In my own words ...
“Sometimes things not going to plan, is the plan”
When I was 22, I had what I can only call, my 'quarter life' crisis. I felt like I had done everything 'right' - did well at school, graduated from University, got the job, married my high school sweetheart, travelled and brought a house. Only thing left on the list was kids and although desperately wanted, I still felt like I wasn't ready just yet.
What followed was a lot of reading and time out and soul searching. What did I want to do with my life? I didn't want to take away any of what I had already done, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was being pulled to be part of something bigger than myself. What I realised was that it was more important to work out how I wanted to feel about my life rather than what I wanted to do with my life. Two words kept surfacing for me - create and contribute. Words that sat with me for a long time. What I didn't know then is that it would take the way my children chose to come into the world to set into motion a new agenda for my life and the creation of Miracle Babies Foundation. It hasn't been an easy journey. I have a Science degree so I had to learn how to run a charity from scratch, attracting the most amazing people along the way you saw my vision and made it their own. Then taking the Foundation from local to national to global and beyond anything I thought possible in a way that completely showed that although you need to be clear on what you want, you also need to not be attached to the way it shows up.
Official bio ...
Showing that you can overcome adversity to impact change, Melinda Cruz is the award winning founder of Miracle Babies Foundation. She is a published researcher, influencer and expert international speaker on topics such as not for profit start up and social entrepreneurship, health and consumer advocacy, and how being resilient can help to live a life of inspired action.
Starting the Foundation in 2005 after her own experience of having three premature babies, the incredible difference Melinda has made to thousands along with her impact as a successful entrepreneur has seen her win numerous awards including the 2011 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and be a regular guest on radio, TV, podcasts and speaker at national and international conferences. In 2013 she was inducted into the Australian Businesswomens Hall of Fame and was a 2015 NSW Woman of the Year - Premiers Award finalist.
She is a trusted consumer expert to medical professionals seeking to improve treatments and understanding of premature and sick babies and the impact a birth has on the family unit. In 2012, she was awarded the title of Honorary Research Associate by the University of Sydney, Medical School and was the first parent to be invited as an Associate Investigator (2012) and a Chief Investigator (2019) on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded neonatal trial.
In 2014, Melinda joined the Perinatal Society of Australia & New Zealand's (PSANZ) Consumer Advisory Panel as the inaugural Chair and accepted a position on the PSANZ Clinical Trials executive committee.
In 2015, she joined the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank Advisory Committee helping to establish the first national Human Breastmilk Bank.
In 2016, she was asked to join the NHMRC Clinical Trials Ready Development Committee and in 2017 and 2018, was part of two award-winning global trials improving the lives of millions of premature newborns. In 2019, she was the inaugural winner of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) Consumer Involvement Award.
To date, Melinda has co-authored 9 medical publications and is a contributor to THRIVE Global.
Having never run before and taking on a challenge from the then CEO of Bankwest, Melinda ran the New York City Marathon with him and 17 others raising more than $230,000 for Miracle Babies.
For the third year in a row, she is an EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Judge and Melinda is currently working on her first solo book.