April Member Spotlight – Sharon Gleeson

Sharon Gleeson

Member Since: 2022

Tell us a bit about yourself

As a mum to two gorgeous, very busy girls and having juggled a demanding corporate career and run my own business, I understand the difficulty of finding time to exercise, prepare healthy meals and generally live a healthy, well-balanced life.

I spent 25 years in corporate Human Resources/Change Management where I helped people manage change and improve their personal effectiveness in the corporate world. 8 years ago, I needed more balance myself and now as a Certified Health Coach, I get to combine the skills I learned in my corporate career with my passion for health and wellness.

When I’m not coaching, I love exercising, swimming, spending time at the beach, reading/personal development, eating out with friends, spending time with my family and I love to travel.

Why 100 Women?

At the time I came across 100 Women I had been supporting a number of different charities but was looking for something where I could feel like I was making more of an impact. I loved the concept that together we can do more. That’s always been one of my personal philosophies in life, so really resonated with me.

I’m incredibly grateful that my girls are both healthy and have had access to education and opportunities that are not available to so many. It was important to me personally but also as a role model to my girls, to give back and help others who aren’t as privileged.

Is there a grant recipient that really resonates with you?

It’s hard to pick one as there are so many incredible causes, but I have a soft spot for Dress for Success. Partly because of my HR background but also because by helping women obtain employment, not only does it help support them financially, but it helps build self-esteem and self-confidence and empowers them to help themselves and their families which can have a flow on effect for generations to come.

What does it mean to you to be a philanthropist?

To me it’s not just about donating money. I love to find other ways to support the causes I’m passionate about by donating my time and using my skills and expertise, whether that’s through volunteering my time to help and educate others or for fund raising opportunities. I’m also a big networker so being a Philanthropist to me is also about spreading the word and engaging others who also might be looking to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Tell us about a women that has inspired you and why?

My mother-in-law raised 8 children. She was a nurse, the President of St Vincent De Paul Society in Warragul and instilled strong values of fairness, generosity and a sense of social justice in her family which I’ve watched being passed down the generations. She was always involved in volunteering, visiting and supporting those in need and she never judged other people – she wanted to make their lives better in any small way she could. Each of her children (and now many of the grandchildren) have been heavily involved in charity work and volunteering and many have chosen careers in Not for Profits, Healthcare or organisations with a strong focus on social justice.

At 91, she continues to inspire me as a role model as a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a philanthropist and someone who will leave a beautiful legacy reflective of her values

Name one thing that you believe we should have accessible in this world to improve the lives of women and girls?

It’s hard to choose between healthcare and education, but I’ve seen the difference education can make for women, particularly in terms of employment and health. My mum was involved in a project in Thailand which was aimed at providing girls with the skills to earn an income through making and selling gift cards, to provide them an alternative to prostitution.

I’m also passionate about educating women about basic health care to improve their lives and the lives of their families in terms of quality of life and reducing the risk of health conditions. I believe greater education empowers women and can make a difference for future generations.

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