Name: Dr. John Harrison
Organisation: Harvest International School, Punjab, India
Dr. Harrison is an educator and humanitarian par excellence, an alumni of the so called Oxford of India – the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, who in his illustrious career has served top International Organisations and top International CBSE and IB Schools in India in top leadership Director level positions. He has the honour of setting up several Institutions of learning be it Play Schools, Literacy Centres in the slums of Delhi and villages of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, K-12 Schools or Institutions of Higher Learning. He serves various International Organisations in respectable honorary positions as a Board Member/Adviser. He loves playing cricket, is a philosopher, a mentor and counsellor, an International author, a voracious reader, an empathetic listener and a “Giver’ whose heart is where his treasure is, in serving people, his students and staff/ teachers. He is a regular columnist with the eYs Humanitarian International Magazine and his articles on “Spirituality” has brought him loads of fame and accolades nestled in his own international fan following. His 1st book “Build Your Success” is the first edition of a new book series on Leadership and Success which has been co-authored by world renowned thought leaders and luminaries who have achieved remarkable success while remaining rooted in their values and principles. He has been a school cricket team captain, a district level player, school prefect, a Mr. India Finalist and Professional Model in his college days, he was the convenor of an initiative by the New Delhi YMCA along with the Delhi Government way back in early year 2000 to make Delhi Child labour free. His work in the slums of Delhi with the women, infants, adolescents (especially girl child), elders and the men, especially those with alcohol addiction; and also his intervention in the lives of the women involved in flesh trade in Delhi was highly commendable and appreciated by the YMCA. Another beautiful and unique initiative of his, which has really benefitted all his past and present students big time, is that he introduced a “Leadership Curriculum” in all the schools headed by him. The Leadership Curriculum is spear headed by him and its feedback is exemplary. It has really helped the students in achieving their academic targets and career goals.
Some of the initiatives he is connected with globally has made such a huge impact on the lives of people, be it creating awareness on Cancer; empowering and educating children, their parents and educators on child abuse; anti child trafficking; youth empowerment, educating the youth on sustainable development (UN SDGs); educating and supporting the homeless children of Africa; helping the young people with maintaining mental and emotional balance during the pandemic, etc. He, in all his humility and simplicity refers to himself as a “Servant Leader”.
- ISC Board- XII - The Frank Anthony Public School, New Delhi
- B.A. Honours in Philosophy, St. Stephen’s College, DU
- MBA in Human Resources, Sikkim Manipal University
- IIM, Kolkata. Certificate in Organizational Management
- PG Diploma in Social Work, APAY Hong Kong
- MA in Education, Subharti University
- Doctorate in Divinity, North Western Christian University
Work Experience (chronological order)
- Director Education/ Assistant General Secretary – Heading the Education, Community Services and Program Sectors of New Delhi YMCA for over 2 decades. Founder Director cum Principal of 2 YMCA Schools (1993 – 2015) (YMCA is the Largest Social Welfare Organisation in the world)
- Bursar/ Director Administration – G D Goenka World School, Gurgaon (2016-2017) (Top Day cum Boarding School)
- Founder Director cum Principal – The Venkateshwar School, Gurgaon (2017-2018)
- Director Pastoral Care/ Teacher Adviser/ Part of the CEO’s Think Tank – Indus International School Hyderabad – (2018-2021) (No.1 Day cum Boarding School brand in India for the past 11 years)
- Director cum Principal – Litera Valley School, Patna (Zee Group biggest and largest school in India. No.2 school in Bihar) and Founder Director DPS Patna East (2021-2023)
- Director at the Harvest International School, Punjab, India
Served top Schools as an Adviser
- GD Goenka International School, Sonepat, Haryana
- Yadhuvanshi Group of Schools, Haryana
- MBS International School, Dwarka, Delhi
- Madhusudan Public School, Rewari, Haryana
Serve top International Humanitarian Organizations – Honorary Adviser/ Member
- Fight Cancer GLOBAL – USA
- eYs SDGs World Council – Australia
- eYs Top Humanitarian Magazine in the world- Australia.
- eYs Anti Child Trafficking Campaign- Australia/Nepal
- World Youth Summit (Youth Empowerment)
- My Body Is My Body (Child Abuse Prevention) – UK
- Talk Love Africa Foundation – Nigeria (Free Education for homeless kids)
International Recognitions/Awards Received
- Year 2020 eYs Magazine Australia Top 50 Global Key Influencer.
