‘Quiet Disruptor.’ Nothing prepared me for the response to this phrase when I started using it in the summer of 2018. It was supposed to be a simple way to introduce myself to a new online community with  Bernadette Jiwa.

Instead it appeared to stir hope and permission for many who didn’t fit the boxes currently on offer in our culture. Their first reaction was to ‘try it on for size’ rather than ask what it meant. Which was helpful, because at that time I probably didn't have a clue…

Who are the new Quiet Disruptors?

Great question, with two easy answers:

  • Those who think they are…
  • Those who look like they are…

Those who inhabit the generous space of being value driven, quiet and disruptive. Who are relieved that at last they can find their voice and use it, in a way that is congruent with who they are. Making a beautiful ruckus about things that are important to them.

It’s a paradox whose time has surely come. Thoughtful changemakers who bring fresh eyes, new ideas and more heart. Who make better connections and influence the culture around them, because it’s not about them.

They push boundaries, connect things together, ask difficult questions and come up with solutions that others haven’t even thought about. And they can be persistent, focused and generous - and they need space to function well.

This might not have been the answer you were expecting. The issue is that there’s no box - just a space with fuzzy edges, that can be stretched to benefit us all.

Who am I?

My name is Sue Heatherington and I work with people, businesses and organisations with a purpose, helping them make sense of where they are and navigate forward, often into new territory. I am also the founder of Quiet Disruptors.

I was privileged to be an NHS chief exec in the 2000s, impacting the lives of many people in England and Wales. My way of leading appears to have inspired others to find new ways of creating change together, including in mental health, emergency care and use of information technology. And the legacy continues in people who are now leaders in healthcare in the UK and beyond.

After leaving the NHS I qualified as an advanced professional coach in Switzerland. I now work with a wide range of leaders and organisations as an organisational strategist, which draws on my unusual breadth of experience prior to working in healthcare.

My innovative first degree in International Development, combined with my masters in Agricultural Economics and led to early research on farm diversification. Subsequently, I worked in education, small business management, marketing and church leadership among others. I’ve now come full circle and run our 40-acre valley with my husband, Steve, where we also breed alpacas and care for Jules, my brother with Downs.

The Waterside is our company and Quiet Disruptors is our community.

PS If you are interested, you can read more about me here  
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