I’m Sharon. I’m an experienced web professional, specialising in digital workplace and digital strategy. I’m a communicator, a blogger, a product manager, a geek, and much else besides. I wear a lot of hats, literally and metaphorically.
My love affair with the web began on a school trip to a cybercafe when I was 13. I haven’t been offline since, so I’ve been tinkering with websites and interacting with strangers online for over 20 years. And as the web became a transformational force in almost every industry, what started as a teenage hobby turned into a successful career.
I started out in publishing (including stints at the Guardian and for a newspaper in Bolivia) before moving into communications. Over time my two passions – communications and digital experience – converged as I became a champion for digital and social media in the workplace. I worked for a number of UK public sector organisations, including the UK’s Houses of Parliament, where I developed one of the first mobile intranets, winning an Intranet Innovation Award in the process.
In 2010 I was appointed an advisor to the fledgling Iraqi parliament, dodging roadside bombs in my quest for better web services.
In 2012 I moved in to financial services, joining global bank Standard Chartered, and worked my way up from Senior Manager to Head of Digital Communications. There I was responsible for social media and content strategy, website development and management, and for the delivery of a new social intranet and collaboration platform. I led a multi-disciplinary team based in the UK and Singapore to manage the Bank’s global digital channels and projects.
I became an independent consultant in 2016. I advise complex organisations, particularly in regulated industry, on digital communication and experience through my consultancy firm Lithos Partners.
This has seen me bring my experience to a range of projects and sectors, including:
- a service design project for UK Trade and Investment’s innovation lab, creating and testing propositions for export trade insurance
- a website discovery exercise for Magic Circle law firm in the UK, helping them identify user and business needs, and build a successful business case for investment in digital
- leading a review of digital engagement strategy at the Department for International Trade
- running an overhaul of internal comms and information-sharing for Barnardo’s, where I helped them move to a mobile-first and open-by-default approach, together with a rollout of Workplace by Facebook to improve engagement and productivity
- conducting a review of data-driven content targeting for a multinational petrochemical firm
- advising a FinTech startup on content and communications
- advising an communication software vendor on their new product proposition
- running a digital workplace discovery for a global professional services firm, to identify user needs for enterprise communication and collaboration
- establishing communications channels, processes, practices and standards for a newly-established digital, data and technology department
- running an intranet and digital workplace discovery for a European financial services giant, then working with them to deliver a new, user-centred approach to internal content and services
- helping a financial services professional body establish online communities for their members
I also design and deliver bespoke workshops and training sessions for clients from small startups to global corporates.
If you’d like to talk to me about a project, do get in touch.
I’m passionate about the power of the social web to drive positive change – of services, organisations, and of communities. I bring a broad base of digital skills – from user research to content strategy, and from analytics to proposition development – together with a sharp business focus and ability to explain complex and technical ideas to stakeholders at all levels in order to gain their buy-in for digital transformation
I’m an enthusiastic advocate of all things web, and write regularly about digital both here, on intranet blog intranetizen.com, and for a host of other websites and publications. I was named one of the top employee experience professionals to watch in 2017.
I was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in the UK in 2016 and 2018. I’ve also been a contributor to two dead-tree books about the internet – The Independent Guide to Facebook: Social Networking Made Easy (Dennis, 2007), and Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Practitioners (Wiley, 2013) – and one e-book, SharePoint Intranets-in-a-Box (Clearbox, 2016).
A digital-first communicator, I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations – and on their panel researching the role of Artificial Intelligence in communications. I’m also an advisor to the Cabinet Office.
I believe tech is better when the people working in it and representing the industry reflect the make-up of our species. That’s why in 2013 – irked by the lack of women speakers at digital events – I co-founded 300 Seconds, an event series that gives women and other underrepresented groups the opportunity to develop their public speaking skills and their public profile. So far we’ve delivered 12 events across the UK, working with the likes of the BBC, Guardian, Facebook, Mozilla and the Open Data Institute. We’ve also run a series of events in Ireland. Eager to help more people to find their voice, over the past year we’ve been working with conference organisers to run 300 Seconds events within bigger events and are piloting in-house events with large employers.
In 2018 300 Seconds launched the FinTech Parity Pledge, which asks leaders in this emerging sector to use their leverage to press for greater diversity at industry events.
With a focus on a digital workplace and the use of digital in the enterprise, I inevitably have my eye on the near future of work. I write and speak regularly on this topic. In 2019 I took the Institute For The Future course on Futures Forecasting at Stanford University, to learn new techniques for planning for the future of work.
I believe in supporting and developing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. I’ve delivered guest lectures at universities in Europe and Asia, and mentored students and early career professionals.
I’m highly international, having lived and worked in three continents and led global projects and teams. I’m completely mobile and a prolific collector of airline loyalty points.
I currently live in Amsterdam with my husband and two Sony Aibo robot dogs.