Staff Member Spotlight: Shannon Harriman

Title
Co-Director of Adult Programs

Photos

Shannon began working for Dragons in 2002 as an Instructor and Program Director in Nepal, Tibet, and India. She is also a lead facilitator, designing professional trainings for organizations and schools around the country to train, assess, and mentor staff. Currently, she is working to spearhead our Adult Programming.

What is your favorite travel memory?

In the late 90's, I opted to hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal alone. Five days in, I found myself on a narrow animal trail en route to a cave covered in prayer flags. It was there that I met a family and was invited to stay. The father was a Tibetan yogi who had been living with his wife and daughter for 50 years within the rock. Together we drank tea, ate stinging nettles and peered at the Himalayas.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

At Dragons, we have an amazing commitment to offering and receiving feedback from many different people – students, parents, co-workers, etc. Through these systems, I have been given the opportunity to constantly assess and reflect on who I am and how I want to show up personally and professionally. I have also developed the skill of giving feedback, which has proven to be very useful.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Last summer at our staff training, I was surprised to see one of my former students in attendance. She had been so inspired on her own trips with Dragons – a semester in Nepal and a summer in Guatemala – that she came back to instruct for us and offer the same experience for other students. It felt like a huge success!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose our semester in Indonesia. There are 3 to 5 homestays offered on that program in really remote communities that I would love to be immersed in. I think that living with a local family is the most effective way to understand a culture and to cultivate empathy. Although we offer home stays on all of our programs, the Indonesia semester offers the most.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think that our domestic and international communities make us unique. At our staff training in the Sierras last year, I found myself dancing in the woods surrounded by women from 12 different countries. I felt such immense satisfaction and pride in that moment as an employee of Dragons.

To share a space of collaboration and celebration with people from all over the world feels like an immense privilege.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Transparency, respect, collaboration, and trust. At Dragons, we believe deeply in all these. We are all deeply passionate about the work we do, are regularly inspired by one another, and care about our personal and professional relationships.