With an estimated worth of almost $1.3 million, Sharon Rowlands is a force to be reckoned with. 

She's currently the chief executive officer of Web.com, a company that helps small businesses acquire website names and domains, and has served as an executive for other large companies for 20 years, including USA Today and ReachLocal. 

Each business where Sharon worked benefited substantially from her expertise -- she even had a hand in the acquisition of my own company, WordStream.

As she stays alert to the best marketing strategies in the industry, it's clear that Sharon is a unicorn leader

Here, discover 10 amazing facts about CEO Sharon Rowlands.

1. Sharon has an impressive CEO portfolio.

Sharon has spent most of her professional career calling the shots in boardrooms. 

Not only is she the CEO of Web.com right now, but Sharon was previously the president of marketing solutions at USA Today and the CEO of ReachLocal.

While both of these experiences leaned heavily into marketing, Sharon was also the COO and vice president of Thomson Financial in the early 2000s. 

2. She used to be a teacher.

It's true that future leaders are made in the classroom, but that statement isn't limited to students.

In an interview with Mogul, a platform for professional women, Sharon shared her experience transitioning from school teacher to executive. 

"When I thought about moving over into the business world, I figured if I could handle a classroom full of children, I could handle just about anything," she said. 

Along with her passion for new experiences, Sharon also attributed her success and career evolution to her mentors.

3. You should say no to some customers, says Sharon.

New customers are good, right? 

Not always, says Sharon. 

After working in marketing and helping several major companies grow, Sharon wants entrepreneurs to know that, sometimes, it's better to focus on keeping long-term customers rather than recruiting new clients. 

"We need to incentivize our sales forces not just to win clients, but to retain them," wrote Sharon in a Forbes article. 

"And sometimes retention means saying no -- telling clients that their expectations aren't realistic given their resources."

4. Sharon is always looking toward the future 

Sharon knows that companies need to evolve in order to survive, especially with the rapid changes in technology. 

Before, it was all about customers finding a product, but she says times have changed. 

Sharon emphasizes that businesses must lean into apps like Snapchat and Facebook to gain a broader audience. 

"It's gotta be social mobile first," she explained in a radio interview. "That's where the conversation is happening with these younger audiences now, so you really need to link the social to the news events and articulate. That's really what drives, I think, an engaged younger audience." 

5. She led the acquisition of WordStream.

In her former role as president and CEO of ReachLocal, Sharon led ReachLocal parent company Gannett's acquisition of the PPC management company WordStream.

It was a major deal, and as the founder of WordStream, I had a front-row seat.

Gannett bought WordStream in 2018 for $150 million, and Sharon was integral to the process. 

Sharon, along with the rest of ReachLocal, welcomed WordStream with open arms.

"The addition of WordStream's best-in-class DIY SaaS solutions significantly enhances our capabilities and expands our addressable market. WordStream enables us to provide a full range of digital marketing solutions to Gannett's large local client base and grow our digital share of wallet," said Sharon of the merger in 2018.

6. Sharon is an avid golfer. 

Sharon loves golfing, but not for all the reasons many may think. 

She first took up the sport after receiving a piece of advice from a business mentor. 

"He told me that there are many business decisions that are made on the golf course," recalled Sharon during an interview with Mogul.

"For me to be part of those decisions, I needed to be in the game, so to speak. He was right. I found that I was at the table for discussions and decisions that might not be happening in the office, and I also found that I loved the game."

7. Sharon has been recognized for her achievements.

For all the work Sharon has done, it's not surprising that she's been given worldwide recognition. 

She was named Female CEO of the Year by CEO World in 2017, and received a gold award from Women World Awards for Female Executive of the Year in advertising.

In 2018, Sharon was also recognized by British American Business for her innovative ideas and leadership skills. 

8. It's important to have a "champion" in your life, says Sharon.

While a lot of people have mentors in their life, Sharon explains why it's essential to surround yourself with champions. 

"I think 'mentors' can be helpful, but champions or advocates can have even greater impact," she said in an interview with Huffington Post. 

"These are going to be the people who open up paths for you, make you aware of opportunities that you otherwise may not have visibility to, and who introduce you to other influencers who can help you in your career."

9. Sharon is an advocate for women in the workplace.

After being in business for so long, Sharon has witnessed gender differences in the workplace firsthand. 

She explained in an interview that men and women even look at jobs with different levels of self-esteem. 

That's why Sharon believes females need to have more confidence in their skill set, an important key to her own success. 

"I had confidence in my abilities to run the business," explained Sharon in an interview with Business News Daily. 

"I just made sure that any initiative I was trying to move forward was backed up by a solid business case. I was never unprepared for the questions I knew would come."

10. She's from the United Kingdom.

Sharon currently lives in Los Angeles, but she grew up in the United Kingdom. 

Before moving to the United States, she graduated from the University of Newcastle with a degree in history. 

She also received a postgraduate certificate of education from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Published on: Aug 29, 2019
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