult thing to do, again, sort of that golden handcuffs with corporate America, and especially when you're as high up the ladder as I was, uh, it makes it really difficult to leave. So the universe I think got tired of giving me little nudges from 2013 and on, and at the end of 2014 I went through a pretty massive sexual assault in the workplace case. And, it was an incident that I had chosen not to report at the moment because we were in the midst of a contract renegotiation with the client, where I was assaulted. And someone else who witnessed it reported it without my permission or my knowledge and it set off just, you know, I don't even know what the right word is. A firestorm, a giant snowball, an avalanche. I'm not sure. but it set off a chain of events that led me to leave corporate America, and branch out and do something else with more purpose.

Shea Oliver: I'm truly sorry that you had to go through that event, and a lot of drama around it in terms of corporations and attorneys and all the things that happen.

Heather J. MacKenzie: There was, and thank you for the apology, but it was actually the biggest blessing of my entire life to go through that experience. I mean, it was a tough, it was an entire year that this went on and again, in the initial stages, it didn't feel like I was, you know, gaining freedom or on the path to something new. And I think that's because it was reported without my knowledge or permission. And that's one of the things I talk about on stage is that for survivors of sexual assault or harassment, whether it's in the workplace or not, reporting it without their knowledge is actually a revictimization. So in the beginning, that's what it felt like that my agency and my voice, if it taken away from me, but over time and it took an entire year to settle all the aspects of this case. Over time I really began to believe that this event was placed in my life, in the time and in the fashion that it was to get me to really turn inward and figure out my purpose in life. And, I'm really happy to report that my purpose came through with great clarity. I am here on this planet. Three reasons, ready to hear them?

Heather J. MacKenzie: So my first purpose is to help as many other human beings feel, genuinely seen, heard, loved, and accepted because I pulled a firm belief that when we as human beings feel those things, all the voices in our head that are saying, am I pretty enough? Am I good enough? Do I have enough money? Am I getting the promotion? Does this person like me? All that stuff goes away and has really quieted when you are genuinely seen heard, loved, and accepted, and it allows you the space to step into the fullness of your own purpose and potential. So that's my life purpose. Number one,

Shea Oliver: That's not enough?

Heather J. MacKenzie: I'm, you know, I'm an overachiever. I graduated college at Nineteen. I raised six kids by myself. I can't, I can't be satisfied with small things. So number two, I'm here. I know that I'm here to connect people, ideas and organizations in meaningful ways that both accelerate their individual missions and co-create new ones in some cases. And so I'm literally connected to people on almost every continent at this point and one of my favorite things is just making those really important connections. And the third reason, my third purpose in life is to give voice, agency and access to the underrepresented and the marginalized in our society, globally. So however I can use my white privilege, I'm going to do it.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. Very, very awesome. Any one of those by themselves is enough, in my opinion, but it's awesome that you've actually focused in on all of this. It's interesting to me that, you know, you were in a place where you were very uncomfortable place where you're trying to change and then the universe pushed something upon you. That really forced you into doing something else. Let me ask a hypothetical question. What if that sexual assault hadn't happened? Where would you be today?

Heather J. MacKenzie: I'd like to think I'd be somewhere close to where I am because I was, the analogy or the picture I think in pictures. A lot of the picture that I carried in my head was me and this really safe a little boat trying to step out and trying to do something bigger and more for a greater good. And I kept just a dip a toe out and I jumped back in the boat and it was really, honestly just because of the financial reasons, you know, having six kids is really expensive and so just making sure that I could provide for all of them by myself. But, I would like to think. I mean, I heard the universe knocking right in 2013. I actually heard it years before, but it was just impossible to even dream or conceive of anything like that, but starting at, you know, five years ago, I knew I was destined for something more. My kids were getting out of the household and grown and raised and so I think it would have been a little easier, so I'd like to think that I would have already left by now, but I probably wouldn't be as far along on the path as I am

Shea Oliver: So, in a lot of ways. It was really an accelerant to what you were already going to do.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Oh yeah. No, it was like the universe was like, no lady, you've got big stuff to do in the world, so let's get going. Let's get it through his thick head right now. It's time for you to go.

