“Measure your successes and develop these into new skills instead of counting the losses”
Megan Harsche, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Recovery Centers of America, realized she had a deep interest in employee relations and recruiting when she began her career with Independence Blue Cross. Megan attended the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Thomas Jefferson University) but was undecided about the type of career she wanted to pursue. Megan also struggled with addiction in college and eventually withdrew from the school.
After a moment of clarity, Megan sought help for addiction and attended her first AA meeting in 2003. She then decided to enroll back in school at Saint Joseph’s University and graduated with a degree in Organizational Psychology in 2011. After graduation, she worked for Philadelphia area companies such as Hear Better Centers, a start-up entrepreneurial led company, where she found her true passion for networking and making employee connections. In 2016, Recovery Centers of America reached out to Megan about a recruiting position. Megan knew this job was made for her because it brought together two things she was passionate about: recruiting and addiction recovery.
What does it mean to you to be a woman leader in the addiction recovery field?
It’s humbling to be in this field. I never take it for granted – it’s my responsibility to give back what was freely given to me. I want to spread hope the way people did for me when I first hit rock bottom. People were there for me to support me and let me know that I was going to be OK. I had a lot of defects of character, but I wasn’t a defect. It’s a very common feeling amongst people who are addicted – just constantly believing you are not enough. And as women, we can sometimes feel like that. I love being able to help alleviate that feeling and see people shine. It’s my duty and my obligation. Selfishly, I do it for me because it helps me stay sober. I never want to forget; I never want to get away from recovery.
How do you support, help, mentor, and empower other women at RCA?
I encourage people to change and find a mentor. Take advantage when opportunity is presented – and don’t be afraid to ask for help. People love to be helpful and lend others support and ideas. You’ve got the tools, it’s just a matter of seeing the opportunity and taking it. It’s easy to fall into a routine and stay comfortable. I know it’s scary to take that next step! But people get bored and leave jobs because they don’t feel fulfilled or challenged. Both professionally and in recovery, it’s key to have a sense of purpose. And I try to instill that in every single person I meet – especially women.
How have you overcome hurdles?
I see a lot of women – myself included! – making this mistake: Comparing myself to others. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. Opportunity is limitless and there are no boundaries when you keep an open mind. I watched my mom dominate a male-driven industry and knew from a young age that as a woman, I could do anything and I try to encourage other young women to help them find their voice and their passion, which can lead to a career where they can excel and potentially a career where they may have never even dreamed that they would love so much and fulfill that desire to be useful and to give back.
What would you say to the women who feel pressure to follow a specific timeline?
Timelines can be useful but also detrimental. I remind myself that I’ll start when I start and finish when I finish. I try not to compare myself to someone else’s timeline. You can’t compare your life to someone else’s! Know your own needs, boundaries, and goals, and come up with a timeline that’ll work best for you. Base it on your own challenges of yourself. Women are their worst critics, but instead of critiquing what you’re doing wrong, focus on what you’re doing right. “You’re better off measuring your successes and developing these into new skills rather than counting the losses.”
What is your advice to women early on in their careers?
Find a mentor that you respect at every level and count your successes. When you have a success, repeat what you’ve done before. Remember: Let the confidence that you’ve done this before, you’ve succeeded before, guide you. You know what to do again.