- Year 2020 Humanitarian Award – AVENEWZnews Australia
- Special Award “Books For Peace 2019”– Foundation Christian Life University, FUNVIK, Europe and UNESCO
- Mr. India Finalist 1990
- eYs Human Rights and Social Impact Advocate Recognition
- eYs Media Award – Valuable Insights during Covid
- IPN India’s Most Impactful School Leader Award 2022 (Indian Principals Network)
- The Global Edu ICON – 2022/23 (Global School Leaders Consortium)
Schools set up by me
- 2 YMCA Public Schools – Nizamuddin East, (Delhi) & Hodal, (Haryana)
- The Venkateshwar School, Sushant Lok, Sector 57, Gurgaon
- Indus Online Start Up School (1st Start Up School in India set up by the Indus International School – was part of the team)
- 4 Play Schools in Delhi
- YMCA School of Music (Affiliated to Trinity College London)
- Over 100 Literacy Centres in slums of Delhi & villages of Haryana, Rajasthan, & Uttarakhand
Higher Education Institutes set up by me
- Institute of Media Studies and Information Technology – YMCA
- Institute of Management Studies – YMCA
- Center of Excellence – Joint Venture (Mewar University/ Ashok Hotel Jaipur).
- I served on the Advisory Board of Mewar University
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Dr. John's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Firstly the world lacks empathy. It is the biggest need of the hour. This VUCA (Volatile/ Uncertain/ Complex and Ambiguous) world needs empathy the most because we live in perilous times where nations are rising up against nations.
Empathy, even as per a survey conducted by Google a couple of years back, is the number one skill which the world needs post pandemic.
So as per me finding people with empathy is the most challenging thing at present.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My life has been full of many crucible experiences which were meant to break me but i did not allow that to happen, i used every such experience to make me and not break me. One such nightmare was when i was sexually abused at the age of 13. Little could have anyone guessed that a little 13 year old simple boy named John, who was sexually abused at that early an age, will go on to make an impression on life. The harrowing experience gave me many sleepless nights. My tears had dried up, I felt worn out and completely crestfallen, lonely to the core as I couldn’t gather the courage of confiding in my parents. As I stood all by myself in the midst of the ruins I had to make a choice, either to live a life of mediocrity deeply embedded in darkness, shame and guilt or to stand up every time I fall, I chose the latter. What followed was an endless and strenuous journey, which is not over yet, of building and lifting NOT ONLY myself but all children whom I’ll work with in future. This crucible experience could not break me but it made me the person I am today.
I have spoken about my entire life and its learnings in my 1st book titled "Build Your Success" Leadership tips from conscious world leaders by eYs Publication. Its available on amazon.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The Pareto's Principle - the 80-20 rule is the driving force in my life. On a daily basis i focus on my critical, crucial, the most important things (my 20%) in my life and that's where i spend 80% of my daily energy, time and attention.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I am very fascinated by Israel on how this tiny nation is ruling the world. The Book, "Chutzpah" by Inbal Arieli has portrayed and captured the pulse of Israel beautifully as to how this little nation has made giant strides as a world leader. Since they are in constant unrest with their neighbors, they have to be in a state on absolute readiness at all times. This restlessness has proved good for them and has brought out the best in all Israelies and the nation Israel at large.
We as world leaders need to have the same restlessness and unrest in our lives to grow, NEVER EVER be satisfied with the mundane.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Being a voracious reader i would say there are a couple of them.
* The Bible which is my shelter, my refuge, my rock.
* Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren - Each and everyone of us is born for a purpose and the day we discover that purpose is the day we are actually born in this world. So one needs to have goals in life, be purpose driven individuals so that your heart is where your treasure is. My treasure is in serving people by touching and transforming their lives and that's what I've done with absolute humility and faithfulness all the years of my life.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
My advice is:
2% of this world population rules the remaining 98% of the world population. Want to know the reason HOW and WHY?
This is because these 2% people have a 2% MINDSET which differentiates them from the crowd. These 2% people are go getters, risktakers, polymaths, outliers, having a creative and innovative mindset, they are purpose driven, have goals in life, voracious readers and deep workers. They surround themselves with great minds, unlike the remaining 98% who procrastinate, live a life of mediocrity, are satisfied with little, scared of risk taking and have a spirit of fear.
Be a DREAMER and dream with your eyes open. Be a GIVER, serve people. When we serve people, God serves us. It is in giving that we receive and it is in serving that we are served.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
We need to understand that we are the CEO of our lives. Each and everyone of us is a brand. No one else will build your brand. If you don't build your brand, then someone will hire you to build their brand. We have ONLY one life, make it count. Each day is important, learn something new daily, impact the lives of people daily.
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.