Shea Oliver: Stop being stubborn.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Yeah, exactly. And I'm very stubborn. I'm Scottish and stubborn.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. So you continue to say the universe, you know, aligned to push you in this direction or some phrasology like that. How did you, you kind of heard it very clearly. The university came in and, you know, you had a terrible event. How are you hearing it before, if you were saying, you know, you've given it up to the university that was universe was trying to push you what was going on inside of you before the assault that was making you think, "it's not just me, but I need to go," you know, it's more than me. It's, it's a, it is the universe saying I need to do more.

Heather J. MacKenzie: It started well before that. I feel like I've always had please strong divine connection. And so for me, that's my religion is love and it's universal, so I just refer to it as the universe, but however people want to interpret that as their higher power or God or whatever it is. I've just always felt really connected. And from actually 20 years ago this year, I remember very distinctly having this sort of meditative, prayerful moment where I said, you know, what I want most of this world is to be a conduit for the unconditional love and acceptance that I feel. And so I want to help other humans feel as connected and as loved as I feel. And so even 20 years ago, I was saying, you know, make me a conduit, where this stuff just passes through me and pass it onto other people who need it in the universe. And so, I feel like it's been a long time coming, but certainly I had a really strong wake up call, like I said, for me to be able to recall the specific day of the event in 2013. Uh, that was when I got kind of a hard shaking, if you will, a gentle loving but hard shaking. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like something you could do something more than just the a healthcare executive and raise kids.

Shea Oliver: Certainly, well, let's dive back into right around the time where shortly after the sexual assault occurred, you had, you had a lot of choices. I mean, you had a lot of things taken away from you because someone else reported this, but you had a lot of choices. My assumption and what I understand is you probably had a settlement offer, and I think most of us would look at that paycheck. I'm what I'm guessing in that world is probably sizable as an out, as a potential ticket to freedom, especially with six kids in my understanding is you did not take that settlement check. Tell me a little bit more about how you got to the point of saying that not what's important to me. Something else is more important.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Yeah. Honestly, it was almost in a way or another, the universe dragging me along as I'm kicking and screaming and saying, no, I can't do this. It's too hard. It's too scary. But I was, in the end, offered a seven figure settlement from the man who assaulted me. He's a very wealthy and influential man, globally. He's well known.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And, there was something inside my body that said no. And over the course of the year that this case went on, I had gone on a deep dive of healing and working with a lot of different types of healing modalities. I'm EFP or EFT rather, NLP, EMDR, somatic body work, Hakomi work, all sorts of different things that really got me in touch with my own body. Traumas lives in our bodies, our minds actually. And so having that mind body connection strengthened allowed me to receive that signal pretty clearly when I got the settlement offer and actually went away for the weekend with my meditation coach who before. This case, I never would even considered having a meditation. I thought this was all like crap for hippies, but now I am a Hippie, so it's great. I'm not mad about it, but we went away.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And, do you remember having those little, the magic eight ball when you were kids, you'd asked that question, right? So she, I jokingly refer to her as my magic eight ball for that weekend because we, we dropped into meditation when we got to our destination and very quickly and very clearly, I got two messages that were frankly a little disturbing to me. The first message said, your silence is not for sale. And the second message said, you have to forgive this man, publicly forgive him. And so, you know, I shook the eight ball And I was like, no, that's not the right answer. Let's ask the question again because, you know, seven figures as a life changing amount of money for anyone and especially for a single mom, but repeatedly over about a 24 hour period, the message was very clear and strong.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And so, I came back to Denver and met with my attorneys and said, you know, I just, I can't take this money. My silence isn't for sale. I don't know how I'm supposed to use this story in the world for good. But I know I am. And keep in mind, this was before our current political climate was in place. This is the end of 2015. There was though the #metoo movement hadn't started. The Time's Up movement hadn't started. So I really had no inkling of what was to come in terms of survivors of sexual harassment and assault, beginning to speak out. But I knew that it was important to tell that story. And more importantly, for my own sake, I needed to forgive this person. And so that one took me a few days. I'm not gonna lie, but after about three days time of really thinking and reflecting and honestly seeing the man who assaulted me as a young child and wondering what harm had been done to him that caused him to turn out this way because he is someone who's married with daughters, allowed me to write this letter to him.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And, I sent the letter to my attorneys. He came into their offices and read the letter in front of them. I was not there for it, but I was told that he seemed very thoughtful, as he was reading it and took his time and read it over and over and then folded it up and put it in his suit, coat pocket and walked out. And that was the end

