Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
My name is Harri James. I’m an actor, filmmaker, and mom who uses storytelling to get my education advocacy across.
I’m passionate about “twice exceptional” or strength-based education because I see the difference it makes in individual and family’s lives.
That’s why I created “The O’Kelley Lab,” a grassroots effort by our family to promote resources in education. I use my own and my family’s journey through neurodiversity to inspire my writing and filmmaking.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I’m inspired to use humor in my advocacy when “educating educators” and sharing with people about neurodiversity.
I have found it’s easier to get my point across if I can make the other side laugh when talking about policies or procedures that need to be changed.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
The moment I realized I wanted to write and perform more humorously as an education advocate was after hearing moms pour their hearts out in front of a school district’s board meeting.
I was devastated by these stories and the lack of response. It just seemed so absurd and damaging, all at the same time. I knew I needed to try something different.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was to renew my trust in the education system that I felt had failed my kids. I needed to let go of my feeling that the school district was against me. I needed to shift and look at them as individuals who just weren’t educated yet about neurodiversity or strength-based education.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
I’d love to speak with leaders in education and government who can make this change— starting with President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of Education.
I’d love to be on a panel speaking at an event such as SXSW EDU about changing the education model to a strength-based model, and performing at storytelling events like “Expressing Motherhood.”
List the direct links/URL to your social media profiles so people can follow you: