“The first time I heard the vision of Alliance, I felt convicted in a good way,” shared Sean Harrison. It was one conversation, but the resulting impact has affected Sean’s life, his family and those without insurance in Wake County. In the beginning (2000), “it was exciting times. We felt an initial level of validation because the idea and plans for Alliance traveled quickly.” Originally, Alliance was going to be in the little yellow house behind First United Methodist Church in Cary. But then the important question was asked, where is the greatest need?
The location of Alliance, or at that point the “Faith-Based Medical Ministry,” was moved to a vacant lot behind Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church. The land was donated, plans for a new building were perfected and materials were being secured. Then the economy took a hit in 2001 following the dot.com burst and 9/11.
“Then it hit us, the mission was not about a building, but about serving,” shared Sean. Once again the vision of Alliance picked up momentum and on January 6, 2003, Alliance opened its doors and served its first patient in leased space on New Bern Avenue. Alliance grew quickly in patients and staffing. In 2008, Alliance moved into its current location on Donald Ross Drive, increasing its space by more than four times and allowing for ample growth opportunities over the coming years.
Then in 2009, Sean assumed the role of Executive Director when Dr. Susan Weaver moved to accept a leadership role at WakeMed Hospital. He had been a co-founder, Chairman of the Board, donor, and volunteer all while being a husband, father of three and starting two other businesses.
“I love the social entrepreneurialism of Alliance. The result of this venture is different than the other corporations I have started. The return is making people’s lives better,” shared Sean. Now he would have the opportunity to work with the nonprofit he helped to start on a daily basis. “There is a sense of satisfaction that has meaning and purpose that comes with working at Alliance. I never had that in a job before.”
Now looking back over the past four years serving as the Executive Director at Alliance, Sean has a pure sense of accomplishment and a deeper understanding of Alliance. Under his leadership we made the Acute Care Clinic a core service, planted a community garden, started the diabetes education program, formalized pastoral care and counseling, increased the technology of the clinic and partnered with Band Together to increase capacity.
Now Alliance is poised for it’s next evolution. “When I first shared with my family that I was stepping down as ED of Alliance, they were surprised. But when I shared that we would still be involved as volunteers, I would just not be working there everyday, they were fine.” Sean will always be a member of the Alliance Family!