Sharon Harris | #52women52Weeks

Today we celebrate Sharon Harris! YWCA Yakima is on a on a mission to empower women. #52women52weeks was created to celebrate and highlight the amazing women #SHEros in the #yakimavalley. More about Sharon..If you could not work for a year, what would you do?

I would love to spend my time traveling around the world teaching children! Seeing the spark in children’s eyes as they experience new learning is amazing to me. Their use of language and recognition of the meaning of words in context is both exciting and rewarding. Reading and writing would be my emphasis for all children to experience!
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
To be prepared to be “the only one”; the only female, the only person of color, the only believer, the only person that shares your political beliefs, etc. I would further advise them to not compare themselves with others, but have vision, passion, and commitment for what they do. Be willing to take risks. And last, but not least, stay humble.
What makes you happy?
Enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I love to laugh. Fostering good relationships with family and friends contributes to my happiness. I try to avoid regrets, by intentionally thinking and following through on what I do.
How do you measure success?
Measuring personal success is an ongoing process of assessment and reevaluation. To me, success defined, is the fulfillment of dreams and aspirations. It involves obtaining goals and learning from failures, which is an important part of the process, too. My definition of success includes giving back to others that are less fortunate. In fact, this was required of my siblings and I when contemplating what career path to choose. Fortunately, I am proud to say that all five of our parent’s children experienced successful service careers.
What historical event inspires you the most?
November 4, 2008-The election of our first African American President of the United States of America! I was blessed to have traveled to Washington D.C., (in Frigid temperatures), along with my daughter, sister, niece, great niece, and cousins to witness the Inauguration of our 44th President, on January 20, 2009.
Have you ever had an ah-ha moment? And if so, what did you learn from it?
Making a career change from banking to education would be an ah-ha moment for me. My initial rationale for leaving Seattle First National Bank was to spend more time with my family, especially my children, during their breaks from school. My job with the district involved reconnecting students at the secondary level with resources and educational opportunities that enhanced their high school experience. Through this work, I realized that my positive experience with learning was not necessarily shared by some of the students that I worked with. I had to be creative and supportive of learning styles, as well as able to adjust my delivery. My ah-ha was, I should be teaching a class full of students where I could reach more students at a time. I had the pleasure of teaching for six years and will complete my career as an administrator for twenty-one plus years. What I learned from this moment is that I am a lifelong learner!

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