Women In Leadership: Get To Know Sharon Hanson
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month offers the opportunity to specifically recognize and appreciate various Women for their tireless effort to guide and protect our community and our country. We are most fortunate that women continue to proceed daily with efforts to improve our communities and not wait for annual recognition every year.
What moments in women's history are meaningful to you?
One of my most treasured moments was when Congresswoman Shirley A Chisholm, the first African American to the House of Representatives, was also the first African American Women to officially run as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1972. While women recognize the importance of being first, it is much more important to ensure that they are not the last with whatever they accomplish.
Can you talk about one or two of the many contributions that women have made in our community?
Many of the Leaders of the not-for-profit organizations in Western New York were commonly led by women. For example, The YWCA led the way in the development of Senior Housing. Such as the Schoolhouse Commons on Grant Street in the Black-rock section. Women waere also at the forefront of the development of the Mammogram Bus that travels throughout Western New York ensuring that all women have the opportunity to improve their healthcare and get annual mammograms.
How do you think having women in leadership positions impacts an organization’s success?
It is generally known that women have the innate ability to quickly move forward to change and/or challenge the status quo. Women tend to open the doors to strategic partnerships that benefit the greater good that lead to the success of the organization usually designed to assist the less fortunate of the community.
What is one way anyone can challenge gender bias and inequity in their community?
The most important way to challenge gender bias is not to fear the differences in others. We all have hidden or implicit biases. Our biases become the problem when we ignore or deny it. If we are going to change and/or challenge something, we must first admit that it exists within ourselves. In other words, we must avoid thinking inside the box, and allow for the non-traditional to become possible.