Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi, nice to meet you! My name is Chante Harris and I am a champion of all things social innovation and impact. Originally from New Jersey, I attended American University in Washington D.C. during former President Obama’s administration and transitioned to New York a few years ago. I am a champion for scaling tech and innovative businesses in New York City and a fierce advocate for the advancement of women in underrepresented industries. As Vice President at Capalino+Company, I lead startups and businesses through the complex processes of winning procurement opportunities, securing pilot projects, undertaking design challenges, and launching community impact initiatives. As a civic engagement enthusiast and avid supporter of women supporting women, I currently serve as a Board Member for the Kota Alliance, a Recruitment Associate for WIN.NYC, and an Insider Ambassador for Her Agenda.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Some people’s ceiling is your floor and that’s ok. People find fulfillment in different things in life and while it is fine for them to be content with where they are it is also ok for you to dream bigger for yourself.
What would you say to 16 years old you?
I would tell myself to keep going and never stop requiring more of myself and others. I was pretty outspoken as a teenager. I was a member of Junior State of America (JSA), a non-partisan youth organization that high school students acquire leadership skills and the knowledge necessary to be effective debaters and civic participants. With a fervent passion for civic engagement, I have always felt it is not only my desire but my duty to share my opinion on the policies that are affecting my peers, family, and community. I would tell 16-year old me that there is so much value in sharing my experiences and thoughts so never stop.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
For sure and I think the best truth I have faced head-on is that my biggest doubter is myself. Holding this reality and taking time to self-reflect has been very rewarding to my growth.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are unstoppable. The world is really your oyster, now more than ever. While women inevitably face significant challenges in life, I think the dialogue has changed drastically in all industries opening up new opportunities for us. Your perspective and diversity of thought as a woman is a HUGE asset. Use it!
What is it like to be a businesswoman?
Being a businesswoman is really about showing up as my best self which to me means prepared, confident, and powerful. It is no secret that my ability to do so makes some individuals uncomfortable. What I have had to realize is that their discomfort is not my problem. Additionally, being a businesswoman means standing on the shoulders of all the woman who have paved the way for me and, most importantly, continuing the work of reaching back to bring other women along. I don’t look at my success in isolation, it is about intentionally leaving the door open for women to walk through after me.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
Undoubtedly, the people. I think New York gets a bad rep. Most people think that people here aren’t as friendly but my experience has been quite the opposite. I find New Yorkers to be the most giving and willing to invest in others. I’ll take it one step further and say that the women here are remarkable! I have met so many amazing women who are killing it and looking to support other women so that they can also excel.
What do you love most about yourself?
My appreciation for and attention to self-awareness. Knowledge of my character, feelings, and desires is an attribute that I have become so grateful for. I think self-work can’t be passive, it has to be intentional. I love that mindfulness has become a larger prioritization for our culture and society over the past few years. It is certainly not a new concept but I think the realization that it matters especially for leadership is refreshing.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Perfection doesn’t exist so trust yourself to be imperfect. I used to think I couldn’t move forward with pretty much anything until it was triple-checked. I realize now that this had less to do with what I thought was wanting to be the best at the time and more with my lack of trust in myself to move forward. Once I grappled with this I was able to implement amazing things in a lot less time.
What is your favorite meal?
Salmon and shrimp but really any type of seafood.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I meditate regularly and really try to quiet my mind to get to the heart of my thoughts so I can encourage positive mental chatter in my life. I also journal and write affirmations.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
Yes, my supervisor, Tom Gray. He has really taught me about what it truly means to lead others by nurturing their skill sets and assets. Unfortunately, this skill does not come innately to most people. However, Tom is truly radical candor in personification and has such a clear understanding of how to push your team to do their best work through a sincere desire to see them win.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
Michelle Obama, need I say more? In all seriousness, she is the epitome of intelligence, poise, strength, and fun! She inspires me to always know my worth. It such a privilege to follow her journey and learn from it. Also, who is NOT reading Becoming right now?
Chante Harris is a champion of scaling tech and innovative businesses in New York and a fierce advocate for the advancement of women in underrepresented industries. She is a tea, podcast, and positive mental chatter enthusiast who lives enjoys writing, traveling, reading and meditation.