Kath Harris, the 308th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is guided by two core values.

The first is freedom. Kath values autonomy and the opportunity to live her life in a way that aligns with her personality and strengths. That partly explains why she founded her own business, Kath Harris Human Resources, in 2016. Being her own boss allows Kath to be selective about the kind of clients and projects she accepts.

Kath’s second core value is connection. She’s a warm, outgoing person who gets energised by being around others. Working in HR gives Kath the opportunity to mix with a diverse range of people and help them achieve positive outcomes.

Years ago, a colleague told Kath she did “HR with heart”. That reflects Kath’s belief in connection. And it explains why she wants the freedom to do HR in a way that’s more human-centred than the traditional model.

One of the interesting ideas we discussed over lunch was flexibility. Life is rarely black and white, so it can make sense to change plans and policies depending on an employee’s personality and scenario. But if you do that, guidelines can become blurred and double standards may emerge.

Another interesting discussion point was the complexity of humans. Like an iceberg, seven-eighths of what we’re thinking and experiencing tend to be hidden. That can make relationships and communications challenging.

All of us have values, but not all of us realise what they are or how they shape our life. Kath, though, is acutely aware of what she stands for, and recognises that designing a life in alignment with those values makes her happier and more fulfilled.