Hamish Firth – Director Mt Hobson Group, and Parnell resident, interviews Jay Harrison, founder and CEO of Edison Healthcare in Parnell.
As published in The Hobson, May 2021.
About Hamish Firth
When I started my career path, to be honest I had no idea what I was hoping to achieve – and some say I still don’t. However, I love the “deal”, in our case taking a concept, getting approvals and seeing it completed. We are long forgotten when the roof shout comes around but love pointing out the changes to our great city and country.
I would really love Parnell to be a place to call home for more people.
I am frustrated about the lack of accountable leadership in Auckland that should understand the issues and address them, knowing that the pathway in a public forum is not a simple solution. This goes for most of our infrastructure. It feels that drains, sea walls and water supply are not great photo opportunities, so they don’t get the funds they need.
I am loving seeing all parts of New Zealand at the moment, but if I had to pick my first trip overseas again it would be another look at Tokyo – for the people, the culture and the sheer scale of the place. Now that’s a city that knows how to plan and get things done! I would also like to walk the Camino de Santiago one day – a 1000km pilgrimage through Spain.
On the local level, I’m a very amateur bee-keeper who has two hives at home which produced 82 kgs of sweet honey this year.
Ultimately though, watching my four children progress from little babies to young children, is something I’m most proud of and is mostly a joy to behold. Having my health and happiness, a simple life well lived is my definition of success.
Hamish: Jay, where did you grow up?
Jay: I grew up on the small towns and beaches of the far north. I loved it, a carefree childhood.
Hamish: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was that when you’re starting out, a good attitude beats good aptitude. Learn from the best, by listening, watching and following. Be prepared to be an intern and work for free to have an opportunity to work with great people. I’ve always been inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary and think that success is built on hard work, a little luck and acknowledging achievements.
Tell us a bit about your personal journey and what led you to be the founder of such a truly unique healthcare clinic?
Jay: I’ve been in health for 20 years. Couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’m a tech geek too so always imagined an experience that would use technology, Star Trek like science and a beautiful environment to help people achieve the inherent and epic potential of the human body.
Hamish: You talk about precision healthcare, what do you mean?
Jay: Precision medicine/healthcare is an approach to healthcare which is preventive in essence. We use DNA insights, along with a variety of clinical health assessments and ongoing check-ups, to create actionable healthcare advice that’s personalised to our clients.
Hamish: What made you choose Parnell to set up Edison?
Jay: In my mind Parnell has a very established ‘chic’ coolness to it. We’ve been in Parnell since 2018 and the vibe has definitely been building. I love St Georges Bay Road.
Hamish: I agree, I often think of Parnell as a little village. The Domain, Parnell Baths and a great place to live, work and play. I have lived here for decades. I see the Parnell community as diverse, involved and dedicated. And very few people seem to move out of Parnell once they land here.
I have spent many a night having fun at the old VBG, Iguacu, Ricks Blue Falcon and the Windsor Castle. I love all the classics at NSP and often enjoy stunning curries from Oh Calcutta. What about you?
Jay: I love good coffee! The girls at La Cigale make a good drop and Red Rabbit has a pretty epic reputation.
Hamish: One of my favourite spots in Parnell is the bush walk that comes up through the Domain from Stanley St. There are times, with the stream tumbling beside you that you feel you are deep in the Waitakere Ranges. Tranquil, yet surreal. I also love the botanical gardens and the fernery, watching the Port from Fred Amber lookout and the little secret pocket parks that all link up.
But one of my best de-stress options is riding my bicycle, which I use almost exclusively now to get to meetings. When I am cycling back up Parnell Rise from a tedious council meeting, (combined with the effort of getting up the hill), the stress seems to disappear.
What do you witness in terms of the impact of stress on many of the professionals you interact with?
Jay: Great question – Stress refers to the running of a system at a level beyond where it was meant to operate. We humans did not evolve to lead the lives that most of us lead. Lives of fast food and sugar-laden diets, and late nights staring at glowing screens.
One needs to take a proactive approach. We are a very new concept in healthcare, and we are very early in our lifecycle, but we are noticing massive demand for our services. Our clients are amazing, health-conscious people who deeply understand the importance of proactively investing in their health and wellness – holistically; mentally, physically and spiritually.
Hamish: Watching Parnell through 2020 and Covid, I reckon we must be grateful to long term experienced landlords and for tenants who have nursed their way through this crisis. It has brought us closer and made us cherish what we love about this great place. What do you think Covid has changed – for yourself and your business?
Jay: It’s obviously been stressful at times but it’s validated our purpose as an organisation. Our mission is super simple; we’re on a mission to help humans live better, longer lives. COVID has put health and wellness front and central for the entire planet.
Hamish: What would you like to see in Parnell that we don’t yet have?
Jay: A bigger Edison Clinic of course!
Hamish: What’s your definition of success?
Jay: Freedom. Living life in amazing health on my terms.
Hamish: A favourite way of spending my free time is simply by the pool or on the water with my children. What is yours?
Jay: We love doing new things. Travel, cultures, experiences and adventures. I want to learn to fly and build (with wood)
Hamish: in closing Jay, what’s something not many people reading this would know about you?
Jay: I’m deeply fascinated by the nature of reality. I thoroughly enjoy journeying down wormholes exploring quantum mechanics, consciousness and occult sciences.