Sharon currently serves as the Co-Director of University of Missouri Extension’s Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program. The ExCEED program partners with communities and regions across Missouri to develop community-based strategies for economic development and focuses on core issues including community and economic development planning, data analysis, community assessments, entrepreneurship, leadership development, youth retention, and capacity building. In addition, ExCEED helps in the identification of regional strengths and assets for place-based economic development initiatives. In this capacity, Sharon works to connect communities and regions with resources and faculty expertise within University of Missouri Extension, the University of Missouri System, and her national network.
Sharon is also the Executive Director for the Missouri Rural Development Partners (MRDP) Missouri’s federally authorized rural development council. She is past-president of the international Community Development Society (CDS) and has served on several boards including the Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC). She is a leader in the Community Change Network.
She brings over 30 years of experience in economic, small business and community development. Prior to joining the University, she worked for the Missouri Department of Economic Development as the department’s small business specialist and manager of the Missouri Business Assistance Center, where she specialized in business counseling for start-up and early stage small businesses. She has presented numerous workshops and seminars and developed publications and training materials.
Sharon holds an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA. She is a certified Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) and Strategic Doing™ Workshop Leader.