Shea Oliver: So was forgiving him for him or for you?

Heather J. MacKenzie: For me, for sure. Definitely for me. I mean, I hope there's something that came of it for him. I encouraged him in the letter that I wrote him, to look inward and to look at the things in his life that had brought him to this place. During my case as it unwound six other women stepped forward to say that this man has harassed or assaulted them as well, which is honestly, I hate to say it, but the norm.

Heather J. MacKenzie: These guys don't typically do things once, you know, they're repeat offenders. I think that they're, one of my favorite phrase, but I use it a lot in my work is hurt people, hurt people. And so he was obviously a hurt person, and I don't know how or when or what happened to him, but for him to be so egregious, and to take so many liberties, if you will, and to treat women in this misogynistic way that he does or did. Hopefully it's, did not, does, you know, something happened early on that led him to believe that these behavior patterns were acceptable or, or perhaps he was running away from something and this was the only way to kind of escape his own pain. So it was mostly for me, but I hope that he got something out of it.

Shea Oliver: I hope so. Hopefully that was it.

Shea Oliver: So as you went through this shortly after the news broke and things began to roll, were most people saying take the money that you are close to friends, family that you were talking to or did you have friends? I guess I should ask first. I assume you had friends and family you were talking to. What were they telling you to do?

Heather J. MacKenzie: The case ended up taking, really, it was 12 months from the time that the initial assault happened until we said goodbye so to speak, and in that time I cocooned myself pretty tightly. I wasn't letting a lot of people in. Part of it was to preserve my own energy for the case and for the litigation, and some of it was because I just didn't want too many thoughts and opinions. Again, I went on this fantastic healing journey that year, and I needed to learn that or how to listen to myself and my own intuition. I've always been an intuitive person, but I think a lot of it just got buried by the busyness of life and the stress of corporate America and parenting and everything else. And so this was a really unique opportunity for me to spend a year, know I won't say like in solitude, it wasn't, you know, a month in the mountains, but I really focused inward and listen to that intuition.

Heather J. MacKenzie: I didn't have a small group of folks around me. I'm, and I'm, I know that they're the right people to be around me because they said do what feels right in your heart. Right. so, I mean, I have a tremendous tribe of folks around me in my life, my attorneys at the end, we're saying take the money, you know, that was their professional opinion. And, yeah. And I respect, I respect their opinion greatly. And we actually did end up in a spot at the very end where, I took a few months of salary from him and in exchange I won't name my employer, I won't name him, I won't name his employer, but I can still go out and tell the story. So that's, that's what's most important. I have no, desire or need to publicly shame or humiliate this man. His actions are between him and his creator, whoever that is for him, and I'm just, I just want to use this story for good and to inspire and empower others to stand up and take control of their own lives.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. So as you went through this process of taking that year and then have the meditation weekend where things really began to hit. What's the biggest thing that changed inside of you?

