By Wilson Garland
Executive Director, Advance IT Minnesota
After almost 10 years with Advance IT Minnesota, Sharon Boerbon Hanson will retire in January 2017. We will miss her, and we wish her well.
Sharon was one of the original employees of the Center of Excellence. She started as the communication manager, was promoted to director: communications and operations, to associate executive director: marketing and operations, and to associate executive director: programs and marketing.
During her tenure, she started the IT Student & Alumni Association (now called ignITe! Your IT Career) which offers presentations and workshops on job search strategies to build non-technical career success skills and host events that brought employers and IT students together. Originally focused on metro-area Minnesota State schools, ignITe! now reaches out-state schools’ students.
Sharon wrote “101 Ways to Dead-end Your IT Job: a tongue-in-cheek compendium of advice,” as well as blog posts and online articles. She has produced webinars and a series of YouTube videos on career success skills.
She also wrote the “Art of Professionalism,” which was used to co-create the IT Residency Preparation course. She created the online/in-class flipped course IT Work Skills and presented the teaching methodology to other faculty during a Metropolitan State faculty conference.
In addition to her “IT student and new grad job attainment and career success” hat, Sharon also managed marketing and communications and for five years ran office operations.
She served as a board of directors and executive advisory council member for the Upper Midwest Security Alliance, as a personal empowerment facilitator for Metropolitan State, and as an advisory board member for the Performance Excellence Network.
Sharon, in her private life, is a member of the St. Paul Art Collective (producers of the St. Paul Art Crawl), Toastmasters, and the Capitol River Council where she serves on the executive committee and chairs the by-laws committee. She belongs to the Friday Associates, a group of education-related international travelers; MN8, a sci-fi/fantasy novelist group; and the Muses, an essay writers group. She began and manages an art gallery in her condo complex with exhibitions that rotate every two months.
Her past employment included 14 years as a working artist and book publisher, followed by positions as a branding consultant, web evangelist (public relations person), and held marketing/communications positions at Best Buy, Carlson Companies, Fingerhut (now Bluestem), and Imation as well as Hamline University where she created an independent marketing department for its law school.
Sharon’s last day will be Jan. 6, 2017, after which she will split her time between homes in Minnesota, Arizona and Italy where she plans to continue writing fantasy novels, baking cookies, and creating woodblock prints.