Sharon's career has been grounded in her vision of the transformative potential of education to change the lives of adult learners. Over the last four decades, she has worked in progressively more responsible academic and administrative roles at four Alberta post-secondary institutions: University of Calgary, Mount Royal College (now a university), Olds College, and Bow Valley College. She has also been the owner of a successful marketing and communications business and consulted for several private and public sector organizations.
President and CEO of Bow Valley College since 1997, Sharon was hired to lead the college through its transition from a provincially administered institution to a public board-governed college. Under her leadership, the College has nearly doubled enrolment; expanded its reach throughout the region, and nationally and internationally; introduced dozens of new programs; embraced a new mandate as Calgary and region's one and only comprehensive community college; and substantially increased revenues, largely through entrepreneurial efforts. To meet the growing demands of the workplace, the College is nearing completion of a $300 million campus expansion project to create access to careers for some 20,000 full- and part-time students.
A fourth generation Calgarian, Sharon has completed three degrees at the University of Calgary-a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), a Bachelor of Education (with distinction), and a Masters of Communications Studies. Her academic work has been enriched with diverse professional development experiences, including studies at Harvard, Oxford, Vanderbilt, and McGill universities.
Sharon serves as a director of the National Advisory Board on Essential Skills, as the faculty head for the National Leadership Development Institute, as chair of eCampusAlberta, as chair of the Calgary Post-secondary CEOs Organization, and as a member of the Alberta Post-secondary Education Council.
Over her career, Sharon has been a founder of several organizations including the Educational Liaison Association of Alberta, Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes, eCampus Alberta, Apply Alberta, and in community, Olds Fashioned Christmas and imagineCALGARY. She has also served on the Board and Executive of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC).
In the community, Sharon demonstrates her commitment to business, social innovation, and education by serving on the board of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, as a member of the Council of Champions for the United Way initiative "Upstart Champions for Children and Youth" and actively participating in the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, and other civic initiatives.
In 2005, the Premier awarded Sharon a Centennial Medal for her contributions to the Province of Alberta. The Mayor of Calgary presented her with the 2010 Calgary Award for Education. In 2011, she was chosen as a finalist for the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award. In 2012, the Lieutenant Governor presented Sharon with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for her service to post-secondary education and her community. ACCC presented Sharon with their Distinguished Service Award in 2013.