Heather J. MacKenzie: There are two massive shifts that happened that year. And, there absolutely life changing. The first was that I shifted from a mindset of scarcity to abundance. And so instead of always grasping at things and thinking I don't have enough, I was able, you know, not 100 percent, I still have days that I worry about things, but, but learning to look around me and just see the abundance that I have in the blessings that I have and knowing that as long as I walk in my purpose, things are gonna work out. That was a huge shift, and the other shift was from fear to love. So instead of, you know, walking through life, fearful of what was going to happen next. I've had a frankly very trauma filled life. And it's part of why, you know, my signature keynote now on stage is about childhood trauma and early life experiences and how they shape you for the rest of your life. And until you become aware of them and choose to make a shift in your brain patterning, they will absolutely govern you for the rest of your life. And I was governed from this spot of both fear and scarcity. One of my favorite mantras that came out of this period of healing was "where we grip, we suffer" Think about that. Cool, right? Like whatever we're gripping onto, whether it's an identity, a relationship, an income, a job, whatever it is. When we grip so hard and so fiercely, it's really, it's just us who are hurt and so learning how to live. I've tried to make a shift to go from living life with closed fists to open palms that whole possibility. And I'm not perfect at it. It's a, it's an ever evolving process, but it's been a really beautiful blessing too. Try to start letting go of some of that stuff.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. That's fantastic. So as a father, as a parent myself, how do you teach this to your kids this? Well, let me, let me take a step back. They saw a shift in you, I'm guessing over that year.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Oh, I mean I went from this sort of type AAA corporate executive on cell phones, you know, filled with importance over every crisis. I was solving, you know, my team and I at that point where managing a billion dollar a year clients. So no small potatoes. I'm managing business across 24 P&Ls with about 250 people on the team. So there are a lot of moving parts and pieces and I'm the pattern that emerged for me that I discovered in doing this deep dive of healing that year was that I am frankly addicted to chaos. I love chaos because I feel competent in chaos. So my, my early patterning was around chaos and I learned that from a very young age how to manage it. And so whatever patterns we lay down in early childhood, you know, 90 percent of brain development happens before the age of five.

Heather J. MacKenzie: So whatever those neuropathways are that get connected, the brain naturally seeks to reinforce those as we become older. And every time you reinforce them you get kind of a little, a little hit, right? That feels good. And so I had to learn how to unpattern myself from chaos and it wasn't easy, but I feel like I've, you know, I'm 80 percent there. You know, now that the chaos comes in smaller doses. But yeah, it was really learning that for myself first. And understanding my own patterns and which ones I wanted to shift.

Shea Oliver: How did your kids react as you were rolling through this change, going from super corporate executive to a little bit more withdrawn?

Heather J. MacKenzie: Yeah, I mean, I think it freaked them out to be honest, right? Because they saw me as who I was for so many years. I have to say they were all tremendously and to this day are still tremendously supportive of this shift and have this career change and they've all come back and said, you know, we knew that you were destined for something way bigger than what you were doing. And it's super cool to watch you now stepping onto international stages and affecting thousands and thousands of people is really exciting. But again, I think it freaked them out. Right? Because kids, for as much as they grow up and mature, I believe that they still have fundamental needs. We all do. But you know, when you had mentioned that your parents, so you know, when they're babies you swaddle them real tightly and that makes them feel safe and secure.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And there are certain things throughout a child's life that continue to make them feel safe and secure once they've outgrown the little blankets. And so for my kids, you know, the structure of this is what my mom does, this is where we live, this is how we live, this is how she approaches life. All of that really came unraveled in a lot of ways, in a lot of positive ways. But for them, I know the process for the ones I still had at home, I only had two of the six still living at home at that time. The rest are grown and gone, but very connected. I talked to my kids like every day. I think it was a scary process. So I tried to be there to say, I know this feels foreign and different. It does to me too. But there's something greater on the other side of this. And in the end they have all in one shape or form said to me that watching that transformative process really gave them courage and areas of their own lives to go out and do things that they might not have done. You know, I have kids who have chosen really unconventional careers and paths not frequented by many. My oldest one wanted to go to a music conservatory for college and he ended up not just at any old one, but the very best one in the United States with a four percent acceptance rate. And he graduated top of his class, but the voices all around, which were primarily my family of origin, we're saying, man, he better get a business degree with that music degree. He's not gonna, you know, musicians don't make money. This is gonna work. And I really did my best to create a container of psychological safety that the best way I can describe it was to like put this thing up in front of or around him to keep those voices of negativity and doubt away and just say, you can do this and if this is what you want to do with your life, if you want to be the best tuba player in the world, go and do that.

