Sharon Allen: 2013 Diversity MBA Conference Speaker

Sharon Allen

Sharon C. Allen is the Senior Executive Director for the Division of Personal Membership Groups of the American Hospital Association (AHA).  Her key responsibilities include product development and innovation, operations, customer relationship management, business development, project management, market strategy development, financial planning and budgeting, and staff management.  For the past 16 years, Sharon has been an adjunct instructor at Columbia College of Missouri where she teaches a variety of junior and senior level marketing and management courses.

Sharon is a former employee of Norwood Promotional Products (now part of BIC), one of the largest promotional products company in the country. She was head of the marketing department responsible for market planning and product development of the awards and recognition product lines.  During her time with Norwood, Sharon successfully launched more than 300 new products that generated over $20 million in sales.  She shares the team’s success of winning the distinguished Distributor’s Choice Award for best marketer in the industry for an unprecedented four consecutive years.

Earlier in her career, Sharon worked for Thrall Distribution Inc. as Marketing Director responsible for a $.5 million budget.  At Thrall, Sharon directed and launched the company’s website, created promotional materials; planned and facilitated annual sales meetings; prepared department budgets and participated in the company’s strategic planning process.  Sharon started her professional career at Baxter Healthcare where she worked for nine years performing logistics and marketing activities, and managing product line budgets in excess of $6 million.  Baxter provided Sharon with a great deal of international exposure through her frequent travels abroad.

Sharon is very active in her community.  In February 2012, she was re-elected as Committeeman – Precinct 162 of her Round Lake Beach community and is the immediate past fundraising chairman of the Lake County Democrats.  She is a member of the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) that focuses on research, knowledge sharing, and career development of association executives worldwide.

Sharon is also a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI).  She is the Immediate Past President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Lambda Nu Omega Graduate Chapter of Lake County, Ill. Because she loves art, Sharon is a member of the DuSable Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Sharon made history in 1990 when she became the youngest Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lake County Urban League.  She is also a former member of the Board of Directors of Happy Day Nursery in Waukegan, Ill. and Project 2012 of Chicago, Ill.

Throughout her career, Sharon has received many awards for her achievements.  They include:

  • Liberal Arts Department Student of the Year at Jackson State and was named to Alpha Mu Gamma and Alpha Chi Honor Societies – 1986 & 1987
  • She graduated in the upper 15 percent of her Roosevelt University Business School Program – 1995
  • Baxter Healthcare Nominee for Best Communicator Award – 1995
  • Sorority Sister of the Year – Graduate Chapter – 2001
  • Awarded Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for Streetwise Magazine – 2005
  • Named Who’s Who in Black Chicago – 2006 & 2010
  • Was named to Who’s Who in Management – 2006
  • Named to Madison Who’s Who in Marketing – 2009
  • Awarded one of Top 100 under 50 Emerging Leaders by DiversityMBA Magazine – 2010
  • Published Works:
    • 2010: Co-authored the article, “Making the Business Case for Meetings,” published in the Oct. 10, 2010 issue of Forum Magazine
    • 2006: One of five writers for the League of Women’s research study of “Fostering Leadership Potential of Black Women in America”

Sharon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Jackson State University and a Master of Business Administration from Roosevelt University.  She is a Magna Cum Laude Undergraduate.

Sharon is the divorced mother of an 18 year-old teenager named Imani, who she considers her pride and joy.  In her spare time Sharon likes to have fun, compete in 5K races for charity, and study politics.