Success is a Journey

Many equate success to what they can accomplish in the end, but for Alverno alumna Maricha Harris ‘09 MA ‘15, it’s all about the journey along the way.

“I wholeheartedly believe in Arthur Ashe’s view that ‘success is a journey, not a destination,’ she says.

This fall, Harris reached a destination that brought her full circle: She became the executive director for the Dominican Center, a nonprofit organization that partners with residents in the Amani neighborhood to support community change by improving their access to a better education, healthcare and economic development. The center also works to encourage neighbors to get to know each other through interaction and communication.

Harris grew up in proximity to the Amani neighborhood, which spans 130 blocks within Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code. She recalls not being able to play outside due to violence in the neighborhood.

“Memories from my childhood are no memories any child should have. Children shouldn’t experience seeing people getting gunned down in the street,” she says.

Harris recalls her mom placing her and her siblings in the bathtub as gunshots rang out in the streets, seeing the porcelain as protection if a bullet entered their home.

“Situations like these are preventable,” she says. “If we all work together to heal the community and move the community forward, no kid has to experience this. This is why I have dedicated my career to serving.”

From an early age, Harris always knew that she wanted to help others. She first saw herself as a doctor, earning a work-study opportunity, but she soon realized that this wasn’t her calling.

“I loved the experience, but that ultimately led me to wonder if there was a different way I could impact the world. I wanted to impact the community. This led me to Alverno,” she says.

Harris took an interest in public relations, exposing her to local nonprofit organizations and social issues within the community. Earning both her bachelor’s degree in professional communications and a master’s degree in adult education from Alverno, Harris accredits her career success to incorporating the 8 Abilities into all aspects of her daily life.

“I am constantly self-assessing, and I don’t hesitate to reach out to others for feedback. As a result, I am able to problem-solve, conceptualizing the skills. Alverno set an amazing foundation. I believe this has been instrumental in helping me progress throughout my career,” she says.

For the other young women who have a passion for giving back to their communities, Harris encourages them to have a laser focus on their goals and to enjoy the journey along the way to self-discovery.

“Know what your passions are and have clarity about what you want to do, what you want to achieve,” she says. “Then, have a laser focus on your goals.”

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