Thoughts on Turning 30

On July 19, 1989 I walked into the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office on South Main Street in Providence and incorporated Shamrock Financial. The cadence and disposition of my stride differed not at all from a trip to the library or the DMV. Get in and get out; don’t get hurt, don’t get arrested. When it was over, I went to the gym, or to McDonald’s; or maybe even back to work. I really don’t remember. Wherever it was, it wasn’t memorable. After all, Shamrock wasn’t for today; it was for some distant tomorrow not yet found on my calendar.

Not long after, however, my employers got wind of “Shamrock Financial” and decided to give me a head start. They fired me. On the spot. My tomorrow became my today. Shamrock went from think-up to start-up in one afternoon’s time.

Three decades later, I reflect on this and think: if I had known then what would become of the decision to start Shamrock, I would have walked into that building shaking – trembling in fact. I would have entered with a gait of reverence; tiptoeing as if walking over precious, scared ground. I would have worn an expression of wonder, the child floating into a living room on Christmas morning, delighted with the thought of seeing his new toys, yet mixed with the terror of, perhaps, catching a glimpse of Santa!

My grip on the door would have produced tears, both of fear and joy. I would have counted every step, marking each as its own chapter. I would have burned to memory the faces of those around me, taking inventory of every word and every expression. I would have exited with my arms raised, the sign of both surrender and victory; surrender to God’s plan and victory in the grace His opportunity provided.

You see, my decision to start this didn’t consider employing well over 500 people or providing income for thousands of family members or helping tens of thousands of families buy a home. It didn’t include the communities and organizations we would serve and impact. I didn’t think or dream any of that. I’d have tripped over the steps just walking in the building if I had. I would have felt the yoke of the awesome burden and likely retreated to my car!

I also didn’t consider financial crisis’s, housing collapses and recessions; never mind surviving and thriving through them – like the proverbial building that stands alone, in-tact among the rubble of a tornado or earthquake. What’s that still doing here? Never thought of any of that in July 1989. Thankfully.

I’m humbled to find myself still seated here at the helm of this dream in July of 2019, our 30th birthday, blessed and privileged not by that 1st day nor by this day but by the remarkable journey that sits in-between, the one that has so profoundly brought us all together in this place and in this time for a purpose, one greater than all of us.

Dean Harrington,

Founder and CEO

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