Leading One of the Most Successful Chambers in the Nation, Meet Sharon Mason, President/CEO of Cobb Chamber of Commerce
Q: When you graduated from High School, where did you think your career path would take you?
SM: I always knew I would be significantly involved with people and in some area in the community where I could make a major impact … but I did not know at this time more specifics.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
SM: My first job was at Special Times Gift Shop in Snellville, Georgia when I was 15. I was terrible at wrapping gifts, so they quickly moved me to interfacing with customers, which I greatly appreciated the many life skills and lessons learned from this experience.
Q: Tell us what positions you held prior to becoming President/CEO of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
SM: I have been in the chamber of commerce and non-profit industry more than 17 years. I worked in several positions at the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society. Then, I held six different positions at the Cobb Chamber since 2005 including serving as COO for five years prior to becoming President & CEO in January 2018. From all of these positions, I learned that dedication, hard work and drive combined with surrounding yourself with the best team can help you accomplish much more than you ever thought possible.
Q: What are some of the programs you have implemented since taking over as President/CEO of Cobb Chamber of Commerce?
SM: I am so proud of our team and all we have accomplished since becoming President & CEO in January 2018. In addition to creating 8,000+ newer high-quality jobs since January 2018, we have launched a Transportation & Mobility Committee, International Council, target industry councils for our Cobb Workforce Partnership, a transportation summit and legislative session wrap-up event to focus on these important needs for our community. We have also expanded many of our programs and initiatives for advancing our economic prosperity.
Q: What’s the best part of your job as CEO?
SM: I have the great privilege of working with so many talented volunteers and staff and together. We get to make a major difference in the lives of so many at all stages for growing their business.
Q: Share with us some of the nonprofits you work with and why you feel it’s important to give back.
SM: I have worked with many non-profits, but I am especially passionate about MUST Ministries. I served on the MUST Ministries Board of Directors since 2014 and I am very passionate about helping our neighbors in need to have a hand up to get out of their poverty situation.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
SM: The announcement of the Atlanta Braves move was not only a memorable moment, but a transformational moment for our community and me personally. We have seen tremendous growth as a result, a much more vibrant environment for young people, and a significant positive fiscal impact to our county.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with us?
SM: Always seek time with mentors. This is the best and most impactful way you can spend your time to grow personally and also invest in mentoring others to pay this forward.
Q: What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success?
SM: Determination no matter what obstacle to keep pushing forward for what’s best for the community.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
SM: My grandmother, Frances Ginn. She faced adversity and hardship in many ways, but she only let that grow her stronger to overcome.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
SM: Balancing work and family is always challenging, but it also presents an opportunity to model hard work for your kids and helps you be more intentional with time.
Q: What's your advice for women in male-dominated fields?
SM: Do your best each day and you will see positive results. Look for ways you can make an impact and pursue roles where you can do work you are passionate about. Be intentional about time and relationships and pay forward mentoring that you’ve received to others.
Five Things About Sharon Mason
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Jackie Robinson: I am so impressed by how he overcame so much adversity as the first African American to play major league baseball.
2. What book are you currently reading?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
3. If they made a movie of your life, who’d play you?
Rachel McAdams or Reese Witherspoon
4. What app can’t you live without?
5. What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you?
There are many good things you can do, but there is only so much time. Focus on choosing between what is good and what is best in how you spend your time.