Meet the Women Behind The Ripple Model

Ripple Model founders Meredith Ellison and Whitney Zeh

Not only do Meredith and Whit have a friendship that spans more than two decades, they have a professional relationship that has allowed them to bring their talents, curiosities and passions to the table and create a data and heart-driven approach to creating company culture. Meet the women behind The Ripple Model™!

Where did you each go to college and what did you study?

Meredith: I received a BS in Psychology from the University of Alabama and an MS in Community Counseling from Western Carolina University.  
Whit: I completed a BS in Psychology from Colorado State University and then received a MAT in Special Education from Western Carolina University. 

What called you to those areas of study at the time?

Meredith: I love working with people; hearing the stories of their lives and how they process experiences. I remember feeling, for the first time in my life, a true calling and purpose to what I was doing. I loved going to school, and I felt endless amounts of energy throughout my day. It was like a light bulb had been turned on in my being and I felt connected to something much bigger than myself. 
Whit: I always knew I wanted to work with people; that I love sharing and teaching meaningful information. I also was drawn to all things positive psychology, health and wellness and was inspired to share insights from these fields. Meredith and I always say we are conduits for information—we don’t re-create the wheel or come up with earthshattering ideas. Rather, we are passionate sharers of what has resonated with us or impacted our lives in a positive way. If we transfer information in an effective way, then we’ve done our job! 

What kind of work experience did you have before joining Quility and starting what would become The Ripple Model?

Meredith: I really had no true work experience before joining my husband, Brandon Ellison, in building our business together. The same month I graduated from my master’s program, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We decided what was best for our family at that time was to work together in building our insurance company. We wanted the flexibility of raising our children around our work schedules.

For years, I contributed to different areas of the business, however, I always found myself gravitating towards the tasks that allowed me to directly interact with people—things like recruiting, booking appointments for Brandon or following up with our existing clientele. People are what give me energy and connecting with them is how I’ve stayed motivated in this business for almost 18 years. 
Whit: I worked in the non-profit sphere my entire life before joining Quility. I focused first on adults experiencing domestic violence and then shifted to adults with disabilities, which led me towards obtaining my Master’s in Special Education. From there, I began working at a school where I helped children with disabilities learn to read and write. While there, I had the opportunity to dive into an initiative similar to The Ripple Model. In this role, I was able to focus on the emotional experience and needs of children—leading them on educational backpacking trips and in youth yoga and dance.

Additionally, I was able to take the lead in all student volunteer and community service projects—an experience that allowed me to develop many of the community relationships that I continue to foster through Quility.  

What does well-being look like to each of you?

Meredith: Well-being is a constant conversation and relationship from within. For me it is the practice of allowing and flowing with the dance of life. We have always been intentional at Quility about using the terms well-being or contentment instead of happiness. Happiness has been a huge buzzword in the field of positive psychology, but we always wanted to be clear that chasing happiness can lead to a lot of discontent.

Well-being for me is about trusting in it ALL and being centered in my own being to lead from that space. Practices that help me stay connected to this source of trust are acupuncture, hiking and connection with humanity.   
Whit: To me well-being is ever-changing and something we must take one day at a time. Different seasons of our life require us to take a moment of stillness and assess what we truly need to nurture ourselves. Walking and hiking are biggies for me; moving my body to help move thoughts and emotions that might be stuck. Yoga and meditation are also crucial to my experience of well-being. I love teaching and practicing – both are  very nourishing for me and give me the opportunity to connect the breath with the body.

Wellness to me is also about music and community. Music hits deep and having fun with my people is food for the soul.  

When considering how you will inspire personal growth within agents and corporate staff, what resources or leaders do you turn to?

Meredith: This time we’re living in provides incredible access to an array of leaders throughout the world (and throughout history!). With the volume of books, podcasts and websites, there is no lack of external information and inspiration.

So, what becomes important is to encourage a balance between what we can learn from looking out and what we can gain from looking in. Sharing the teachings of leaders like Brené Brown and Lynn Twist is just as important as reminding staff and agents to invest in quiet reflection and self-study. 

Did you all look to any other companies for inspiration when developing The Ripple Model?

Meredith: We attended a workshop from Search Inside Yourself that was started at Google. There is such a beautiful movement happening now around conscious companies, too many to name, that are doing amazing work in our world. We just hope to continue to learn, listen and implement practices that create a positive ripple in our world. 

Did you know what you DID NOT want the model to look like?

Whit: We wanted this culture model to stem from the people; for the people to create a healthy culture and for them to guide us in what that looks like. While we want to lead from the top and the values of the company’s founders, we always want to learn and listen from the bottom up.

We knew we wanted the model to be authentic and not just a stamp that we use to make our company look better.  

Who are three women you each admire and why?


  1. My mother, Amy Woodroof. Her steady and unwavering devotion to her family and how she loves unconditionally is my greatest source of strength.
  2. Lynn Twist because her content is feeding me so much right now. Her words and insights resonate in my soul and help me stay grounded in what I want to trust in.

3. Brené Brown because her honest, vulnerable and courageous presence has changed my life. She is “in the arena” and “messy middle” with humanity. The way she speaks to data and experience truly resonates in my bones.


  1. Maya Angelou because of her written words (I’m a sucker for quotes), her laugh and her resilience.
  2. Dolly Parton for her giving heart and her laugh.
  3. Mother Teresa for her heart and mostly her humility.
In your opinion, what makes community outreach sustainable? How can companies stay committed to philanthropic efforts over time?

Meredith: I believe, along with food, clothing and shelter, humans can’t survive without connection. Connection to each other and something bigger than ourselves is imperative to life. As Lynn Twist is teaching me, we have to move from a “you OR me” culture to a “you AND me” culture.

Currently, for-profit companies hold the majority of power and resources. What excitement and grand responsibility to be a part of the solutions our communities need to thrive. To get people (in our case, staff and agents) to turn out, we have to provide the experiences for them to feel this connection with others. I believe with every community outreach opportunity we’ve created everyone has walked away with a fuller cup and the knowing that they’ve created a positive ripple in the world.  

Whit: To make community outreach sustainable, it has to be a part of your DNA. Giving back has been a part of this company since day one. The founders knew this industry had the potential to create great wealth, and we know that the cycle of true abundance is just that—a cycle of receiving and giving. We know that to create engagement around community outreach, we must listen to our community of staff and agents.

We must learn about the causes they are passionate about and be creative about how we connect them to those causes. We also have to learn and listen to the organizations we aim to serve, making sure we are doing what’s truly best for them. When choosing organizations to partner with, we put the relationship first.

With clear and open lines of communication, we end up knowing how our efforts can make the greatest impact. Giving back isn’t always about writing a check. It’s important to dig in and find out what other needs may be present.  

The Ripple Model™ is a Quility initiative that provides a roadmap for creating whole-hearted company culture.

Those who engage with the model have access to Women+ Empowerment tools, cutting-edge information pertaining to well-being and personal growth and opportunities to participate in community outreach efforts. To learn more, visit 

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Brook van der Linde
Contributing Writer and Content Specialist
Brook van der Linde is a contributing writer and content specialist for Quility. She provides lifestyle articles and insurance information via Quility’s online magazine. Her industry and leadership-focused content can be accessed via LinkedIn.