Heather J. MacKenzie: And you know what? That kid had his Carnegie Hall debut at Twenty Four Years Old, got a full ride for his master's in music and he is currently, at the age of just 28, he is one of only six military music arrangers in the entire United States military around the world. So you can do it, you know, we can all do it. It's just having, both your own self confidence, and I think having that, having the people around you, they're going to be cheerleaders and encouragers, you know, while keeping it real, right. You know, you can't live with your head in the clouds. But I think it was a huge influence on each of my children as they've chosen their respective unusual career path to sort of keep those voices at bay. My fifth son decided to leave college and become a racecar driver and he is, he's been one for a couple of years now, but I'll never forget. I was telling my cousin and his wife who were close to my son, I was saying, you know, oh, he's made this decision. And like, it's amazing to me that he's just, and, he's been into cars since he was two years old, this is native genius. And their response was to literally gasp, you know, and they were like, oh my God, you must be so horrified. This is. Oh my God, I can't believe he's leaving college as junior. I'm like, horrified? I'm proud of him! This is, are you kidding me? This is great. You know, he's decided, I don't want to be a mechanical engineer. I want to go race cars. Go do it buddy. Like, you know what I mean? It's, it's super cool. But I think a lot of people have those voices, whether they're in their own heads or coming from close friends and family that keep us trapped in places that we don't want to be right? Because they're just telling us, you know, even if even in loving ways you can't do this or you shouldn't do this. And what I've, I've come to learn for myself. What I've tried to impart to my children is that a lot of times those people are simply projecting their own fears onto us. We are the people that have chosen the path less walked and something really unconventional and I think when certain people hear stories like ours, like mine and of, of my children, it both strikes a chord of fear in some way, and also, I don't want to say jealousy because it's not really jealousy, but it's just this idea of like, oh, what could I do do differently? Or what could I, how could my life look different? How can I be a model or a race car driver or a Tuba player or in Alaskan fisherman or whatever. Right? Like, how could I go do that? And so, you know, when we are confronted, a lot of us, when we're confronted with fear, we tend to, we try to push back on it and move it away from us rather than welcoming in and really trying to figure out what lesson fears trying to teach us. And so I think that those of us who are walking in unconventional path or frequently confronted by that, you can't do that or you shouldn't be doing that or that's irresponsible. And it just comes from people I think, who have their own unrequited feelings of walking a different path inside them.

Shea Oliver: So if you were to be sitting down with somebody who said what you just said, you know, I'm down, I'm on this normal path, I'm on this, you know, doing what I'm supposed to. I'm the mechanical engineer here, but it's not what I want to do. What I really want to do is ABC, how do you, what advice would you give them? How would you encourage them and what would you tell them to do?

Heather J. MacKenzie: I think that most the most helpful thing that we can each do for ourselves is to take that inward dive and to really understand yourself, to increase your self awareness, to understand the patterns that are driving you in your life, and then once you have that awareness, then you get to make a choice. Do I want to shift? Do I want to integrate past traumas that are maybe ruling the way that I move through the world right now? And you don't have to. There are plenty of really high functioning people with a significant amount of trauma. I know this because I was one of them, right, so you don't have to make that choice, but I think that's the most important step that a person can take to really look inward and start to think about the things that motivate and drive you and the mark that you want to leave on this world. If you want to leave one again, not anymore, but he wants to. And that's okay too. I think the most important thing is just living a radically authentic, transparent and vulnerable life because the end, to me, the thing that's more important than whether you're, you know, a race car driver or a public speaker or, or you are a CPA in an office for 30 years of your life. The most important thing is human connection for all of us. It's what drives us. It's what holds us together as families and clans and societies. And, I think once you're really connected with yourself, that allows you to have genuine connection with others.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. That's fantastic. I love that. Okay, so you've been on a hell of a journey no other way to say it, but you've been on journey.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Let me just say like, it's not been fun and games, peaches and cream, whatever, you know, turn of phrase you want to use. There have been many moments and they're still are when this journey is terrifying. When I, when I sort of digging my heels and say I don't want, I don't want another transformation, I just kind of just be the butterfly that I am right now. No new set of wings time. So I don't want to misrepresent and say like I lived this totally zen, peaceful, meditative life and money just pours in when I asked for it and but I wouldn't trade it. I wouldn't trade it. Like I've made some really cool connections and relationships throughout this journey, most importantly with myself, but then with other people that I don't think I ever would have had if I'd stayed in that sort of traditional path.

