Photography by Anastasiia Photography.
A native to Ontario, Canada, Meagan Harris lived in many places, from New York to Naples, Florida, while spending many of her summers in Western North Carolina. Eventually, the charming allure of Asheville beckoned her and her family to make the mountain town home—and became the focus of her current career as editor of The Scout Guide Asheville. In addition to her familiarity with the city, her previous professions—Meagan worked in education and real estate before launching TSG Asheville—positioned her well for the relationship-building aspects of her job, and in turn, her editorship has given her a deeper connection to the area. “Jumping into the role of editor in Asheville enabled me to immerse myself into town,” she says. “It was a crash course in plugging into my new community.” The dynamic editor, committed volunteer, and passionate CrossFitter will launch the fourth volume of The Scout Guide Asheville in June.
TSG: Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Asheville.
MH: I have a degree in political science and a master’s degree in education. Over the years I’ve been a teacher, education administrator, realtor, and stay-at-home mom. While being editor of The Scout Guide might not seem like a natural path, being in education helped me understand the importance of relationships and listening to people. I’ve found that fostering and building relationships is a key element of being an editor.
My husband grew up going to camp in North Carolina, and when our girls started going to summer camp in North Carolina, we spent more and more time in the area. As each summer drew to a close, we found that we didn’t want to leave. At the time we lived in Naples, Florida, and once back home we longed for the mountains and wanted our kids to experience the seasons. When my husband expanded his business in Asheville, we decided to call it home and move.
I was familiar with The Scout Guide Naples and was thrilled to discover there wasn’t one yet in Asheville. I’ve always loved TSG’s mission of supporting small businesses and how they’ve achieved that unlike any other publication. And while becoming the editor of the Asheville guide was a bit daunting, as I knew no one in my new town, I was instantly able to meet a lot of people. I quickly discovered that Asheville is filled with people who want to connect and help you.
I’ve now been in this role for four years, and I’ve found that there are so many parts of this job that I love. But if pressed to choose my favorite element, it would be creative direction for photo shoots. It’s been so incredible to see how people like to push the envelope a little more each year with their photos.
Behind the scenes of a TSG Asheville shoot.
TSG: What is a typical day for you like?
MH: One of the best things about this job is that every day is different, so you’re never bored. Some days are filled with meetings and photo shoots. Other days I’m in the office all day working out content for our city website, articles, and social media. I especially love days when I’m out and about sprinkling guides around town, popping into clients’ businesses to catch up, taking a few sales meetings, and maybe a happy hour drink or coffee with a prospective client.
I am launching The Scout Guide Asheville, Volume 4 in June, and I can’t wait to see each of my clients and share in that exciting moment of revealing the new guides. I love seeing their faces light up when they find their spread in the guide. After a year of hard work, it’s so satisfying to see the guide in people’s hands.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about your work/life balance.
MH: Each year I seem to be getting a little better at this, but it is always a challenge for me. I don’t always know when or how to shut off the “work switch” and turn on the “life switch.” I make morning workouts a priority and try my best to be present for my family when we are together. After each guide launches I try to take a couple of days off of work and head out somewhere by myself to rest and get re-energized to do it all over again.
Meagan’s dogs, Poppy and Billie Jean, enjoying the local scenery.
TSG: How are you enjoying downtime right now?
MH: Between work and family, I don’t have a lot of downtime, but I enjoy walking the trails in my neighborhood with my pups. I did just sign up for the Blue Ridge to The Beach 475-mile Challenge! It’s a virtual city-by-city tour of North Carolina from Asheville to Wrightsville Beach. Wish me luck!
TSG: What do you love most about your city?
MH: There’s so much to love about Asheville. This time of year [spring] is so beautiful when everything is in bloom and people have a renewed sense of energy. Everyone seems to be out and about enjoying the warmer weather and I am doing the same! One of my favorite things to do is go on a good hike and then wind up at Hillman Beer for a few pints and their amazing turkey reuben with their kale salad. The salad is to die for, and I don’t even like salad. We have so many great restaurants, breweries, and distilleries, an incredible art scene, and I’m in love with our new greenway in the River Arts District. It’s a great addition to our town.
THE HIT LIST: MEAGAN’S FAVORITES
Drink: Moscow Mule or a local gose
Book: Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It’s the sweetest children’s book that my girls wanted me to read to them every single night when they were little.
Movie: Dirty Dancing
TV series: Schitt’s Creek
Vacation spot: British Virgin Islands
Favorite time of day: In the morning, when everyone in my house is still sleeping. It’s so peaceful.
Most treasured possession: My two Italian Greyhounds, Poppy + Billie Jean.
Real life hero: My Nana. Her WWII stories were incredible!
Motto: Under promise and over deliver.