10 Questions With Sally Harris

“I wanted God Almighty to have all there was of William Booth.”

Sally Harris, president and co-founder of Saint James Place, Inc., has a long career of service on a variety of boards in the nonprofit sector, both locally and nationally. She was the first woman and youngest member elected to chair the Manhattan Advisory Board of The Salvation Army in New York City. She has served as a National Advisory Board member for more than 20 years.

How did you meet the Army?

I was introduced to the Army through a friend of my father’s when I was living in New York City. I went down to 14th street to be a volunteer. Until that time, I only knew of the Red Kettle bell ringing.

What initiative (s) from the National Advisory Board are you most excited about?

Earlier this year, I met with Commissioners Bill and Lorraine Bamford to begin a pilot program addressing the prevention and reversal of lifestyle diseases (heart, stroke, adult diabetes, obesity). Offi cers and staff of the NEOSA Division were invited to participate in the pilot. The results of this first effort were positive.

What should The Salvation Army expect of advisory board members at the local level? Likewise, what is your expectation for o ffi cers that work with advisory board members?

The local advisory board is a resource for offi cers. As officers move, a local board provides stability and continuity. They represent insight into the local community. My expectation for officers is that they know that if I have shown up, it is because I care and want to help. I would like it if each officer could know how much I value them. Officers are my heroes.

Who inspires you and why?

The most inspirational line I ever heard, and I think of it often, came from William Booth, when he was a young man: “I wanted God Almighty to have all there was of William Booth.”

What has been one of your biggest joys as a leader?

It gave me great joy to have a vision of how to save St. James Church from the wrecking ball and be reborn to the glory of God once again, albeit in a different way.

Biggest challenge?

Being the captain of the Red Kettle bell ringing in my small town is my biggest challenge every year.

Who has been the greatest influence on your leadership?

My grandparents and my parents were all leaders. My husband is a leader. The people who have infl uenced me are Albert Schweitzer, William and Catherine Booth, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his wife Ann.

What is your definition of leadership and how was it formed?

Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” The word that comes to mind is integrity. After that, clarity of vision, enthusiasm, persistence and humility. For me, these are the traits of a leader.

What are you most proud of?

I had grandparents and parents who loved the Lord and taught me to love the Lord.

What do you do to unwind from the day?

I live in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I unwind on the side porch looking out onto a field, enjoying the changes of seasons.

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