Joel Harris prides himself on being a photographer for 50-plus years where he started as a wedding and event photographer. After a long successful financial career, he has focused on the non-profit world.
Joel fully retired from this world in 2013 and took up photography full-time as a headshot, glamour, and family photographer.
He was an accountant for a major financial institution where he was an auditor for pension plans and ultimately an administrator for the bank’s 401(k) plan. Here he developed procedures to speed up various processes and ultimately worked to help save the institution a sizeable sum in fees that they would no longer have to pay to their outside vendor.
After that he spent time in both the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where he had the opportunity to learn more about fundraising and the philanthropic world as well as a photographer for the Town of North Hempstead and aide to the supervisor.
Joel joined The Kiwanis Club of County Seat, Mineola back in 2009 after a friend introduced him to the organization.
He immediately took on the role as photographer and social media liaison to help the club move forward. He was always active with Helene, his wife in all the clubs’ fundraisers and service projects.
Joel became the New York District PR/Branding Coordinator when Kiwanis International developed that role. He remained in that position for six years under multiple New York district governors.
What made Joel different was his understanding of the various social media platforms and how they could be used to help increase membership and educate the population on the important role that Kiwanis plays in the world.
Joel is a Key Club advisor where he has the opportunity to work with local high school students to develop both their leadership and fundraising skills. He is also very active in his local chamber of commerce where he served as president as well as the Nassau Council Chambers of Commerce where he served as treasurer.
In October 2022, Joel was elected Kiwanis New York State district governor for Kiwanis International.
With over 260 clubs statewide Joel & his wife Helene travel throughout New York visiting these clubs and being part of their fundraising and service projects.
“This is and continues to be an amazing experience traveling the state and meeting with the clubs from Buffalo to Montauk Point.,” he said.
His job is to energize and motivate the members. “Membership is on the forefront of my goals,” Joel said. “We must grow our organization to help keep us strong.”
With more members, we have increased opportunities to help children and communities throughout New York State. Harris is committed to maintaining New York as a “Lighthouse District.”
He always addresses membership the same way he handled discussions in the financial world. “Do not be afraid of taking chances and looking for more efficient ways of getting the job done. “View your challenges as opportunities to learn and develop.” Everyone should be viewed as leader. We must all learn from each other.