By Erin Daniels, The KNOW Women
Inspired by her grandmother, this driven entrepreneur is paving the way and changing the lives of young girls in technology and computer science through education, support, and inspiration.
Filled with passion and fueled by creating life-changing impact, Dr. Sharon Jones is no stranger to using education to make a difference in the world. Instilled in her by her grandmother at a young age, the desire to continuously learn has always been at the forefront of her life. This is what has led Dr. Sharon on a successful path of teaching computer science for over 20 years, to owning a technology and software education consulting company called The Dot, and has led to the birth of her non-profit, The Dottie Rose Foundation, that educates and supports young girls as they develop their voice and passion in the field of computer science.
Not only is she the founder of The Dot and The Dottie Rose Foundation, Dr. Sharon is a national award-winning Computer Science educator, author of A Recipe for Success Using SAS University: How to Plan Your First Analytics Project, and loving mother and wife. Her passion and genuine love for educating shine through all aspects of her journey. As she carries on her grandmother’s legacy, she teaches by doing and continuously inspires the next generations.
KNOWing the significance of supporting and inspiring the next generation…
It is important to support the next generation and to give them confidence, in particular, young ladies. I think it’s really important that we turn back around and say, “you can do it and you’re great at anything you want to be.”
I have what I call my legacy girls. These are young ladies that I taught when they were in high school and many of them I have remained in connection with over the years as they’ve grown and have now become my colleagues. I think one of the most wonderful highlights of my career is that I have these two young ladies that come back every year and do a summer camp for us. They come back to support the next generation of kids. And these are young, smart women. The summer before COVID, I had five of them come back to support our camp. Standing there between all of them was pretty incredible. You see the the fruits of your labor. When they came to me they were kids, and now they’re these incredible women. They have inspired me as much as I have inspired them.
KNOWing that you can’t run from your purpose…
There is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be a teacher. I tried to run from it for years and I thought I was going to be a DJ. Every time I turned around, I was tutoring somebody, or helping a kid. I love what I do. To me this is not work. This is a joy.
I know that we have a purpose and a mission, and I get up every day and I’m honored that I get to work with amazing people and serve and and be a part of so many young ladies’ lives. So for me, I love what I do.
KNOWing how to shift your leadership to stay resilient…
I remember at the beginning of Dottie Rose, I was struggling with the amount of kids we had. Some workshops we had kids, and others we only had three or four. A friend of mine, Paula, said “Sharon, the people that are supposed to be in the room are in the room.”
During the pandemic, our purpose and mission became abundantly clear. I am thankful for the people I was able to surround myself with and I was able to realize what really matters and how important it is to lead with grace and purpose. More than anything, the pandemic has taught me that while the hustle is real, I have to take more time for myself. It is what fuels me and allows me to show up the next day, for myself and other people. There is also a level of humility that comes with it. I have found that it is better to approach everything with that level of humility and know that if I am honest with where I am at, it works a lot more than being defensive.
KNOWing how to keep your optimism through the trials…
There is something that my grandparents instilled in me that I think has really been the true framework of my life and that is faith, fellowship and family. At the crux of everything, the part that has made life so rich and wonderful is the fellowship. The coming together and having a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee, or a meal together.
My family is my number one and they are my biggest cheerleaders. And my faith because it gives me grounding. My mom has always said “you have to have roots with wings,” and that has also been a lifelong piece for me. I have to be rooted in who I am and what I believe in, and my family has always been the place I can fall back on if something goes wrong, but they’re also the ones to push me out of the nest.
I also try to give myself something to look forward to each day. When I feel really challenged, what I have to do is just stop and walk away for a few minutes, and then return. Then, I usually have a fresh perspective, or an epiphany at some point.
CONNECT WITH DR. SHARON JONES
Company name : The Dottie Rose Foundation
Email Address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: dottierosefoundation.org
Instagram URL : @dottierosefoundation