RTDM: Dr. Sharon Jones
Dr. Sharon Jones
Founder & CE0: Dottie Rose Foundation & thedot. Consulting
We want to get to know you! Briefly tell us about yourself: Where you came from, where you've been and how you're living your dream?
I am from Charlotte, NC and love calling Charlotte home. I grew up in a family of educators. My great grandparents were the founders of New Salem Elementary in Union County and often housed the teachers as well. My great aunt went to ECTC (East Carolina Teaching College) in 1914 and went on to be an educator at Nations Ford Elementary for 30 + years. My mom is still the most amazing educator I have ever known. Her patience, genuine love of education, and ability to bring content to life is what I strive for in my own teaching career. I have been a computer science teacher for 17 years with the majority of my career in K12 education. I am a self taught programmer, data analyst and technologist. I have learned through my yearn to make my learning meaningful and applicable how to find relevancy for students, young and adult. I love education and everything that learning brings to your life. And learning takes so many forms including: classroom, experiential, action learning, field trips, reading, writing, networking and building relationships. We build on our own experiences as we learn and develop new thoughts and applications as we move through lifelong learning. My career has moved through K12 education, community college, and now as a business owner of two businesses. I am living the dream because I am doing what I love, teaching, innovation, creating, and applying what I know best.
How do you define success?
Completely embracing who you are and living that everyday.
What did it take to make your dream happen and how do you make it sustainable?
You know, that is a good question. It became clear that my inner self was saying, you can do this Sharon, you can run your own business. You can impact differently. So I researched and found out how to create an LLC, create a business account, and said ok. The business was a side hustle for two years before I jumped. I work to stay two months ahead financially and then I have an amazing team that believes in our mission. And you know what, I have learned to ask... I was scared for a long time to do that but now, I just ask and all I can get back is a no, which really means, not now :) Look at me... applying sales techniques!!
What are you most proud of? Go ahead, boast a little!
How far both businesses have come in the past year and half. I am so proud of the work we have done, the change we are making, the girls we have been able to serve through the foundation, the teachers I have been able to to serve, and honoring my family and their mission to provide education to all.
What was your biggest obstacle/fear and what was your turning point?
Getting over my fear of taking the jump. I knew my calling was to empower educators and to help them find their computer science genius but it was scary to leave a stable job.
What’s the best advice you’d give to a younger you?
Embrace your nerdiness. You were meant to be different.
How do you stay motivated and purposeful when you feel overwhelmed?
My first reaction to this is huh... well again, a work in progress. But my Mama D. (Dottie) always said there are three problems that come down the road and two of them always fall in the ditch. She always said that to my mom and I can remember being in the car with my mom on a girls trip when I was still in my 20's and was spilling all of my problems and mom repeated what Mama D. had told her.. and so far that has been true.
Tell us a time when a perceived failure was actually a blessing in disguise or served you in a surprising way.
Not getting the job at NC A & T. I thought once I finished my doctorate, I thought I would go straight into higher education and applied for many professor positions and was rejected for so many reasons that are ridiculous but are the norm in education. I was a final candidate at A & T and almost had the position but somehow I knew it was not a fit. I did not get the job.. and a few weeks later was tapped to be in the administrative program and that changed my career again. I earned my principals license under my former middle school principal, who was then the principal of my school and created a bond with my colleagues in my program that is unmatched. My calling is kn K12 education and to create change in technology, empower women to find their genius in computer science, and in the continued development of the teaching craft.
What is your favorite vice/guilty pleasure/strange habit? Come on now, we all have them!
Well I love a good glass of Chardonnay on a lovely afternoon on my back patio or at my favorite place on the planet, my grandparents lake house at Lake Norman. I love a good fanny pack, I don't love sweets, and I don't like baked potatoes.
What's the smartest investment you’ve made for yourself?
Hiring people to help me!
What’s MOST important to you right now?
Finding my way as business owner and staying true to why I started my businesses.
Share 1-2 books that have impacted you the most:
Coding as a Playground, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
What have you learned to say no to?
I am still working on that... but I am finding that if does not feel right in my gut, I am saying No.
What's something surprising about you?
Many people say I act like Jim Carey :)
Who is a Risk Taker Dream Maker(s) that has inspired you? Why?
Shemeka Shufford. She believed in me when I didn't and gave me the opportunity to be a leader in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She is now in New Hannover Schools working to invoke change in Career and Technical Education.