Community Impact Network awardee spotlight: Marcia Hayes-Harris

The Solutions Award recipient works as a Beyond Housing Family Engagement Liaison

When Marcia Hayes-Harris was growing up in Gary, Indiana, she heard her father say the same expression over and over: “There’s no such thing as a problem. Only a challenge.”

Hayes-Harris has lived those words through her career as an educator, most recently as a Family Engagement Liaison (FEL) with Beyond Housing. Her reputation as a problem solver earned her the 2023 Community Impact Network Solutions Award at its annual awards celebration in December 2023.

“I don’t look at things as a problem,” Hayes-Harris said. “I just try to make it happen.”

Though she didn’t originally envision a career in education, Hayes-Harris found that her passion was working with young women and children. Even when she didn’t work in education, she found time to volunteer and she even started a girls’ mentorship program at her church.

I don’t look at things as a problem. I just try to make it happen.

Marcia Hayes-Harris

She’s worked at Washington University, St. Louis Public Schools, Unleashing Potential and Beyond Housing in various roles during her 40 years in St. Louis. She has served on numerous committees and says she always tries “to look at unique ways of doing things instead of trying to do the same things all the time.”

Hayes-Harris enjoys strategic planning and evaluating what works and what doesn’t work.

“You have to always look at what you’re doing so that you don’t get stagnant,” Hayes-Harris said. “You have to revisit your goals and aspirations to make sure you’re on top of things and your ideas are always fresh and you’re continuing to engage people.”

Vice President of Service Ailey Pope left celebrates with Marcia Hayes Harris at the Networks annual A Night With the Stars event on Dec 8 2023 Photo by Phillip Hamer Photography

That attitude has left an impression on many at Beyond Housing and elsewhere, and led to her nomination for the Solutions Award. Her nominator said Hayes-Harris “has given fresh insight to the development of our strategic plan and a committee focused on how we approach partnerships.” Hayes-Harris wasn’t expecting the honor, and said she was thrilled to even be mentioned alongside other direct service providers who were nominated.

“I was totally shocked when I received the nomination,” Hayes-Harris said. “When you do this kind of work, you don’t do it for the award or the recognition.”

Read more about Beyond Housing’s work here. Read more about the Community Impact Network awards here.

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Alex McCarthy
Alex McCarthy is the Communications Coordinator at the Network. He has worked for the organization since 2022.