Episode #29: Donna Harris
February 8, 2021
Donna is a prairie girl who grew up in small towns in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. An RCMP kid, her family moved several times through elementary school and middle school. In addition to always feeling like the “new” kid, she was also one of the only students to blend a commitment to sport and music, a sometimes challenging combination that would prepare her for the balancing act that would become her life.
After university, her journey involved working and coaching at the national level in sport. A decision to walk away from a national team coaching pathway coupled with illness from stress due to a life load that was out of control led to graduate research that uncovered the role of culture, recovery, and connection play in sustaining performance. The research, while rooted in sport, has applications across many contexts. One of Donna’s biggest takeaways from the research was the discovery that we usually see leaders (in the case of the research, this was coaches) as one dimensional. We don’t realize that there is a whole other dimension or dimensions to that person and a group of people who share that human, their human (partner, parent, friend, sibling, child) with the world, thus enabling them to lead or coach. When we learn to see people multidimensional, we have the opportunity to really see them, to understand them, and to connect with them. When this happens, we not only help them be at their best; we also uncover the heroes in our midst.
“Recovery is really important. When I’m talking about recovery I’m not talking about holidays and extended vacations, I’m talking about daily self-care.”