In the news

Camden Chronicle, August 15, 2019

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CDA Entrepreneur: Dawn Harris of Tree of Life Education Center

“The CDA program taught me the importance of sound methods, evaluation principles, and organizational analysis, all of which underlie my business practices.”

Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your business and what you do?

I see myself as a catalyst, an educator, and a coach supporting people on their life journey. Through a virtual retreat format, I weave together evidence-based methods such as mindfulness, art, music, and journal writing. Through probing questions and theoretical and empirical instruction, the client and I work together to develop a program in the online transformation rooms. The goal is for the toolkit we develop to be readily available and become second-nature, so that when life presents difficulties, they have the ability to stand firm amid the “storms of life”.

Q: How did you first get interested in the coaching business?

I was very involved in the environmental justice movement and I found myself becoming heavy-burdened, angry, and resentful. Through self-reflection, it became obvious that being on the front lines of the movement was not the best use of my gifts. I determined to develop a mechanism for supporting those who were weary of the fight and in need of rejuvenation through a grief and loss program.

This eventually evolved into a virtual retreat experience, inspired by nature, which incorporates personalized and pre-designed programs for addressing grief and loss, resetting our defaults, and providing rejuvenation and self-discovery.

Q: What have been some of your biggest successes so far?

My biggest success is that my ideas became a reality and the product is very good. I have seen transformation occur in people, which is an amazing reflection of the power of taking initiative and pursuing our dreams.

Q: How did the CDA program prepare you for that? What were your biggest take-aways from the CDA program?

I learned the importance of agency and working with communities in a collaborative approach. My business focuses on individuals, but the value of collaboration and developing agency still applies. It isn’t important how much I know or how right I am. What is important is that individuals have opportunity to access their own inner agency and power. We work together to develop the right program for their needs.

The CDA program also taught me the importance of sound methods, evaluation principles, and organizational analysis, all of which underlie my business practices (thanks Dr. Heflinger!).

In addition, the skills learned through my final project directly apply to what I am now doing. In that capacity I designed a distance-learning website and identified what has become my niche which is brain-based learning and application of neuroscience principles in my signature program, Reset Your Defaults.

Q: What advice do you have for CDA students and for others who want to get involved in your field?

Sometimes outcomes aren’t always clear. Keep pursuing your passions and you just might be surprised when everything lines up all of a sudden to bring together personal life experiences, academic knowledge, and professional expertise.