Faculty Focus: Sharon Pinder

Advocate for Small and Minority Businesses: Sharon Pinder's Amazing Accomplishments

By Cheryl Ballasone |   October 2010

Sharon Pinder , Faculty

Mathematical Sciences
School of Undergraduate Studies

As a UMUC School of  Undergraduate Studies faculty member, Sharon Pinder makes a significant impact  on her students worldwide. But her accomplishments extend far beyond UMUC.

A UMUC alumna with a Master of  Science in technology management, Sharon has had the distinction of receiving  three honors from the university. She was named Professor of Practice in the School of Undergraduate Studies, teaching Women As Entrepreneurs to students online around the world, and she was selected as  the 2004 Distinguished Alumna of the Year.

Today, Sharon  serves on the UMUC Board of Visitors and is the President  and CEO of the The Pinder Group, a management consultancy that supports businesses in growth strategies by helping  them develop and implement strategic visions, improve business processes,  reduce complexity, leverage diversity, reduce costs and build new capabilities  for long-term success.  The company offers a variety of consultant  services, including business makeovers, and culture change, as well as strategic  marketing, strategic management, and diversity and inclusion.

Prior to starting her own company in 2007,  Sharon served in the Governor's Cabinet as the State's first appointed Special  Secretary in the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs.  As an  entrepreneur and as a public servant, she has mentored and advocated for Maryland's small, women-  and minority-owned businesses. She has provided leadership on many efforts,  including landmark legislation providing 10 percent of the State's procurement  dollars to small businesses and the creation of the State's first  Mentor/Protégé program.  

Sharon also possesses extensive knowledge  of small and minority businesses. When asked about her advocacy on  their behalf, she quickly responded, “Small businesses fuel this country’s  economy.  The success of small and women-  and minority-owned businesses is essential.   In Maryland,  in particular, over 95 percent of all businesses are small businesses.” 

Her extensive knowledge of  the subject also prompted Pinder to write a book, entitled, On the Backs of  Blacks: The Untold Story of Minority Businesses, currently in  progress. “The minority business movement has never been chronicled,” she said.  “As the former chief steward of Maryland’s  women and minority business programs, I met some incredible entrepreneurs.  I believe that the historical perspective of  the movement should be captured and shared.”

Also, to honor minority and  woman entrepreneurs, Sharon brought to fruition the 100 Top MBE Awards.  The award ceremony, hosted by University of Maryland University College and  the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Maryland Governor’s Office of Minority  Affairs, honors women and minority entrepreneurs that fuel the nation’s economy  through their innovation, sacrifices, and dedication. Sharon notes that she is  extremely proud of this ceremony.

Sharonr's dedication to her work has been noted through  numerous honors. . .  *** MISSING TEXT *** . She has  also received the “Business Advocate Award, Women of Influence” from Visionary  Marketing Group (VMG) and Career Communications in 2007 and the “Congressman  Parren J. Mitchell Leadership Award” from Maryland Associations of Equal  Employment Personnel in 2006. Sharon was the first-ever recipient of the  “Senator Carol Mosby Award,” presented by the National Black Chamber of Commerce in 2006, and has received an extensive list of other honors that span more than a decade.

And she encourages people to  pursue their dreams. Her advice to readers, students, and others who aspire to  follow in her impressive footsteps:   “Life is too short and there are no guarantees.  Prepare yourself and then go for it.” She  also offers: “Be a blessing to others.   When you bless others, you are blessed in return.  I believe that I am truly blessed.”