Compassionate Leadership, Wellbeing, and Multiple Sclerosis: Chatting With Amanda Parish

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11 September 2023

Reading Time: 2 minutes

She’s had a remarkable career across several leadership roles at Contact Energy, Fisher and Paykel, and Northern Rescue Helicopters, but her success in business is only one of the reasons why television and radio journalist Rachel Smalley wants to learn more about Amanda Parish. 

Watch the full interview below to see Rachel talk to Amanda Parish about her influential leadership roles, powerlifting, her MS diagnosis and feeling gratitude for turbulent times. This is the second of a seven part interview series for WOMAN, where Rachel will be uncovering extraordinary stories from a handful of exceptional kiwi women. Each has their own unique story to tell. Watch Amanda’s full interview below. 

Amanda Parish was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when her son was just three months old – the catalyst for the diagnosis being a strange sensation when showering. “It’s funny what you remember actually. I was shaving my legs and I thought ‘Oh, that feels weird, it feels numb.’’ Amanda went to the doctor and received the MS diagnosis not long after, finally providing her with the answers she had been waiting for. 

“I went home, told my mum and dad, my now ex husband – people cried, I didn’t. I think for me, it was a relief to have a label. Because over the years, there have been migraines, there had been excessive tiredness and fatigue, there had been needing to withdraw from people at certain times, there had been deep depression, there had been some unusual kind of thinking patterns and things like that. And so with that label, I immediately went, cool, I know what it is. Now, what do I need to do?” 

Amanda uses her powerlifting passion as a way to show the chronic disease who’s boss, by taking care of her physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. “Every time I step into the gym, and I lift something heavy, it’s basically me telling my diagnosis ‘you don’t control me.’” 

“What do I love about powerlifting? It’s many things. I think it appeals to the part of me that’s quite goal driven and believes that I can control my destiny and work towards a plan. It’s up to me, and it’s my choice to put the work in.” 

Throughout all her challenges with Multiple Sclerosis, Amanda manages to maintain a positive relationship with the disease, and likens it to her shadow. 

“If you offered to take my MS away from me, I wouldn’t take you up on it. There are attributes to myself now that I don’t think would have been there without it. So I have a sense of gratitude towards my MS because it lets me explore parts of myself and how I see the world and I appreciate other people’s struggles and other people’s strengths more than I ever would have on my own.” 

Listen to the full audio version here:

Filming of Interview and Images by LUKE HARVEY

Related Article: Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week: Liz Gasson On Living Life With MS

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