Latest From Spotlight News- Interview with Heather Hartnett

Heather Hartnett, graduate of Maharishi School and of Maharishi University of Management, recently found herself in an extraordinary situation, sitting face to face with Ringo Starr, carrying out an interview with him. This took place at the recent “Change Begins Within Concert”, featuring him and his former Beatles buddy, Paul McCartney. She confided to us that during that interview with Ringo, she found herself smiling inside and thinking, “How on earth did I get here?”

Maharishi School Newsroom talked to Heather about her educational background and the events in her life leading up to her exciting career break as Director of Communications for the newly launched David Lynch Foundation Television–DLF.TV.

MSN: Heather, what brought you to Maharishi School?

HH: My father visited the school when I was two years old and saw how radiant and happy the children were. He told himself that he wanted that for his children. He brought my older sister and I here, enrolled us in preschool and Kindergarten and we grew-up here.

MSN: Did you enjoy school?

HH: Yes, I have wonderful memories of elementary school. I don’t think many kids can say that. The teachers were very ‘hands-on’, emphasizing the importance of individual expression and always exercising our creativity.

MSN: What do you feel you gained and took away with you from your education?

HH: One of the biggest things I took away from my school experience was a feeling of being part of a wonderful community. Everyone in this school feels close to one another and cares about each other in a profound way.  Personal growth is a big priority among the teachers and the students–even at an early age. A certain camaraderie develops when you all genuinely care about each other’s personal growth.

The staff and faculty really cared about each student’s well-being as well. That makes a big difference about how you approach learning. When you have fond memories of your high school years, you want to keep in touch with your teachers and friends.  Most people dread their high school reunions, but we try to get together much more often than the typical five or ten year reunions.

MSN: How do you think Maharishi School compares with other high schools?

HH: I think there is a big difference between most high schools and Maharishi School. The value of allowing the kids to have silence twice a day cultures a coherent and even learning environment. The teachers at Maharishi School encourage you to aim high in your goals and aspirations. The learning environment nurtures the students to have a strong sense of Self. There is a lot of interaction with the local community that allows self-confidence to develop and for the students to find their own voice. This certainly helps graduates to have a strong sense of direction when going into college. All of these things make Maharishi School unique.

MSN: How did you feel about practicing Transcendental Meditation every day at school?

HH: Growing up with TM in the school routine felt very natural and enjoyable. Starting and ending the day with silence was a key component of my education and set the tone for the rest of my life. I still practice TM and yoga in my daily routine. I think it is easy for me to maintain a balanced lifestyle because the importance of a healthy routine was ingrained in me from early on. 

MSN: Why did you choose to go to MUM?

HH: The last three years of my high school were abroad, and I had a strong desire to come back to be in this uplifting environment. MUM seemed like a great option for me to be able to focus on a traditional academic curriculum and still be able to maintain a healthy routine. Some college environments are not conducive to gaining rest and focusing on personal growth while learning.

MSN: What did you major in?

HH: I majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Communication. The program was great and encouraged me to be very active with the student body.

MSN: How involved were you in the student activities?

HH: All of the students were so fantastic it made me want to be very involved. I participated in Student Government all four years and became president of the Student Body my senior year because I felt it was the best way to get to know everyone.

MSN: How did you find the courses in your major?

HH: The Business program at MUM has a strong entrepreneurial focus.  The classes prepared me to be a leader and an innovative thinker. I came out feeling that I could do anything my heart desired and that I could step outside the mold.

MSN: What path did you take after leaving MUM?

HH: My initial thought was to go on to graduate school after I finished undergrad. Then the opportunity came about to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. I felt this would further prepare me for my direction and would solidify what I knew of Maharishi’s knowledge before I went out into the world. I became a TM Teacher and taught for a year and a half working with the David Lynch Foundation.

MSN: Where did you teach TM?

HH: I participated in a pilot school project in Berkeley, CA, where TM was introduced into schools for students who were suffering from ADD and ADHD.

MSN: What effect did working on these projects have on you?

HH: It was great to see the positive impact TM had on the student’s lives. The success of the pilot program gave hope that TM could be implemented in more schools around the world. It became one of my passions, to bring inner happiness to others.

MSN: What other passions do you have?

HH: I love working with people, communicating a positive message and contributing to social change. I think our generation has a lot to offer, and I hope to participate in bringing about a positive change in anyway that I can.

MSN: Did you do any work other than teaching TM towards this goal?

HH: Since graduating from college, I worked in a Venture Capital firm in San Francisco and with Google Earth in Boston, but I missed the simplicity and the feeling of living in Fairfield.

MSN: How did you end up coming back here?

HH: My little sister wanted to come to Maharishi School. She was just entering the trying years of high school and wasn’t fulfilled at her previous school. She felt very overwhelmed with the rigorous routine and the social pressures that inevitably come with being a teenager. She remembered visiting at Maharishi School a few times over the past few years and how nourishing it was. She said it felt like a family at school. It made an impression on her and she made the decision to come move–a big decision for a 15 year old! Since my parents live in North Carolina and weren’t able to move, I wanted to support her desire and moved back to live with her.

MSN: What is your present work and how did you get into it?

HH: I work for David Lynch Foundation Television (DLF.TV), as the Director of Communications. DLF.TV is the production wing and online TV Channel for the David Lynch Foundation.

MSN: You are now very successful and busy in your new job, why do you think you are so successful and how do you stay so balanced?

HH:  I am always striving to be better at what I do and learn along the process. If you are able to continue to grow and enjoy your work, I consider that success. My father always taught me that enjoying what you do and keeping your heart in what you do is most important for success. Giving 200% to all of your undertakings and not working just for money but believing wholeheartedly in what you are striving for is, in fact, the goal. I think a key aspect of enjoying what I do is surrounding myself with positive individuals who support growth and do not bring in any negativity. Be around people who inspire ideas, who are team players and are genuinely happy people. Creativity only thrives in such an environment.

It is always important to keep an established routine that allows for rest. There is always more to do, so we have to prioritize rest no matter what, to stay happy and successful.

MSN: What do you consider is the most important thing in life?

HH: To enjoy, to surround yourself with people who allow you to enjoy, and to put yourself in a situation where you can give to others.

MSN: If you could tell President Obama anything, what would it be?

HH: I would thank him for not underestimating the youth of the world. This is an age that is becoming more free from stresses and there is a lot to be learned from the up-coming youth. When giving, you are most happy. A key example is here in Fairfield, where President Obama visited. He recognized what our town has to offer.  I would tell him to look at what it is that makes it different, to watch what the David Lynch Foundation is doing– what TM is doing to transform kid’s lives. I would ask him to analyze what makes these kids happy at their core.

MSN: Thank you Heather!