Sharon Bloodworth is more than an aficionado of shoes. She is a curator of history, a collector of footwear once donned by women who’ve etched their names in the annals of time. As the CEO of White Oaks Wealth Advisors, Sharon draws her resilience from contemplating the trials these women faced. “During moments of fatigue or wavering resolve, I harness the spirit of these women, gather my strength and carry on.
Would Margaret Thatcher have succumbed to adversity? Absolutely not!” Sharon asserts. “I’m intrigued by women who’ve ascended to the pinnacle of their fields, overcoming formidable obstacles. The pursuit of their legacy is akin to fishing – requiring patience, yet yielding immense gratification when the catch is finally secured.”
Sharon herself is far from ordinary. With an impressive portfolio of industry experience and two Lifetime Achievement Awards to her name, she has carved a niche of her own. The first accolade came from her Rotary Club, the 9th established out of a staggering 36,000 across the globe today. “The club honored me with their Lifetime Philanthropy Award, making me the youngest recipient and the first woman to be bestowed with such an honor. That same year, the Vistage MN CEO Lifetime Achievement Award was added to my collection,” Sharon recounts. “I was overjoyed! It was the perfect acknowledgment of my intellect and compassion. I assured both organizations that my best work was yet to unfold.
Now in her fifties, Sharon is far from resting on her laurels. On a personal front, she is embarking on legacy building, immersing herself in research related to social innovation. This field focuses on resolving the world’s most daunting issues through collaboration between businesses, governments, and non-profits. “For impactful change, coordinated efforts across different sectors are imperative. I aspire to leave a profound legacy within the realms of financial education and behavioral finance, alongside contributing to tangible progress on global social issues that have been persistent for decades,” Sharon shares.
Leadership & Inspiration
Sharon’s leadership abilities were apparent from an early age. She can cite numerous instances where she naturally assumed the role of a leader, guiding others even when she wasn’t consciously aiming to do so. With her warm demeanor often leading to underestimation, Sharon has always managed to quietly outmaneuver her competitors. She feels privileged to hold responsibility for various organizations and initiatives, thereby making a meaningful difference and giving back to her community.
According to Sharon, leaders are only as effective as the support they receive from their team. She appreciates the steadfast backing of her team, so much so, that they consider each other family. “My foremost priority is fostering a workplace environment that encourages my team to thrive. I’ve witnessed many professionals experience burnout, forced into early retirement in search of life’s other joys. My philosophy is that if we can integrate our staff’s dreams and passions into the workday, our collective longevity in the workplace will be enhanced,” Sharon explains. “My leadership style is underscored by empathy. This approach is consistently applied across my firm, charitable work, and family life. I strive to understand, and genuinely care for those who selflessly support my work and life.”
This compassionate leadership style has proven highly effective for Sharon. Her team enjoys working with her, a fact she’s deeply grateful for. However, she cautions that kindness should not be misconstrued as weakness. Taking the time to clarify the ‘why’ behind changes or strategic innovations fosters greater buy-in and ownership. “While this leadership style may diverge from traditional male-dominated leadership, I attribute my success to the invaluable mentorship and opportunities provided by some remarkable male leaders,” Sharon adds. “Much of my leadership style and thought process has been influenced by the male mentors in my life. I’ve always been open to learning from anyone willing to collaborate and share their knowledge. There is immense value in understanding perspectives different from your own.”
Sharon credits one of her initial bosses in New York City, Nancy Camarata, as instrumental in shaping her leadership style. Nancy managed her department with a familial touch, embodying a strong matriarch who was fiercely protective and genuinely invested in the wellbeing of her staff. “From her, I learned that ‘compassionate leadership’ is an incredibly effective way to lead. This approach has served me well, enabling me to build a highly cohesive and optimally functioning team,” shares the steadfast leader.
One of Sharon’s mentors characterized her as possessing an extraordinary ability to multitask and manage substantial responsibilities concurrently. A trait she attributes to her genetic lineage. “All my siblings are the same! We work diligently, think critically, and immerse ourselves in numerous ongoing endeavors. I often describe myself as a maximizer. I live life to its fullest extent and possess an insatiable curiosity that fuels my continual learning,” Sharon says. “I don’t tire easily and always have room for more. I constantly strive to do more and more. I believe these qualities have permeated the cultures of the organizations I work with. However, to work with me, one doesn’t need to mirror my traits, but they do need to be kind and demonstrate a deep concern for others.”
The future for Sharon looks promising and radiant. She’s eager for the journeys ahead, and each day brings renewed energy to cater to her clients’ evolving needs in this rapidly changing world. Nothing brings her more satisfaction than enduring relationships where Sharon and her team can profoundly impact their clients’ lives.