Shea Oliver: So if you had a chance to go back and talk to that 19-year-old college graduate, that was you, what would you tell them?

Heather J. MacKenzie: You know, I, I would encourage her to be true to herself and to have the strength to stand up and say this is not my path. You know, there were the only times in my life that I've ever gotten into trouble so to speak, were when I ignored my intuition, so I knew a life in corporate America wasn't for me at 19, but I did it. I actually knew that the man I married was not who I was supposed to marry. I had a moment in the back of the church and my dress like, I shouldn't be doing this, but you have 250 people in the church and it's your childhood sweetheart. And all the family is on both sides. So excited. I adopted a child from India in 1994. And the moment I laid eyes on her, I traveled to India to get her, but I knew I wasn't supposed to adopt her. And I did. And I ended up having to give her up two years later. So any of those times that I've ignored that voice inside myself have been when those choices have kind of come back to bite me in different ways. So I would have encouraged my 19 or 20 year old self to really pay attention to your intuition. Again, the body holds all the knowledge that we need. We hold everything inside ourselves that we need. I think we just are either trained by society or parents or other people close to us to shut that out and to follow the path that most go on.

Shea Oliver: Your story is fascinating when I really, really appreciate you taking this time with you.

Heather J. MacKenzie: Thank you. Same.

Shea Oliver: What question did I forget to ask you?

Heather J. MacKenzie: Oh Gosh. Yeah. I don't know. I mean, I guess, I'll share just again, like the idea of being open to the universe and what it holds is phenomenal to me. I just completed a month-long speaking tour in Australia. It all came together. Yeah, it was amazing. I spoke at 20 gigs in 11 cities in 28 days.

Shea Oliver: It's pretty brutal.

Heather J. MacKenzie: It was, it was a hell of a schedule for sure, and the whole thing came together in less than three weeks. Like they didn't send my plane ticket till 72 hours before I was going to leave and I'm kind of a planner by nature. I'm part of that is my own trauma background of feeling safe and secure when I know where I'm going, what I'm seeing, what I'm doing, what things look like, having everything laid out for me and just that phenomenal opportunity came out of the blue and I just said yes. So I think, I think it's really cool what can happen when we just say yes and, and see what unfolds. And so as a result of that, I'm already now preparing for my second tour. I have an agent in Australia now and I'm going back in three weeks and you know, I feel like I'm on the path to creating a different life for myself even beyond an unconventional career at this point to one where I'm gonna live half the year in another country in half the year back in the US. And so it all started with just saying yes,

Shea Oliver: Very, very, very cool. So if somebody wants to know a little bit more about you, whether there in the United States or in Australia, do you have a website or different resources that could find more out about you?

Heather J. MacKenzie:  I do. My website's undergoing a massive renovation, but it's still up. It's just a little outdated at this point, but my website is just my name. So it's heather j Mackenzie m a C K E N Z I e Dot Com. So just heatherjmakenzie.com. You can follow me on twitter and on Insta you'll find me at heather underscore j underscored Mac, Mac, k on both those platforms and of course I'm on Linkedin and also have a facebook page.

Shea Oliver: Awesome. Very awesome. Heather, I really, really, really appreciate your time today. This has been a phenomenally awesome conversation for me. I love getting to know you and I'm know. I know that there's a lot of people that are gonna listen to this and be very inspired by your story. It's really phenomenal. So thank you very much for sharing.

Heather J. MacKenzie: I'm happy to share. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your project.

Shea Oliver: Thank you very much.

Help Share The Stories of Real-Life Heroes.

Become a Patron