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Trustee: Carmen D. Harris, C’2002

Spelman Trustee Carmen D. HarrisPublic Health and Non-Profit
Consultant, Body-Mind Coach
B.S., Spelman College
MPH, University of South Carolina
Spelman College Board of Trustees: Elected in 2020
City of Residence: Washington, D.C.

For over 15 years, Carmen Harris has cultivated innovative strategies between individuals, organizations, and campaigns to improve the lives of priority populations -- especially Black women and girls. Her career has been a deft combination of research, innovation, fundraising, partnerships, and following one’s heart. 

Harris began her career as an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an interest in improving health disparities among overweight youth. She worked in the Division of Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity (Epidemiology team), the Division of Diabetes Translation (Program Evaluation team), and in the Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (Surveillance team). 

In October 2014, Harris shifted to the nonprofit sector as the Manager of Innovation and Partnerships for America’s Essential Hospitals —  the only association for America’s public hospitals and health systems. In keeping with this calling, one year later Harris founded — The Food & Move Group, which provides clients such as the American Cancer Society with strategic support to increase physical activity and healthy food access in local communities and priority populations. 

Joining team GirlTrek in August 2016, she was inspired by this national health movement, which empowers women to make change in their lives through walking. Harris became Chief of Social Impact and Strategic Partnerships, and later, Acting Director of Development. Under Harris’ leadership, GirlTrek exceeded fundraising goals by millions of dollars and managed key corporate partnerships with the likes of REI, Peloton, and Columbia Sportswear. 

After taking an eight-month sabbatical, Harris underwent a considerable career pivot in August 2018. With her sights set on entrepreneurial ventures, Harris became Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Magnus on Water  — a cocktail bar and restaurant just outside of Portland, Maine. The restaurant opened just 8 weeks before the pandemic in January 2020. The restaurant survived the pandemic and winter white storms in Maine; Harris, however, did not. What initially began as a space to share her own poetry, prayers, and watercolor paintings of liberated Black women and girls, she launched Imagine Me Free in July 2020. The space now serves as a community of practice and home base for leaders and organizations to create transformational change by embodying the lives, relationships, communities, and organizations they imagine for themselves today. 

Harris holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She is trained in meditation, rest practices, small group spiritual facilitation and leadership, and mind-body coaching. She enjoys yoga, daily walks, traveling for food and wine, and listening to podcasts.

Why I Serve on the Spelman College Board of Trustees

I want to honor the Trustee role by honoring what it means to be an alumna of Spelman College. For me, that means you honor who you are, you serve where you are, and you give what you can and how you can to Spelman College. Simply stated, I serve as a Trustee to help the College leverage our assets in building and sustaining the financial, physical, and spiritual well-being of Spelman College and our current students.