||SHARON R. PINDER
CEO, The Pinder Group, LLC
Founder: Top 100 MBE Awards™ Ceremony (www.top100mbe.com )
Author: On the Backs of Blacks–the untold stories of the MBE Movement (2009)
Sharon R. Pinder, Chief Executive Officer of The Pinder Group, and the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity, brings energy and commitment to her work. Pinder leverages decades of business development, marketing and technology experience to provide consulting services to the private, public, and non-profit sectors.
Recognized as an effective change agent, Pinder is best known for her work as the architect of Maryland’s minority and small business reform movement. Responding to the needs of the more than 250,000 women and minority owned businesses in the state of Maryland requires vision, proven leadership and commitment. When Sharon R. Pinder was appointed Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) (2003-2007) an era of renewed commitment and significant growth was assured for the state’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program.
Known nationally as a best practice, under Pinder’s leadership, OMA was transformed from an ineffective agency to a model of advocacy, and a primary driver in the state’s effort to reserve a portion of its procurement dollars for minority and women vendors. During the first three years at the helm, the number of contracts awarded to Maryland’s women and minority businesses increased from 15% to 22% and payments to them increased by $1 billion. She was also responsible for the creation of the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program – the country’s first state level set aside for small businesses.
A Maryland native, Pinder came well prepared for the task. Before her appointment to the Maryland Governor’s cabinet, she was a highly successful businesswoman and entrepreneur with a master's degree in technology management from University of Maryland University College. A results-oriented leader, Pinder has worked at Fortune 500 corporations like General Electric (GE), Traveler's Insurance, and provided strategic leadership as the former president of a Baltimore-based software engineering firm and as Principal of MYCOM Mid-Atlantic, a dot-com start-up.
A recognized speaker and published author on minority business, technology and the Internet, Pinder has extensive ties with organizations devoted to technology, marketing, and minority business development. Her innovation has led to the creation of a weekly radio show, a magazine, a reality television show, as well as creating Maryland’s Top100 MBE™ Awards Ceremony. This successful awards program recognizing women and minority entrepreneurs in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, is now in its third year.
Pinder continues to serve her community through her work on the board of directors of the Humanim, Inc., Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and the University of Maryland University College.
She is a Professor of Practice with the School of Undergraduate Studies at her alma mater, the University of Maryland University College. Her current online course “Women As Entrepreneurs” is taken by students all over the world.
Sharon Pinder has received numerous honors for her work, including:
She was also named Outstanding Leader of the Year by Leadership Maryland, Inc. in 2002 and was recognized by the Daily Record as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2002, 2005, and as a three time winner inducted into the Circle of Excellence in 2007.
- Girl Scouts Distinguished Woman Award (April, 2009)
- SmartCEO Bravo! Top 25 Women Executives (2008)
- Business Advocate Award, Women of Influence (2007 & 2009)
- The first recipient of the Senator Carol Mosby Award, National Black Chamber of Commerce (2006)
- Congressman Parren J. Mitchell Award, Maryland Association of Equal Opportunity Professionals (2006)
- Small Business Advocate Award, Asian American Business Roundtable (2005)
- Top 50 Influential Minorities in Business, Minority Business & Professional Network (2005)
- Distinguished Alumna of the Year, University of Maryland, University College, (2004)
- Distinguished Service Award, Black Professional Women (2004),
- Celebrating Women of Color Award, Maryland/DC Minority Supplier Development Council (2004)