Sharon Hadary didn't mean to become a mover and shaker in the world of women's entrepreneurship. And she didn't expect her 21 years in HR, communications and PR at IBM to lead her to become the executive director of the nonprofit Center for Women's Business Research. It was supposed to be just a temporary position, but nearly 19 years later, she's still as committed and passionate as the day the Center's very first groundbreaking research report hit the newswire.
"I was brought up learning the traditional male model of how to run a business," says Hadary. "I began to realize the importance of leadership as a woman and how to blend the corporate approach with what [women] could bring." That epiphany came during her time at IBM and was a building block for Hadary's work with the CWBR. The power of data fuels the Center's mission to advance the economic, social and political impact of women entrepreneurs worldwide. "You can touch the life of every woman who aspires to business leadership because you can demonstrate that women can start and lead profitable businesses," says Hadary.
As the CWBR nears its 20th birthday, Hadary isn't content to rest on her laurels. She's overseen the CWBR's growth into a 14-person organization that undertakes a variety of research studies related to women-owned businesses. Now she's updating its processes with the latest technologies and increasing its issues-oriented research. "I'm passionate about the impact that research and numbers have in changing the world," says Hadary. "I'm flattered that people see me as powerful and as a role model, but I don't claim either. But if I can be a role model to younger women, I'm very proud of that."