Faculty Focus: Sharon Pinder
Advocate for Small and Minority Businesses: Sharon Pinder's Amazing Accomplishments
Sharon Pinder , Faculty
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.”